Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Kashmiri talent shines at the Goa International film Festival

The 44th edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at Goa has proved a wonderful platform for the Kashmiri filmmakers as the festival provided them opportunity to showcase their creative work not only to the domestic but also to the international audiences.

Three non-feature films by Kashmiri filmmakers were screened during the 11 day festival beginning on November 20. Another Kashmiri filmmaker having worked as an Associate Director for 90-Minute Afghan-Indo Film “A Man’s Desire For A Fifth Wife”—in Dari language, featured under ‘Cinema of the World’ section in the festival.

‘Shepherds of Paradise’ by Raja Shabir Khan, ‘23 Winters’ by Rajesh S Jala and ‘Sama: Muslim Mystic Music of India’ by Shazia Khan, are the three films which found place in the prestigious Indian Panorama-Non Feature (IP-NF) Section of IFFI-2013.

‘Shepherds of Paradise’
Shepherds of Paradise’, , in Gojri & Urdu is a 50 minute film which narrates the story of 75-year-old Gafoor, a shepherd (Gujjar–Bakerwal community), who travels on foot with his family and herd from the plains of Jammu to the mountains of Kashmir in summer, and reverses the trip in winter. The steep terrain, unpredictable weather and the onset of turbulent situation in Kashmir, makes it a hazardous journey. The film was screened twice during the festival.

The film has bagged the National Film Award Swarna Kamal (Golden Lotus Award), a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 1.50 Lakh at the 60th National Film Awards ceremony held on May 3, 2013. The film has shared the Best Cinematography award with another Marathi film ‘Kaatal’.
Director Raja Shabir says that it was a very challenging task to film because of the tough terrain, rough weather, long journey and the limited resources. The film was shot by without any crew and I followed the shepherds on foot all along their traditional hilly tracks of about 300 km., he added.

After completing his studies in political science and history from Kashmir University, RajaShabir Khan joined the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTII) in Kolkata in 2003 and later he relocated to Mumbai for a year. His first documentary film, ‘Angels of Troubled Paradise’, has won the special jury mention award at the 3rd Siliguri International Short and Documentary Film Festival.

‘23 Winters’:
‘23 Winters’, a 25 minute Kashmiri & Hindi film, screened twice at IFFI, is a fictional story of a schizophrenic Kashmiri Pandit’s journey to the Valley after living in Delhi for several years. A film set in reality, played by a real protagonist, Bota, who lives a surreal life. This film looks at his traumatic past which haunts his exiled present. Nonetheless, his hopes are unvanquished, the film explains.

Rajesh Jala says that he has been making films, primarily, documentaries, for 11 years and has been an enlightening journey through human emotions, social concerns and inner conflicts. He has directed and produced a number of documentary films and television series for leading international and Indian TV channels. His films have been selected at a number of international film festivals including Montreal, Puson, Amsterdam, IFFI, Warsaw, Leipzig, Munich, Rome, MIDD, Thessaloniki, MOMA, etc, he added.

Sama: Muslim Mystic Music of India’:
It is a 52 minute Hindi & English film screened once at IFFI explores the Muslim music tradition in India and portrays how the two have borrowed and taken inspiration from each other. The film attempts to discover that connection which allows the performer to become one with the Creator and experience the peace, calm, serenity and joy with the artist as he createsSama. The film has cinematography by Salim Khan, Shazia Khan & Mohammad YunusZargar.

Neelofar Shama, from Baramulla, North Kashmir, has worked as an AssociateDirector  for “A Man’s Desire For A Fifth Wife” directed and written by its lead actor Mohammad Sediq Abedi who is having 19 years of professional experience in Afghanistan based Jihoon Film & Altin Film companies.

The story of the film reflects the thousand year old custom which occurs in a village at the North of Afghanistan and tells the story of violence against women. A man with old traditions wants to get married for the fifth time; despite of having 4 wives already and the story shows women weak and sufferer existing in a society.  The story portrays all factors of the age old culture and traditional game Buzkashi or Oghlak with thousand horses.  

During media interaction along with Tahmina Rajabova, Tajik actress playing role of 3rdwife in the film, at the IFFI, Neelofar Shama said that she has started her career as a freelance producer-director with Doordarshan and has  directed  more than 70 documentaries, 85 TV serials, 5 advertisement films, 5 telefilms and 5 short films & several talk shows. She says working on Afghan film was a mix of fear, enthusiasm & adventure.

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