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Back after two years, Osian kicks off

Back after two years, Osian kicks off
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Osian’s Cinefan is back in town after two years. And on the main focal points is the demise of two stars of Indian cinema - Mani Kaul and Rajesh Khanna and both of them have been well represented in the festival. A tribute to Mani Kaul would have come last year had there been a festival edition. Kaul has had a long association with Neville Tuli’s Osian.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the reputation of the festival was built on the works, experience and contribution of these two individuals – Kaul and Vasudev. While Vasudev started and organisationally built the film festival, Kaul was there year after year, teaching young students of cinema, discussing film techniques with fellow filmmakers from different parts of Asia and the Arab world and interacting with the audience.

The tribute to Kaul is well spread out throughout the festival, with gems like Satah se Uthata Aadmi, Duvidha, Idiot, Uski Roti and Bhoj along with a discussion on his cinema and a lecture.

The other tribute is to the Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna, who passed away on 18 July. Though his films are not being shown at the festival, he was remembered through a short, 10-minute-film during the opening ceremony on Friday.

Another important feature of the festival this time is an exhibition on Indian cinema, called Celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema – The Divas. The exhibition space this time – compared to the rest of the festival – is much lesser than what we have seen in the past and tracing the whole lineage of women stars from Indain cinema is a great task. Despite the unity the festival seeks to achieve with its past glory, there are visible differences when we compare with the celebration in the past.

The scale is much smaller. The hiatus of the past two years feels like a discontinuity. The food is terrible. But thankfully cinema still carries its charm. And, it is nice to see Tuli fail in his venture of chasing money through film festivals. This time, it’s free for all with a generous support from the Delhi government, and that’s how it should be.
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