Kajol in Karan Johar's international Bollywood hit My Name Is Khan, starring Shahrukh Khan
According to Agence France-Presse, Bangladesh has lifted a four-decade ban on Indian films. Some Bangladeshi actors and technicians may be none too happy, as they dislike competition just like most everybody else – Hollywood included. Bangladeshi movie theater owners, however, are ecstatic.
In fact, exhibitors were the ones who pressured the Bangladeshi government to end the ban, which began in 1972, the year following the country's independence. (For those who don't know; Bangladesh and Pakistan used to be one country. The whole thing goes back all the way to the British Raj and a bloody legacy of colonialism mixed with tribalism.)
Instead of protesting and trying to prevent the opening up of Bangladeshi screens to Bollywood movies (which can be seen on local television), local talent should join forces with the “enemy.” It would then be a win-win situation.
Photo: 20th Century Fox
Laxmikant Shetgaonkar's The Man Beyond the Bridge (above), with dialogue in the native tongue of Konkani (Goa region), a language little used in Indian cinema, took top honors at the 2010 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.
The winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature The Man Beyond the Bridge tells the story of Vinayak, a lonely forest ranger who befriends a mute madwoman who roams the area. Meanwhile, he must deal with with local villagers who have been cutting down trees so as to build a shrine. Last year, The Man Beyond the Bridge won the FIPRESCI Prize for Discovery at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
Dilip Mehta's feature-film debut Cooking with Stella received an Honorable Mention in the Narrative Feature category. Deepa Mehta, Dilip's sister and the director of the Academy Award nominated Water, co-produced this comedy about a scheming cook (Seema Biswas) and a diplomat's husband who wishes to learn her culinary secrets.
Nishta Jain's At My Doorstep was the winner for Best Documentary, with Deepa Bhatia's Nero's Guests earning an Honorable Mention. Ritesh Batra's Gareeb Nawaz's Taxi won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film, while Anjoo Khosla's Wahid's Mobile Bookstore was the runner-up.
Audience Choice Awards went to Paresh Mokashi's Harishchandrachi Factory for Best Narrative Feature, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom for Best Documentary, and Terrie Samundra's Kunjo for Best Short Film.
More than 7,000 moviegoers attended the screenings at ArcLight Hollywood, which included the international director's cut of Shahrukh Khan's Bollywood blockbuster My Name Is Khan.
Jury members for the Narrative Features were Debra Martin Chase, Radha Mitchell, and Shannyn Sossamon.
Jury members for the Documentary category were Oscar-nominated filmmaker Gregg Helvey; Peabody Award-winning producer and director Senain Kheshgi; and Sonali Kolhatkar, host and executive producer of KPFK's Uprising.
Jury members for the Short Film category were writer/ director Rajeev Dassani, actress Navi Rawat, and Kim Yutani, film critic and film programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and the Director of Programming of Outfest.
GRAND JURY AWARDS:
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE: THE MAN BEYOND THE BRIDGE
DIR/SCR: Laxmikant Shetgaonkar
Cast: Chitranjan Giri, Veena Jomkar, Prasanthi Talpanker, Vasanth Josalkar, Deepak Amonkar
HONORABLE MENTION: COOKING WITH STELLA
DIR/CO-SCR: Dilip Mehta
Cast: Seema Biswas, Lisa Ray, Don McKellar
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: AT MY DOORSTEP
DIR/ED: Nishta Jain
HONORABLE MENTION: NERO'S GUESTS
DIR: Deepa Bhatia
BEST SHORT FILM: GAREEB NAWAZ'S TAXI
DIR: Ritesh Batra
HONORABLE MENTION: WAHID'S MOBILE BOOKSTORE
DIR/PROD: Anjoo Khosla
NARRATIVE: HARISHCHANDRACHI FACTORY
DIR/SCR: Paresh Mokashi
Cast: Nandu Madhav, Vibhavari Desphande, Atharva Karve, Mohit Gokhale
DOCUMENTARY: THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS: TIBET'S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM
DIR: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam
DIR: Terrie Samundra
Photos: My Name Is Khan (20th Century Fox); The Man Beyond the Bridge (Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles)