Thursday, 23 November 2017

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar Talks About The BRICS Filmmaking Programme at IFFI 2017

IFFI 2017 hosts their annual showcasing of a special curated selection of 7 award winning films, namely Panfilov’s 28,The Second Mother,The Heart of Madness, Ayanda, Soulmate, Kaasav and Where has the Time Gone as part of the BRICS Film package.

The award winning films will be screened through the course of the festival as was done for the first time at the last IFFI.

Among the films being showcased is the much talked about anthology film "Where Has Time Gone?" headlining directors such as Walter Salles, Alexey Fedorchenko, Madhur Bhandarkar, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Jia Zhangke, which was also presented at the Busan International Film Festival.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who represented India at BRICS, today spoke at the press conference today about the BRICS filmmaking programme, the anthology film and his experience at China, the country that hosted BRICS this year.

Madhur Bhandarkar said, "It was an honour to be in the company of such fine filmmakers, whom I really admire for so many years. It's also an honour to be attached to "Where Has Time Gone" and to represent the country on such an esteemed platform. It was a great moment for me that the film received so much appreciation when we screened it at Busan and a day before in Goa." Adding that, " It's challenging to make a short film and convey a message in 17 minutes. It was such a great experience working on this film and meeting filmmakers from across the world, who brought their own flavour to the film".

The 48th Edition of IFFI will take place from the 20th to 28th of November, 2017 in the beach state of Goa.


Open Forum Discussion on ‘Film making in changing scenario, Focus on Technology, Audience, Distribution, Economics, and Screening facility’

International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is the biggest platform for young filmmakers, said Dr Shreyans Jain, Film-maker. Dr Jain was speaking at Open Forum organized by Federation of Film Socities of India in IFFI at Goa today. Bharat Mirle and N. Vidyasankar from Karnataka, Luong Dinh Dung from Vietnam were also participated in the Open Forum.

“Film is the medium which affects masses and classes”, said Dr Shreyans Jain. Sharing his experience about film making, he said that now he is beginner in film making field. So far he made two short films and two feature films. Dr Jain is now working on Marathi Film “Sai Aalo Payi Payi” (story about devotes of Saibaba).

Luong Dinh Dung from Vietnam, who is a Director and Producer of film ‘Father and Son’,expressed happiness over the response to the film in IFFI. He said that it is very difficult for an independent filmmaker to make film in Vietnam. That is one of the reasons we bring the film here in IFFI, he said.  It took ten years to make ‘Father and Son’, he told.

N. Vidyasankar, Festival Director, Bengaluru International Film Festival told that modern technology changed the scenario, but still we need modern technology driven culture. Globally film infrastructure changed very drastically. When Indian Film goes abroad, the first thing that comes is technological values. In our country, we need to change the educational system. Need to make children learn of technology about Cinema, he said.  Creation and film construction is very important, he further said.

Bharat Mirale, Filmmaker from Karnataka, said that In International Film Festival of India ‘Film-Bazar’ is a great exposure to young film makers. Now technology is playing vital role in promoting films. Technology change is for the betterment of films, he said. People come to know in detail about the films through various technological platforms. Though, technological scenario is changing a lot economics of the film remains the main concern, he said.


‘Accessible Films’ Section for The Visually-Impaired Opens With ‘Screening of Secret Superstar’ & ‘Hindi Medium’ at IFFI Goa 2017

48th IFFI Goa has section on ‘Accessible India’ featuring two films ‘Secret Superstar’ & ‘Hindi Medium’, which were screened at IFFI, 2017. Saksham – a Delhi-based organization has added audio description and same language subtitling in these movies to make movies accessible to all including people who cannot see or hear.

