By Jyothi Venkatesh
The curtains came down on the 8th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) 2010 at Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir with Dr. Jabbar Patrel, director of the festival declaring that PIFF which is the official film festival of Maharashtra government has finally grown by leaps and bounds. Lara Dutta was seen at the concluding function and Arjun Rampal was seen at the lavish party hosted by Suresh Kalmadi , Chairman of Pune International Film Festival at the Foodlink Court were the only two who represented Bollywood in Pune, besides Atul Kulkarni, Nagesh Bhosle and Renuka Shahane
Though Yash Chopra, Hema Malini, Manmohan Shetty, Shyam Shroff and Subhash Ghai are on then advisory board of Pune Film Foundation, only Subhash Ghai was present all through the Pune Film Festival this year. It was surprising The Best Marathi Film award was bagged by the film Natrang produced by Zee Talkies and directed by Ravi Jadhav at the recently concluded Pune International Film Festival. The cash prize of Rs. 5 lakhs and a trophy were shared by the director as well as the producer. The trophy for the Best Director award as well as a cash prize of Rs 25,000 went to Umesh Kulkarni for his film Vihir while Atul Kulkarni bagged the trophy for the Best Actor as well a cash prize of Rs 25,000 for his performance in Natrang.
Renuka Shahane bagged the trophy for the Best Screenplay award as well as a cash prize for the film Rita. Special mention was made by the Jury for Kishore Kadam for his excellent performance in the film Paangira. The Jury also recommended a special mention for Sudhir Palsane, for cinematography for the film Vihir. The cash awards were given away by Akhil Bharatiya Chitrapat Maha Mandal.
The award for the Best Animated film-International initiated by the Whistling Woods International Student Film competition went to Inka Bola made by the students of Gobelins Lecole de Limage, Paris. Subhash Ghai and Varaprasad, a member of the Jury gave away the award to De Melody Cisnski, Jacques Jarczyk, Vincent Garcia, Floriane Marchix, Gwenole Oulchen and Patrick Pujalte. It is interesting to note that the Student Films Competition this year received over 350 entries from over 50 film and animation institutions from over 30 countries. These were evaluated down to 16 live action films, three cinematography award nominees and 25 animated films by an independent jury comprising of filmmakers, critics and leading professionals in the film and animation industry, like Marc Barb, Andreas Strohl and Deepa Gahlot for live action and Irina Saakian (of Tata Elexsi), Kedar Raut (of Rhythm and Hues) and Varaprasad (of BIG Animation) for animation.
The award for the Best Animated Film-Indian went to the film Bejinxed made by the students of the Whistling Woods- Aditi Lakhotia,Ankita Prasad, Ankur Bansal, Jason Lawrence, Nishant Tripathi, Pankhi Mahajan, Prashant Golani, Sahil Israni, Supreet Singh Anand and Udit Panjwani. Special Jury mention went to Bob and In the name of God both incidentally made by Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany and Nanhi Chidiya (MAD Arts Jaspal Bhatti School of Filmmaking).
The ARRI Young Cinematographer of the year award went to Shubham Kasera for his work as the cinematographer in the film Mai from the Whistling Woods International. Incidentally ARRI and Whistling Woods International have come forth this year onwards with a special award that would not only reward him or her for his work but also play a big part in kick starting his or her career. The winning student was also awarded the use of ARRI’s latest HD Camera, the Alexa for a period of 150 days over the next two years. Not just that, but the student will also have Rohan Sippy as his mentor. This will go a long way in jumpstarting a young cinematographer’s career, said Subhash Ghai while giving away the award.
In the International Competition section, a trophy and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs each went to the producers Mike Downey and Sam Taylor and director Dominic Murphy for the film White Lightning. The Best Director award and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakhs went to Maria Prochazkova for the film Who Is Afraid of The Wolf. While a trophy for Special Jury award went to Ms Paprika Steen, the actress of the film Applause (Denmark), a special mention was recommended by the Jury to The Happiest Girl In The World (Romania) and Forbidden Fruit (Finland).
Ashok Chavan, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra who was the chief guest on the occasion declared that Maharashtra government would never censor a film which ahs already been censored by the Censor Board, because all said and done, he is of the opinion that films reflect society and play a vital role in reforming society by pinpointing loopholes. After handing over a cheque to Suresh Kalmadi since the government had agreed to hike the funding by the government to Rs. 1 crore from the earlier promised Rs 50 lakhs, in a lighter vein, he also said that he had made it a point to retain the culture portfolio with him instead of giving it to any one else because he has been told that it has always been the norm in Maharashtra to make any Minister who has the culture portfolio as the Chief Minister. He also added that Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) deserves to be called Maharashtra International Film Festival (MIFF) because it is the official film festival which is being organised by Maharashtra government along with Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of Pune Film Foundation.