After making an impact at different film festivals, NFDC’s Qissa starring Irrfan, Tillotama Shome and Tisca Chopra has won the Dioraphite Audience Award at Rotterdam Film Festival. It is for the first time that an Indian film has won this award. Directed by Anup Singh, Qissa is a Punjabi film set in post-Partition era. The first film to shoot under the Indian-German co-production treaty, Qissa is an international co-production between India, Germany, Netherlands and France. The film secured funding from the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), the Dutch Film Fund, Eurimage and German funds Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and North Rhine Westphalia (NRW).

Irrfan plays a Sikh in the film which is set amidst the ethnic cleansing and general chaos that accompanied India’s Partition in 1947. It tells the story of Umber Singh, a Sikh, attempting to forge a new life for his family while keeping their true identities a secret from their community.

Going indie

From western pop to Bollywood music to reality television, MTV has takes various avatars. Soon the channel is going to have a sister in the form of MTV Indies. Launched in association with Pepsi, the 24-hour channel is expected to reflect the rich subcultures at play in urban India. The channel will showcase independent work in the fields of music, films, art and comedy.

Explaining the rationale behind launching the channel, Group CEO of Viacom18, Sudhanshu Vats says, “We believe in sharper segmentation whether it pertains to the genre, the audience or by markets. Indies is a move that further strengthens our bouquet of varied offerings. India is moving from a collective to an individualistic content consumption habit. The youth and music genre offers great opportunity for growth and we’re sure that this move will help us build an ecosystem for creating a lot of live content as well.”

Being promoted as a channel that’s by the artist, of the artist, and for the world, it will go on air later this month in High Definition and Dolby 5.1 surround sound and will be available across leading DTH and digital cable platforms.

A dose of Dolly

The much-feted costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia has found a parallel career in acting. After a heart touching performance as Vicky’s mother in Vicky Donor, she almost led the cast in Bajatey Raho. In both the films her comic timing was appreciated. Now Ahluwalia will be seen on television in Mad in India. The forthcoming comedy series on Star Plus, ostensibly put together to take on Comedy Nights With Kapil, is led by Manish Paul and Sunila Grover and Dolly will play Mango Dolly in the show. “This is my first TV show and I’m excited about it. I like acting and comedy is something I can totally connect to. My character in the show is Chutki’s (Sunil Grover) mother so you can imagine how mad it will be. There is so much stress in our day-to-day lives so I feel laughter is the best way to stay in your senses. I’m sure this show is going to be like one contagious laughter so be prepared,” she cautions.

Dallas comes to town

The much awaited Dallas Buyers Club, the American biographical drama directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, will release in India on February 28. Based on the true-life of Ron Woodroof, Dallas is an electrician and hustler, who works around the system, to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease. A riveting drama of three lives, the film also explores various sociological conditions like homophobia and the grit to survive.

A frontrunner for the Academy Awards, the film stars Matthew McConaughey in the lead role along with Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. “Dallas Buyers Club is a film that’s made once in a decade, a film that with brutal honesty explores various provocative conditions in an intriguing manner. Being based on a terminally ill man, it deals with serious issues like AIDS, homophobia and transexuality in 1980’s America. It is also about a cowboy, a conman and a man who could break the rules and survive. We want to release the film right on the verge of going into the Oscars, to build momentum and we are sure the Indian audiences will love the riveting tale,” says Avinaash Jumani, Film Acquisitions, PictureWorks.