New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) It is an endeavour to explore commonalities through South Asian cultures and thereby promote peace and harmony in the subcontinent.
And what better way to achieve the objective than through the medium of cinema, which evokes tremendous passion among the millions of people residing in various countries in the region.
The inaugural South Asian film festival, showcasing a select group of films from the region, got underway here last night with the screening of the Sri Lankan film 'Dheevari' at the Siri Fort complex.
Renowned Sri Lankan filmmaker Benedet Ratnayake lit the lamp to inaugurate the week-long festival that will screen about 70 films in the mainstream cinema, documentaries and short films from countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The lighting of the lamp was followed by the screening and world premier of 'Dheevari'. Directed by Salinda Perera, it depicts the story of a fisherwoman Valli who fights against the inequalities of the feudal system.
The festival was earlier to be inaugurated by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. However, she could not make it due to some pressing engagements.
Organised by the South Asia Foundation in association with the Indian Council of Cultural relations, the festival is part of the foundation's decade-long efforts to foster cooperation and understanding among people of the region.
''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.
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,'' Secretary General of the foundation, Rahul Barua said.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Akhtar, an eminent singer and theatre artiste and executive member of the 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.'' A unique feature of the event was the that the films being screened cover a wide variety of styles and genres.
They range from parallel films like Sudhir Misra's 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi', Gautam Ghose's 'Paar', Sudhir Misra's 'Chameli' and Amol Palekar's 'Paheli' to multiplex films like Madhur Bhandarkar's 'Page 3' and 'Corporate' and Nagesh Kukunoor's 'Iqbal' and mainstream commercial ventures like Subhash Ghai's 'Pardes', Aziz Mirza's 'Chalte Chalte', Prakash Jha's 'Apharan' and Farhan Akhtar's 'Dil Chahta Hai'. Also screened at the festival will be Anand Patwardhan's controversial film 'War and Peace'.
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