Dubai premiere for Manisha Koirala's “Elektra”

‘Elektra’ is Manisha Koirala’s first Malayalam film. (SUPPLIED)

Aparna Sen’s first Bengali film and a Malayalam movie starring Manisha Koirala are among a wide range of films from the four corners of India that will be screened at the 2010 Dubai International Film Festival.

Both arthouse and mainstream traditions will be represented in the showcase of demographic and cinematic diversity. Drama and comedy documentaries, features and short films from Mumbai, Kerala, West Bengal and Kashmir from rising and established filmmakers are included in DIFF’s Muhr competition as well as its out-of-competition programme.

“Ita Mrinalini” (An Unfinished Letter/Yours, Mrinalini), the first Bengali film from renowned filmmaker and actress Aparna Sen in nearly a decade, will make its Gulf premiere at DIFF. Sen, the winner of three National Film Awards and a number of international awards, stars in the film along with actress daughter Konkana Sen Sharma, Rajat Kapoor, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Koushik Sen, Locket Chatterjee and German actress Suzanne Bernert.

From south India, veteran director Shyamaprasad’s new drama “Elektra” will make its international premiere at DIFF 2010. Inspired by the ancient Greek myth, the Malayalam-language film focuses on the family drama of an aristocratic household in central Kerala. The film stars leading Tamil actress Nayantara, Nepali-Indian actress Manisha Koirala and National Award-winning actor Prakash Raj.

The northern region of Kashmir is the backdrop for two DIFF 2010 films: “Harud” (Autumn), an Urdu feature focusing on the volatile events in the area over the last 20 years. Actor Aamir Bashir, a native of Kashmir, turns producer-director-writer on the film. The film is competing in DIFF’s Muhr AsiaAfrica competition and, as with other in-competition films, is making its Middle East premiere at DIFF and will be open to the public.

Kashmir is also a central element in “Inshallah, Football”, an in-competition documentary by Ashvin Kumar, the youngest Indian writer-director to secure an Academy Award nomination. Ashvin’s earlier short film “Little Terrorist” participated in more than 130 international festivals, picking up awards in 20. “Inshallah, Football” showcases a Kashmiri boy’s dreams to play football in Brazil and what happens when a silent war gets in the way. The film will make its international premiere in Dubai.

“Shor” (Noise), a gritty drama and satire depicting the noise and chaos of Mumbai, India’s most populous city, is also expected to prove popular with local audiences. The film, a Middle East premiere, weaves together three interconnected stories during the Ganesha festival. Based on a short film of the same name, “Shor” is produced by Ekta Kapoor, whose credits include the smash television hits “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii”, and stars Bollywood actor Tusshar Kapoor and Sendhil Ramamurthy of prime-time TV series “Heroes”.

Also included is “Khule Darwaaze” (Open Doors) is a short by Ashish Pande, a graduate from India’s Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute. The in-competition film tells the story of a young woman who survives in the present thanks to living images from the past.

Dorothee Wenner, DIFF Consultant for the Subcontinent Programme, said the festival is proud to present examples of the various regions and dimensions of Indian cinema in its 2010 selection.

“This year, we have films from Kashmir, a part of the subcontinent with hardly any local film industry, and we also have examples of superbly sophisticated filmmaking and cutting-edge films with all-Indian star casts,” Wenner said. “These films highlight the depth and breadth of Indian cinema and celebrate some of the country’s finest filmmakers and its emerging talent.”

Additional selections from India will be announced in coming weeks, she added.

The seventh edition of Dubai International Film Festival will be held from December 12 to 19.


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