Gitanjali Rao's 'Bombay Rose' gives perfect closure to Dharamshala International Film Fest

Chandan Kumar

Dharamshala, Nov 10 (PTI) Filmmaker-actor Gitanjali Rao's allegory of the Mumbai of the past, 'Bombay Rose', on Sunday marked the conclusion of 2019 Dharamshala International Film Festival here that also saw Priya Sen's 'Yeh Freedom Life' bagging the inaugural Gender Sensitivity award.

'Bombay Rose', which Rao has directed, written, edited and designed, has been frame-by-frame painted and turned into animation. The story follows a flower seller who shares a brief and platonic romance with a young Kashmiri immigrant in the city of dreams Mumbai.

The film, which Rao personally presented, received a huge applause towards the end of its screening.

The director said she has been 'gate-crashing' the festival for the past few editions but is now happy that her film served as the closing movie.

'I felt the audience was so warmed after having seen so many films that the point at which the applause came was a few seconds before the credits rolled. That, for me, was so spontaneous, the way they reacted. To be honest, none of the other screenings, that I have been to, that the people gave such a reaction.

'The audience here was so lovely and also there is no competitiveness. Everyone is sharing so much. There is no market, no commerce. It's just pure art and talent coming together. What more could you wish for,' Rao told PTI.

Sen's documentary, 'Yeh Freedom Life', was screened at the PictureTime Digiplex at DIFF earlier on Sunday.

The film, which the director shot in Delhi's Ambedkar Nagar area, is about two women -- Sachi and Parveen -- trying to settle down with their respective partners in a society that still looks down upon the LGBTQ community.

At the closing ceremony, Tenzing Sonam, who organises the festival each year with Ritu Sarin, said a three-member jury comprising noted critics Shubhra Gupta, Sudhir Srinivasan and Suparna Sharma picked Sen's film as the winner of Gender Sensitivity Award.

The honour, for which DIFF collaborated with Film Critics Guild, was presented to Sen by actor Adil Hussain.

The jury found that 'Yeh Freedom Life' breaks 'stunning new ground in capturing and portraying identity, gender and sexuality beyond the hetero normative.' During the ceremony, Sarin said Hussain and Sushil Chaudhary, CEO of mobile theatre company PictureTime, have offered financial support to the festival for the coming editions.

'I know I had said in the opening that the festival almost didn't happen. So a lot of people, friends and partners of DIFF and filmmakers actually got together and had a meeting on Saturday. Few people, including Sushil and Hussain, promised to give us a sum of money to keep us going,' she said.

Sarin added that they have launched an initiative, called Friends of DIFF, where people who have attended DIFF in the past can make financial contributions to the festival.

The four-day-long film extravaganza was opened by Prateek Vats satirical dramedy 'Eeb Allay Ooo!'.

Over the course, the festival screened critically-acclaimed movies and documentaries such as 'Jallikattu', 'Aise Hi', 'Khannaur', 'About Love', 'Inland Sea', 'Varda by Agnes' and 'Pariah Dog', among others. PTI RB SHD CK