focus A look at Mumbai through the eyes of an immigrant won Collin D'Cunha the first prize at the Indian Film Festival, Australia

T hought-provoking, boring, serious and offbeat are some attributes associated with films made by students of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, though many have shattered those notions. Here is another young filmmaker from the haloed portals of the institute who made a clutch of short films, including the one that is making jury and the audience at international film festivals laugh aloud.

Collin D'Cunha's Mumbaikar Ganesh has been lauded as a delightfully different look at Mumbai and its people. The short film of duration five minutes recently won the first prize at the Indian Film Festival held in Australia. After several screenings that won hearts in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Auckland, Collin will be off to screen his film at the Indian Film Festival to be held in Los Angeles from April 12 to 17.

The film, says D'Cunha was borne out of a wish to win laurels at the Mumbai Film Festival, MAMI. “The festival has a contest for young filmmakers up to the age of 25. I am 25 now and this is the last year to prove myself. The theme this year was on Mumbai and while several other films showcased the busy streets of Mumbai, terror threat post 26/11, the slums and so on, the jury liked my film that looked at Mumbai through the eyes of a protagonist, who is one among the many who migrated to Mumbai for work,” explains D'Cunha.

Says D'Cunha, “The story unfolds through Jai Arjun Ganesh, a South Indian living in Mumbai who cannot speak fluent Hindi or Marathi but feels Mumbai is the city to realise his ambitions. The setting is against the Ganesh puja. It is quintessential Mumbai, seen at a more personal level.”

D'Cunha, who majored in editing at the FTII Pune in 2010, earlier studied advertising at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai and was the student representative from India at the 2005 Cannes Lions Awards. His advertisement Take Off won him the Konig Ludwig Trophy in 2009.

The young filmmaker hopes to move on from fiction short films to feature films in due course of time. “There are a number of avenues to screen short films today, including short film clubs, slots in television channels and online,” says D'Cunha, whose Mumbaikar Ganesh will be screened on UTV World Movies this April.

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