‘Team Saksham’ interacted with media in a press conference today. The press conference was attended by Ms Rummi K Seth (Managing Founder Trustee - Saksham), Mr Dipendra Manocha (Founder Trustee – Saksham), Mr Narendra Joshi (Audio-descriptor and scriptwriter) and Mr Taha Haaziq (Member Secretary, Sanjay Centre For Special Education, Goa) who have played an important role in creating and filming of these versions of these movies in the international film festival.
Rummi Seth said, “This conference is special and different from the ones you have been a part of. This interesting project was started way back in 2005. If you sit and watch a film with your eyes closed what would you see as such except dialogues. During the screening of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag last year, special scenes where there were no dialogues, a blind person won’t know what is happening. We have a voice-over and a scriptwriter Mr Narendra and we all sit and decide as to what needs to be written to fill that space.”

Dipendra Manocha adds, “This accessibility of movies is all about inclusion. As a blind person, the question to me is do we have the right to go to the movie halls like everybody else or not. If we have the right then we are entitled to use every facility available to us. Physically challenged people may have some kind of limitation in terms of walking, sitting, speaking, etc. This is an initiative to help such people participate in it and be part of the active society. This effort of accessible movies is just a step towards that direction.”

Speaking about technical challenges while working on the concept, Narendra Joshi told media that, “The challenge is to create emotions in the spaces between the dialogues for the disabled ones to keep going with the flow while watching a movie. We have around 300-400 spaces during the entire movie watching experience. In 3 or 5 seconds, you need to figure out what is the important part that would help a visually impaired to know the scene better. The script which we work for the entire movie needs to be reworked once the entire process is done. We started the initiative with Mr Amitabh Bachchan’s movie Black and were met with a huge success.”

Audio description is a method to add audio narration describing what is being shown on the screen. This description is added in the silent gap between dialogues and it’s extremely important for people with visually challenged people or low vision and helps them to appreciate all parts of the movie

The 48th Edition of IFFI will take place from the 20th to 28th of November, 2017 in the beach state of Goa. IFFI is India’s biggest and Asia’s oldest film festival, making it one of the most prestigious in the world.

Envoys of three Nations present credentials to President of India

             Envoys of Sweden, Nigeria and the United States presented their credentials to the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (November 23, 2017). 

The envoys who presented their credentials were: -  
1.                                His Excellency Mr Klas Molin, Ambassador  of Sweden
2.                                His Excellency Major General Chris Sunday Eze (Rtd), High Commissioner of Republic of Nigeria
3.                                His Excellency Mr Kenneth Ian Juster, Ambassador of the United States

Text of PM Shri Narendra Modi's address at GCCS 2017

His Excellency Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Ministers from India and abroad
Secretary General of ITU,
Other distinguished dignitaries
Delegates from over 120 countries
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I welcome you to New Delhi, for the Global Conference on Cyber Space. I also welcome all those who are joining this event remotely from across the world, over the internet.


We all know how cyberspace has transformed the world over the last few decades. The senior generation among the gathering here, would recall the bulky mainframe computer systems of the seventies and eighties. A lot has changed since then. Email and personal computers brought about a new revolution in the nineties. This was followed by the advent of social media, and the mobile phone as an important vehicle of data storage and communication. Expressions such as the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence, have now become commonplace. These indicate that change continues, perhaps at an even faster pace now.

These rapid developments in the digital domain have mirrored immense change in India as well. Indian IT talent has been recognized worldwide. Indian IT companies have made a name for themselves globally.

Today, digital technology has emerged as a great enabler. It has paved the way for efficient service delivery and governance. It is improving access, in domains from education to health. And it is helping to shape the future of business and economy. Through each of these ways, it provides the less privileged sections of society, a more level playing field. On a macro-scale, it has contributed to emergence of a flat world, where a developing nation like India can compete on a level footing with developed nations.


Technology breaks barriers. We believe it validates the Indian philosophy of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" - the world is one family. This expression reflects our ancient, inclusive traditions. Through technology, we are able to give meaning to this expression, and indeed to the best of democratic values.

