The 5th Bangalore International Film Festival (Biffes) came to a close on Thursday after 280 screenings of 185 films, 168 out of them running to full houses in the city over the last week.
While thousands of Bangaloreans watched films from 50 countries through the week, three films – Assamese movie Baandhon by Jahnu Barua, Palestinian film Habibi by Susan Youssef and Kannada film Koormavatara by Girish Kasaravalli – won awards.
Speaking at the valedictory function, attended by veterans like Harini and stars like Prabhu Deva and Ambareesh, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj was all praise for South Indian film industry which contributed “remarkable beauties and talents” like Vaijayantimala Bali and Hema Malini. “South influenced the Bombay film industry,” he said.
He said that films have always played an important role in our national life, Anand Math being an example of a film making tremendous impact. The Governor said that though he was past the “age of films and cricket”, he remembered great films like Tamil’s Kannagi and mythological films which had carried Telugu star N.T. Rama Rao to political heights as well. Insisting that Indian culture should be carried through Indian films, he said that even stars like Prabhu Deva should blend Indian and western styles. “I wish he would be compared to Birju Maharaj rather than Michael Jackson,” he said.
Prabhu Deva, who spoke to a whistling crowd in Kannada, said that he felt at home in Bangalore and it was a “cool place” where one does not require air conditioning to fall asleep.
Kannada actor Ambareesh added that all was fine with hospitable Bangaloreans and Bangalore, but for the terrible traffic. Actor and the former president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce Jaimala had a few suggestions for the next edition of the festival, including inauguration of the Amrita Mahotsava Bhavana in Bangalore to enable all screenings at one venue and setting up film bazaars for buyers and funders.
Another subtle word of advice came from K. Gopinathan, who was jury member for the Kannada film competition at Biffes. “We hope Kannada filmmakers watch more films and benefit from such festivals,” he said, appreciating the “sincere attempts” of the films which were in the competition category.