Over 22 feature films and documentaries in various Indian languages by mainstream as well as independent, avant grade filmmakers, were screened at the second edition of the India International Film Festival of Boston, Sept. 13 to 15.
The gala opening night at the John F Kennedy Library on Sept. 13, showcased “The Last Color” which is written, produced and directed by Master Chef Vikas Khanna. In addition to winning the best film award, Neena Gupta who portrayed the widow Noor, was awarded the best female actor in the feature film category. Khanna was present for an interactive Q&A session conducted by Boston poet and screen writer Sunayana Kachroo.
Film goers were treated to a bouquet of short and feature length films at two locations on the second day including free screenings at the Cambridge Public Library of the feature length Assamese film “Midnight Song.” The film is directed by Arunjit Borah, and stars Rupam Chetia, Kalpana Kalita and Monu Borkotoky.
The same day, three sessions of events were held at the Wheelock Family Theater in Boston, including a session of five short films, a musical segment by live musicians known as Bemisaal Baja, and the U.S. premiere of the feature film “Nakkash.” The film follows the events in the life of a Muslim artist who engraves metal for the sanctum sanctorum of a Hindu temple. The film explores many themes, including Hindu Muslim religious tensions, love, loyalty, duty, sacrifice, greed, betrayal. Director Zaigham Imam attended the screening and was interviewed by Razia Mashkoor, with audience participation in a lively Q&A session.
Imam was awarded the best director and Inaamul Haq was awarded the best male actor in a feature film category.
The third day began with the screening of the Malayalam film “Pacha,” an eye-opening film set in the backdrop of the drought followed by the floods in Kerala. A second session of short films was followed by screening of the grand finale movie “Jhalki” directed by Brahmanand Singh who was interviewed by Priya Samant Parulekar, the impact advisor for the film. “Jhalki” was awarded the Best Film for a Social Cause (eliminating child labor).
Short films and documentaries screened at the three-day festival dealt with such diverse topics as ghosts, divorce, honor killing, homelessness, political satire and religion.