We in India, give primacy to the human face of technology, and are using it to improve what I call, “ease of living.” Empowerment through digital access, is an objective that the Government of India is especially committed to. "Digital India" is the world's largest, technology-led transformative programme which is paving the way for our citizens to avail digital services. We are using mobile power or M-power to empower our citizens.

I am sure most of you are already aware of Aadhaar, which is the unique biometric identity of a person. We have used this identity to liberate our people from queues and cumbersome processes. Three factors: first, financial inclusion through our Jan-Dhan bank accounts; second, the Aadhaar platform; and third, the Mobile phone, have greatly helped reduce corruption. We call this the J.A.M. or JAM trinity. Through better targeting of subsidies, the JAM trinity has prevented leakages to the tune of nearly 10 billion dollars so far.

Let me share a few examples of how digital technology is becoming a great facilitator for "ease of living."

Today, a farmer can access a variety of services, such as soil-testing results, expert advice, and a good price for his produce, at the click of a button. Digital technology is therefore contributing to increased farm incomes.

A small entrepreneur can register on the Government e-Marketplace, and bid competitively for supply of goods to the Government. As he expands his business, he also contributes to lowering the cost of procurement for Government. This leads to increased efficiency, and greater value for public money.

Pensioners no longer need to present themselves in front of a bank officer, to provide proof of life. Today, a pensioner can leverage the Aadhaar biometric platform, to provide this proof with minimal physical effort.

Women form a significant part of the IT workforce. Digital technology has facilitated several new enterprises led by women. In this way the IT sector has contributed towards gender empowerment.

Citizens of India are increasingly adopting cashless transactions. For this, we created the Bharat Interface for Money – or BHIM App. This App is helping the movement towards a less cash and corruption free society.

These examples show the power of technology in improving governance.


We are using the digital domain to facilitate participative governance, or Jan Bhagidari. When we assumed office in May 2014, many people, particularly youngsters expressed a keen desire to share their ideas and work for the nation. It is our firm belief that there are millions of Indians, whose transformative ideas can go a long way in taking India to new heights.

Therefore, we launched the citizen engagement portal, MyGov. This platform enables citizens to share their thoughts and ideas on important issues. In many key policy areas, we received thousands of valuable suggestions. Many logo and emblem designs for various Government initiatives today, are the result of crowd-sourcing, and competitions on MyGov. In fact, even the official app for the Prime Minister's Office, is the result of a competition floated on MyGov, which received brilliant responses from youngsters. MyGov is a prime example of how technology strengthens democracy.

Let me turn to another example. On assuming office, I realized that important government projects and initiatives often suffer on account of unnecessary silos in government functioning, and the lack of focused decision-making. Therefore, we devised a cyberspace based platform, called PRAGATI or Proactive Governance for Timely Implementation. PRAGATI, in Hindi, literally means progress.

On the last Wednesday of every month, I meet top Union and State government officials for a PRAGATI Session. Technology breaks silos. Sitting in our respective offices, aided by the cyber world, we discuss and resolve important governance issues. I am happy to share with you that the PRAGATI sessions have resulted in faster decision-making, through consensus, in the larger interest of the nation. PRAGATI has put back on track infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars which were stuck in red-tape.

I have even tried something of my own, through the Narendra Modi Mobile App. This App deepens my connect with citizens. The suggestions I get through the App are very useful.

Today, we launched the UMANG Mobile App, which will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services. At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments. This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of "peer performance pressure", in the working of these departments.


We shall be happy to share our experiences and success stories with the global community. On the other hand, India is keen to find scalable models and innovative solutions in education and health, using digital technology. We also wish to make cyberspace an enabler for the differently-abled. Recently, during a thirty six hour Hackathon, college students suggested solutions to chronic problems that were put forward by Ministries. We look forward to learn from global experiences and best practices. We believe that growth happens only when we all grow together.

