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Inaugural S Asia filmfest seeks to dissolve boundaries,usher peace

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Oct 24 (UNI) A festival of films from South Asian countries will open in the capital tomorrow in what is being viewed as the first attempt to explore commonalities running through their cultures and usher in an era of peace in the subcontinent. About 70 films in the mainstream cinema, documentaries and short films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maladives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be screened at the inaugural South Asian Film Festival, to be held in the Capital from tomorrow evening.

Speaking at a press meet to announce the festival, being organised by the South Asian Foundation in association with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, here this evening, secretary general of the foundation Rahul Barua said the festival was a continuance of its decade-long efforts to foster cooperation and understanding among people of the region and to kindle a spirit of oneness between them.

''The aim of the film festival is to explore commonalities that run across cultures in South Asia as well as to forge an environment of peace and harmony among people of the region,'' Barua said.

''When it comes to facilitating cultural interaction between people of South Asian countries, there cannot be a better vehicle than a festival showcasing their films from a common platform as films are the only mode of entertainment for millions of people in these countries,''he said.

So, the week-lonmg film festival will have over 40 eminent filmmakers and film personalities from various South Asian countries discuss their work, exchange creative and technical expertise in filmmaking and ensure participation of policy planners and opinion leaders.

The festival, which opens tomorrow with the World Premiere of the Sri Lankan film 'Dheevari', directed by Lankan filmmaker Salinda Perera, will also see participation from eminent Indian filmmakers like National award winner Madhur Bhandarkar, veteran filmmakers Subhash Ghai and Shyam Benegal.

Speaking on the occasion, festival director Rameeza Akhtar, an eminent singer and theatre artist and executive member of Governing council of the Foundation, said,''South Asian countries have a lot of commonalities running through them.

Whether it be Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India or Pakistan, all of them have common customs. This is what we seek to bring out through the festival.'' Also present on the occasion was Pakistani actress Sania Ansari, who is among the South Asian film personalities actively supporting the endeavour.

''I feel that cultural events like this film festival, which will screen films running across a wide range of genres - from parallel films to the so-called 'multiplex' films to those by established filmakers, play a greater role in bridging gap between cultures.

Further, it also provides an opportunity for filmmakers in countries like, say, Pakistan and Bangladesh to showcase their films to a wide audience,''Sania said.

The films being screened at the festival were selected by a team of experts from the Foundation. Further, a steering committee for the film festival comprising Union Minister Kapil Sibal, filmmakers Gautam Ghose, Shyam Benegal, Sudhir Misra, Punkuj Parashar and actor Vinod Khanna have given a new dimension to the festival by identifying a socio-political role for cinema in the growth and prosperity of the South Asian region.


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