Delhi-based festival is shaping up to be a useful mid-year platform for India’s burgeoning indie film scene.

Turkish filmmaker Zeki Demirkubuz’s Inside was awarded best film in the Asian and Arab competition at this Osian’s Cinefan film festival, while Ajay Bahl’s B.A. Pass took best film in the Indian competition.

The story of the young boy’s affair with an older woman, B.A. Pass was also awarded best actor for Shadab Kamal’s performance. Winners in the Asian and Arab competition also included Faouzi Bensaidi’s Death for Sale, which was awarded best director, and Iran’s Modest Reception, which took best actor and actress (see full list of winners below).

Returning for its 12th edition after a two-year hiatus, the Delhi-based festival introduced Asian and Arab films to an enthusiastic local audience and provided a useful mid-year platform for India’s lively independent film scene.

The Indian competition displayed the growing diversity in the nation’s indie cinema and the fact that young filmmakers are prepared to take risks, although the end results can be uneven. Films on offer in this section included classic arthouse fare such as Ballad Of Rustom, which follows the imaginary life of a government worker in the Indian countryside; youth-oriented drama Prague, about an architect facing his demons in the Czech capital, and Cosmic Sex, which won best actress for Rii’s portrayal of a woman teaching tantric sex rituals.

Screening in other sections were recent mould-breaking Indian films such as Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai, Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor, Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Paan Singh Tomar, which premiered at the Abu Dhabi film festival two years ago and became a surprise hit in India earlier this year.

One of the highlights of the festival was a rowdy screening of both parts of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs Of Wasseypur, which premiered in Cannes Directors Fortnight this year. The 320-minute film was well received in Cannes but in Delhi drove the audience into a frenzy with its earthy dialogue, uncompromising heroes and four decades of pop culture references.  

Other major events at the festival included a horror screenwriting workshop by James V. Hart (Dracula, Contact) and a touching memorial lecture delivered by Rome film festival director Marco Mueller in honour of his late friend, the filmmaker, writer and painter Mani Kaul.

The festival also hosted an auction of Indian film memorabilia which resulted in record sales of $125,000 (Rs6.96m). Indian star Aamir Khan and his wife filmmaker Kiran Rao were among the bidders, taking away six collector’s items including Shammi Kapoor’s jacket.

On the downside, the festival experienced some scheduling problems as the main venue, the Siri Fort Complex, wasn’t quite up to the task of screening the wide range of digital formats that film festivals now have to contend with.

While India now has a lively indie film scene, it still lacks specialised venues to show these films on home soil. The upcoming Mumbai film festival, which is introducing an Indian competition for the first time, is moving to the south of the city this year to try out venues including the National Centre for Performing Arts and an Inox multiplex.


Asian Arab Competition

Best Film: Inside (Turkey)

Best Director: Faouzi Bensaidi, Death for Sale (Morocco)

Best Actress: Taraneh Alidoosti, Modest Reception (Iran)

Best Actor: Mani Haghighi, Modest Reception (Iran)

Special Jury Prize: Postcards From The Zoo (Indonesia, Germany, Hong Kong, China)

Special Mention: Director Yoshimasa Ishibashi for Milocrorze and the entire cast (Japan)

Indian competition

Best Film: B.A. Pass

Best Director: Ajita Suchitra Veera, Ballad Of Rustom

Best Actress: Rii, Cosmic Sex

Best Actor: Shadab Kamal, B.A. Pass

Special Jury Award: Patang, Prashant Bhargava

First Feature Competition

Best Film: Beyond The Hill (Turkey)

Special Mention: In April the Following Year, There was a Fire (Thailand)


Hansa, Manav Kaul


Hansa, Manav Kaul