Bangalore gears up for cornucopia of over 160 films

The fifth edition of the Bangalore International Film Festival (BIFFes) got off to a colourful and a very Bollywood-like start on Thursday, with fusion dances in the presence of senior artistes and filmmakers of the Kannada film industry.

The festival, which will continue till December 27, will show over 160 films from nearly 50 countries across seven screens in the city. Among the special attractions is the package on legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, some of which have never been officially screened in India before.

Greetings from Japan

The special guest of the evening, well-known Japanese director Masahiro Kubayashi, began by greeting the audience in Kannada: “Ellarigoo namaskara.” It was his first visit to an Indian film festival and he had landed here with some apprehensions, which disappeared thanks to the warmth of the volunteers. “This is a young festival, but it will be a grand success thanks to the young and enthusiastic volunteers.”

Expectant film buffs

Young students had turned up in large numbers, many as volunteers. “I have been coming to the film festival since the past three editions and every time the experience has only got better,” said Shruthi J., a student at the Bangalore Film Academy. “The one show I would not miss is Kurosawa’s I Live in Fear on Sunday.”

Mark Schmidt, who is here from Germany, was visibly thrilled: “This should be an interesting experience, screening our films for Indian audiences and discussing it with them. I have come to Bangalore for the first time and the crowd here seems extremely excited and knowledgeable about filmmaking, which is a happy surprise.”

Among those who attended were Kannada film personalities Tara, Jayamala, Ravichandran, Bharati, Rockline Venkatesh, Hamsalekha and Girish Kasarvalli. Telugu director K. Vishwanath — of Swati Mutyam and Shankarabharanam fame — got a standing ovation. Not too many young stars of the Kannada industry were to be spotted though.

Some complaints

There were, however, a few complaints too. “We had registered, but there was no information about when we would receive our passes,” said Pooja N.G., a student. “They haven’t yet released the full schedule, we only know about the next three days and that makes planning difficult,” grumbled amateur photographer Karthik M.

100 years of cinema

A treat for those who love classic Indian cinema was a short on 100 years of Indian cinema, which took the audience on a trip down memory lane. Footage from Alam Ara (1931), the Saigal classic Tansen (1943) classic, and Anmol Ghadi, the 1946 release featuring Noor Jahan, was among the highlights. The film ended with a clipping from Girish Kasaravalli’s latest film, Koormavatara.

A song feature on Kannada and culture, “Namma Vachana, Bahu Vachana”, written by Jayant Kaikini, was released on the occasion.

For detailed schedule of the films in all the seven venues and information on daily passes, visit www.biffes.in