Indian Kaleidoscope

By Sachin Chatte

The Indian Panorama was inaugurated at the 46th International Film Festival of India by the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mr Rajyavardhan Rathore. It opened with the documentary Goonga Pehalwan in the non-feature and the Sanskrit film Priyamanasam in the feature category.
The jury members of the selection panel were felicitated in a brief ceremony. The features section was headed by Aribam Syam Sharma, an actor, director and music composer and recipient of fifteen National Awards while the non-feature section was chaired by Rajendra Janglay, a renowned documentary film maker. There were 384 entries all together with a major chunk coming in the feature film category.
This year Panorama boasts 26 feature films from different parts of the country. Bengali films top the list, followed by a healthy contribution from Malayalam and Marathi filmdom. A Konkani film (Nachom-ia Kumpasar) and Bodo film (Dau Huduni Methai) also feature in the selection. The non-feature section has a total of 21 films.
The opening film Goonga Pehelwan is a poignant documentary about a deaf wrestler, who despite being good enough to challenge any able bodied wrestler, cannot participate in competitions due to the apathy of sports associations. Though he has won medals for the country in the Deaflympics, his struggle in daily life continues. Directed by three young film makers, Mit Jaani, Prateek Gupta and Vivek Chaudhary, it brings to the fore the discrimination faced by people with disabilities.
The opening feature film Priyamanasam directed by Vinod Mankara is only the third Sanskrit film to ever be made. The first was Adi Shankaracharya in 1983 which won the Best Film, Screenplay, Cinematography and Audiography prizes at the National Awards that year. Incidentally, the last Sanskrit film Bhagwad Gita, made in 1993, also won the National Award for Best Feature film back then. Priyamansam is based on the life of the Sanskrit poet Unnayi Warrier and the struggles that he encountered while writing his magnum opus Nalacharitham, a Kathakali play.

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