Now Bhopal, in the news for all wrong reasons, too gets a chance to host a three-day Indian Panorama Film Festival.

The land of the Begums is not renowned for its dalliance with cinema. Yet it is all set to change this Friday as Bhopal hosts the three-day Indian Panorama Film Festival. Beginning with Neeraj Pandey's “A Wednesday”, a much feted film that won Pandey the National Award for the Best Debut Film, the Bhopal leg of the Indian Panorama journey packs in more water than a cloudburst can contain.

After some relatively low key works in the earlier leg, the Panorama Festival stirs back to life with high quality fare that has already graced the film circuit for many months, but is yet to be available to the film loving public of Bhopal. For instance, Priyadarshan's “Kanchivaram”, that moving tale of a sari worker that left many misty eyed in Goa when it was screened at the International Film Festival of India. A National Award winner that brought actor Prakash Raj to the notice of cinemagoers across the country, this film will be the concluding essay of the festival that mixes the popular with the niche, feature with non-feature, thereby ensuring there is something for everybody.

Says S.M. Khan, director, Directorate of Film Festival, “The idea through the Indian Panorama Festival is to make quality films accessible to all. Earlier such films could be seen only in Delhi or on the usual festival circuit. Now, however, we want cinemagoers in parts of the country not very well known for cinema, to experience the same magic. Until recently, it was unthinkable to have film festivals in places like Kohima, Shimla or Bhopal. Now things are changing and even eminent film personalities are happy to come down for the festival and interact with the audience.”

Though films like “A Wednesday”, “Kanchivaram” and indeed even “Little Zizou” and “Harishchandrachi Factory” might hog all the limelight and the attention of cinegoers, there are couple of non-feature films too at the fest that deserve more than passing attention. Among them is Jabbar Patel's “Antardhwani”, a film that holds the interest of all classical music lovers. The hour-long film tracing the journey of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, got the National Award for the Best Biographical Film back in 2007, and has not failed to create ripples wherever it has been screened. Similarly demanding attention is Joy Bimal Roy's “Remembering Bimal Roy”, an attempt to trace the journey of his father, the legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy, best remembered for path-breaking films like “Do Bigah Zamin”, “Sujaata” and “Bandini”.

With around a dozen films to choose from, and filmmakers of note offering their fare, Bhopal might just turn out to be the best part of the whistle-stop journey of the Panorama Film Festival. Cinegoers, put the best foot forward this weekend.