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Amsterdam gets a taste of Southern spice

Not many in this part of the country are aware that a Tamil-Malayalam Film Festival took place in Amsterdam, Holland. It began on March 10 and continued till the end of April. It is surprising that the Indian media has taken no notice of this interesting event.

In the West, Indian cinema is equated with Hindi movies and those in regional languages such as Tamil and Telugu are virtually ignored.

The Royal Tropical Foundation (RTF), a happy exception, and an association based in Amsterdam, Holland, has been conducting several festivals on Indian culture (for nearly 20 years) in its various aspects such as music, dance and cinema.

However, this is the first time a festival exclusively devoted to only Tamil and Malayalam Cinema was held this year.

Attending the festival as special guests were Mani Ratnam and his wife Suhasini, who were the representatives of Tamil Cinema, and from the Malayalam movie world, it was Mohanlal and Rajiv Vijaya Raghavan

Here is the list of films that were screened in the two South Indian languages...

TAMIL : Adimai Penn, Thanneer Thanneer, Muthal Mariyathai, Veedu, Iruvar, Virumandi, Autograph andPithamagan.

Malayalam : Neelakuyil, Chemmeen, Olavum Theeravum, Thampu, Amma AriyanVaanaprastham and Maargam.

The Dutch connection

It all began when the Dutch were a colonial power during the 19th century holding sway over what was then known as `Dutch East Indies,' comprising the Indonesia of today.

KIT began as `Vereeniging Kolonial Insutuut' (Association of the Colonial Institute) to create a museum by collecting works of art from the Dutch East Indies. Over the years, it became necessary to have a building for the institute. A museum set in picturesque surroundings was opened on October 9, 1926, by Queen Wilhelmina.In November 1945, Indonesia got freedom and the name of the institute was changed to Indisch Institute but the board of directors felt that the name still had a colonial flavour! Reflecting the spirit of modern times and the changes the Museum had undergone over the years and its widening range of activities, it came to be known as Royal Tropical Institute (RTF, or KIT in Dutch). Among the many activities of RTF are the presentation of the life and culture in developing countries through exhibitions, theatre, musical and dance performances and lectures.

RTF has conducted several Indian film festivals in the past and except for a sprinkling of movies such as ``Chandralekha," ``Kannathil Mutthamittaal" and ``Malli," Tamil cinema has not received much attention until the Festival happened.

RANDOR GUY

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