Films that saw it all over 100 years

As Ustad Nishat Khan struck the chord of his sitar, the visuals of 1927 silent film, Throw of Dice, came alive. Thus began the celebration of 100 years of Indian Cinema in the form of Centenary Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium, put together by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in association with the National Film Archive of India.

The main lobby of the auditorium has turned into a space resembling a museum with photographic panels and cameras and editing machines of yore on display. These include a special exhibition of Indian cinema over 100 years, a special exhibit on Satyajit Ray which includes sketches made by him, pictures that he took of filmmakers like Kurosawa and Antonioni when they
visited India to general shots from Puri and his storyboarding on a film on the late Pt.Ravi Shankar that he planned but never made. 

While the auditoriums were packed to capacity with film lovers who got a golden opportunity to witness an interesting array of films - ranging from Yash Chopra’s to Dharmputra to K Vishwanath’s Shankarabharam, S S Vasan’s Chandralekha to G.V.Iyer’s Adi Shankaracharya and Onir’s My Brother Nikhil to Ketan Mehta’s Bhavni Bhavai and several others, the panel discussions organised by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) attracted their share of the audiences too.

The topics ‘On -Screen violence and The Culture of Cuss Words’; ‘Sex, Nudity, Dance Numbers & The Kiss’ and ‘We: The Offended’ had renowned names participating and sharing their views. Pankaja Thakur, CEO of CBFC explains the choice of topics: “When we decided to have this festival, I sat and went through all the letters that come to us from public and filmmakers to try and find out what it is that disturbs them the most. And what is it that is most relevant and has generated curiosity over the years. Based on that we chalked out this event. Violence is something that can change a film’s certification so we wanted to discuss all kinds of violence and depiction of women. We all know and cannot close our eyes to commodification of women.”

The festival which also saw screenings of popular films organised at universities like Jamia Millia Islamia and JNU earlier, ends today evening with a play being directed by Aamir Raza Husain and Virat Husain. Titled The Forgotten Phalke, it is based on a book by Sharayu Phalke Summanvar.

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