Dharamshala, Nov 7 (PTI) The eighth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) on Thursday opened with the screening of filmmaker Prateek Vats’ satirical dramedy 'Eeb Allay Ooo!' here.
The movie gala, regarded as an important stop for up-and-coming and indie filmmakers to showcase their work, is being held at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
This year DIFF moves back from Tibetan Children's Village, which served as the official venue for the past three editions.
Vats was present during the screening of the film, which marks his fiction directorial debut. It received an overwhelming response from the audience here.
The Hindi-language film is about a young immigrant who lands a rather unusual government job -- that of mimicking langurs to scare away the monkeys wreaking havoc in and around the Lutyens Delhi area.
'Eeb Allay Ooo!' recently had its India premiere at Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival, where it bagged the coveted Golden Gateway award in the India Gold category.
Post the screening, Vats told PTI, 'We are very lucky and privileged to have come here with our film. It is a really great environment here at DIFF. It was great that our film was the opening film here.' “The response that we got from the audience was also nice. I’m still taking it all in. I’m going to live with it for a while. It was very lovely to talk and engage with people here,” he added.
Vats was accompanied by actors Shardul Bhardwaj, who play the protagonist Anjani in his the film, and Naina Sareen at the festival.
The opening ceremony of DIFF started with the eloquent, light-hearted performance of students on Nangma Toeshe -- the traditional Tibetan song and dance form.
Director Ritu Sarin, who organises the festival with husband and filmmaker Tenzing Sonam, said DIFF almost didn't happen this year owing to challenges.
'It’s been very tough. DIFF has been very popular and its popularity is growing from year to year. But it is becoming more and more challenging to run. We almost cancelled the festival in September this year because of this… Tenzing and I had come to terms with the idea of giving up DIFF,” Sarin said at the opening ceremony.
But they felt that they had to keep it going, she said.
'We realised that DIFF had become such a big part of our lives and also Dharamshala’s life. The people have looked forward to it every year… There are many stakeholders who are emotionally and practically part of it. So somehow that made us continue,” she added.
Over the next three days, the festival will screen over 25 films and documentaries across different languages, including “About Love”, “Aise Hee”, “Birha”, “Jallikattu”, “Khanaur”, “Oh, That’s Bhanu” and “Yeh Freedom Life”, among others.
DIFF is also hosting international filmmakers Jesse Alk (USA), Kazuhiro Soda (Japan), Samuel Weniger (Switzerland), who are bringing their films to the film gala.
Gitanjali Rao’s Mumbai-set animated romance “Bombay Rose” will bring down the curtains at the festival.
DIFF 2019 will run till November 10. PTI RB RDS AQS SNESNE