Cyberspace remains a key area for innovation. Our startups today, are looking to provide solutions to common everyday problems, and improving the lives of people. I am confident that the global investor community, will recognize the immense potential waiting to be tapped from India’s startup pool. I invite you to invest in this space, and be a part of the unfolding story of Indian startups.


The internet, by nature, is inclusive and not exclusive. It offers equity of access, and equality of opportunity. Today’s discourse is being shaped by Facebookers, Tweeples, and Instagrammers. Social media platforms are making cyberspace participative for all. News that experts tell us from studios, is now supplemented by experiences highlighted on social media. This transition, to a blend of expertise and experience, is the contribution of the cyber world. The internet has become the ideal platform for youngsters to showcase their creativity, capability and capacity - be it an insightful blog, a beautiful musical rendition, artwork, or theatre… the sky is the limit.


The theme of the Conference: "Secure and Inclusive Cyberspace for Sustainable Development" also highlights the importance of securing this vital asset for mankind. The global community needs to approach the issue of cyber-security with confidence, as much as with resolve. Cyberspace technologies must remain an enabler for our people.

The quest for an open and accessible internet often leads to vulnerability. Stories of hacking and defacement of websites are the tip of an iceberg. They suggest that cyber attacks are a significant threat, especially in the democratic world. We need to ensure that vulnerable sections of our society do not fall prey to the evil designs of cyber criminals. Alertness towards cyber-security concerns, should become a way of life.

One of the major focus areas should be the training of well-equipped and capable professionals to counter cyber threats. Cyber-warriors who will remain on the alert against cyber-attacks. The term "hacking" may have acquired an exciting, even if dubious overtone. We need to ensure that cyber protection becomes an attractive and viable career option for the youth.

On a related note, nations must also take responsibility to ensure that the digital space does not become a playground for the dark forces of terrorism and radicalization. Information sharing and coordination among security agencies is essential to counter the ever-changing threat landscape.

Surely, we can walk the fine balance between privacy and openness on one hand, and national security on the other. Together, we can overcome the differences between global and open systems on one hand, and nation-specific legal requirements on the other.


Emerging digital technologies could impact our future in ways that we cannot yet foresee. Important questions of transparency, privacy, trust and security may need to be addressed. Digital technology serves to empower mankind. We must ensure that it continues to stay that way.

The large multi-stakeholder participation at this event, is proof of the global endorsement that this platform has received. Nation states, the industry, academia and civil society, all need to work towards a formal collaborative framework. This will enable a secure cyberspace which improves quality of life.


This conference is perhaps the biggest ever such event in terms of numbers. I am told that all the background and logistics have been handled digitally. I hope delegates from around the world found it a smooth and seamless experience.

I conclude by wishing you fruitful and productive deliberations and outcomes. I once again welcome you, and wish the conference all success.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

In The Indian Panorama Section meet The Directors of Non-Feature Film Organized

In the International Film Festival of India in Indian Panorama section ‘Meet - the Directors of Non-Feature Films’ was organized today. Shri Ajay Kurane, Director Baluta (Marathi), Anik Dutta, Director Meghnadbod Rohosyo (Bengali), Rima Das, Director, Village Rock stars (Assamese), Lipika Singh Darai, The Waterfall (English) interacted with the media.

Rima Das, who directed Village Rock Stars, shared her experience about the film. The film is about the children in villages without any resources but they dream high. Though they are out of resources they celebrate their life. “Mumbai experience helped a lot to get the story on screen’ said, Rima Das. The story of the film revolves around the Dhunu, 10 year old girl who lives in remote part of Assam amidst raging depravation. A free spirit, she firmly believes in the power of her grand dreams. Her widowed mother struggles to make ends meet but, despite the poverty, Dhunu is determined to form a rock band with the boys in her village and wants to be the proud owner of a guitar. She remains undeterred in the face of gender discrimination, the lack of support from the boys and a society that threatens to pull her back. 

