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`Bicycle thieves' ride on

BIBHUTI MISHRA

The classics stole the show at the first Bhubaneswar film festival.



MOVIE MOMENTS A still from 'Rashomon'.

The first Bhubaneswar film festival hosted by Film Society of Bhubaneswar was held for five days with a focus on Asian cinema. The festival opened with Iranian Filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf's At Five in the Afternoon a haunting film that emerged from post-Taliban Afghanistan.

The story revolves around the aspirations of Noqreh (Agheleh Rezaie) who struggles against heavy odds to assert herself as a woman. The poverty and privation are symbolised in the rubble of bombed-out Afghanistan, that is visible everywhere.

This film was complemented by Siddiq Barmak's Osama that was screened on the third evening. The film dealt with Afghanistan under Taliban and the sorry plight of a 12-year-old girl who takes on the identity of a boy, Osama, to survive.

The terror is as much in the dusty, desolate streets as in the gun toting Talibans and the pallid eyes of the young girl.

The festival also featured Dust in the Wind from Taiwan, Children of Heaven, Secret ballot,The Day I Became a Woman and The Wind will Carry Us from Iran, Uzak from Turkey, Springtime in a Small Town and Platform from China and 2046 from Hong Kong.

The festival had an Oriya film Indradhanura Chhai by Susant Mishra. The main attraction, however, was the retrospective section that had four classics - Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, Vittorio De Sica's trail-blazing Bicycle Thieves and Jean Luc-Godard's Breathless. Even after decades, the films retain a freshness and afford the serious students of cinema a significant insight into the filmmaker's art.

Art as dissent

In another unique event, dancers, dance gurus, musicians and writers in Bhubaneswar got together to lodge a protest against the corruption in classical Odissi dance. The immediate cause for the protest was the distortion of traditional Odissi costume in a programme held recently by the Sutra Theatre of Malaysia and Ramli Ibrahim. The dancers not wearing a odhni or dupatta stirred controversy and Odissi dance scholars, gurus, performers and critics roundly condemned this departure from the traditional costume.

Bolstering their stand, Odissi dance scholar and president of Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Dhirendra Nath Patnaik, Akademi secretary Debadutta Samantsinhar, singers of eminence Md. Sikandar Alam, Laxmikanta Palit and classical vocalist Prof. Chittaranjan Pani, eminent Odissi gurus Durga Charan Ranbir, Bichitrananda Swain, Pitambar Biswal, Sarat Kumar Das, son of the late Guru Pankaj Charan Das, former ministers Suresh Kumar Routray and Arabindo Dhali, social activists Dillip Srinchandan, Ajit Mangaraj, Chandrasekhar Pati and Dillip Hali, dancers Pratibha Panda, eminent writer Prof. Biswaranjan among others gathered in Bhubaneswar and spoke against the corruption and distortion in Odissi culture and dance.

A rally was taken out with placard-holding celebrities condemning the philistinism and a memorandum was submitted to the Governor, Rameswar Thakur.

The event took place under the aegis of city-based socio-cultural outfits Prerana, Sanskruti O Sanskruti and Orissa Cine Critic Association.

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