Anik Dutta, Director of Benglai non-feature film Meghnadbod Rohosyo said that it is not easy exploring the complex urban relationships through non-feature films. He said that there is a good future of non-feature films in India. The story of Meghnadbod Rohosyo is about a Chingi a mute girl. Her father an Indian army officer loses his life while on duty. Chingi lives with her mother and grandfather nurturing vivid memories of her father, his teachings and the gift of a tri-colored pinwheel that she spends most of her time with. When the statue installed in her father’s memory is demolished, Chingi takes it upon herself to restore her family’s pride. However, a shocking revelation awaits the family.

Marathi non-feature film Baluta is about barter system. Ajay Kurane, Director said that the story inspired from WhatsApp Message. Women empowerment is what everybody talks but when it comes to reality it is totally different, said Ajay Kurane. In rural Maharashtra it is never imagined that woman being a barber. Despite all odds Shantabai, accepts the traditional job to meet the both ends. Shantabai, a young woman, mother of four daughters, loses her husband and is on her own without family support. Baluta is her tale of struggle, bravery and most of all, the self-belief of a woman who defies all odds and proves to the world that stereotype is just another word.

Rima Das, Director of The Waterfall while sharing her experiences about the non-feature film said, “We are moving away from nature where we belong. There is always a conflict of development and Environment”.  On a visit to his cousin Nilu’s beautiful hill town, city kid Karan immediately takes to the deep forests, he marvels at the bounty of nature in the small town. He soon learns that the waterfall they visited will soon be destroyed to make way for development projects. Deeply disturbed, Karan finds himself in deep contemplation about the conflicting progress of development and importance of conserving nature.  


‘Pihu’ and ‘PushkarPuran’ open IFFI's Indian Panorama.

While Sridevi, one of the Indian film industry's most iconic leading ladies, inaugurated the Indian Panorama section of Asia’s biggest film festival, the International Film Festival of India. A special press conference was today held for the two opening films of India Panoram, Section, ‘Pushkar-Puran’ and ‘Pihu’, was attended by the respective directors Kamal Swaroop and Vinod Kapri and child artist, Myra Vishwakarma.

Piquing the curiosity of everyone in attendance was the film, ‘Pihu’ which revolves around a 2-year-old who fails to wake her unresponsive mother and takes to exploring the spacious apartment looking for food while periodically distracted from her chores by nervous phone calls from her father who is trying to reach his wife. Keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats, the movie showed much promise inciting gasps and laughter as the suspense gradually heightens in the plot.

Talking about the film, director Vinod Kapri said, “Pihu is a special film not because its protagonist is a two-year-old child and also not because she is the only character in the film, but maybe because the whole crew and the child's family lived in the same apartment for a while to get her attuned to the film. It’s a great opportunity to showcase my film at IFFI Goa 2017.” He added that having platform of IFFI 2017 for independent filmmaker like him is a honor and morale booster.

The next opening film also garnered much intrigue as after helming cult film “Om Dar-B-Dar”, filmmaker Kamal Swaroop returned to cinema after three decades with Pushkar-Puran, a film about Lake City Pushkar in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The movie showcases how in the month of Karthik, the city turns into a mirage-like fair, with villagers, folk artists, musicians, cattles, camels, horses, ferris-wheels and merry-go-rounds.

Speaking before the screening of the film, director Kamal Swaroop said, “Thank you to everybody, the jury, IFFI organizers. I have liked the festival very much. I am lucky. This is my second opening film in the Panorama.”Further, He told media that as he being a resident at Ajmer, his film is not only emanating from imagination but his own experiences too.

The 48th Edition of IFFI will take place till 28th of November, 2017 in the beach state of Goa. IFFI is India’s biggest and Asia’s oldest film festival, making it one of the most prestigious in the world.


Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar Talks About The BRICS Filmmaking Programme at IFFI 2017

IFFI 2017 hosts their annual showcasing of a special curated selection of 7 award winning films, namely Panfilov’s 28,The Second Mother,The...