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The Quint Devours Delicious Cinema at Dharamshala Film Fest Day 2

Day 2 of the film festival was all about the independent, exquisite cinema of short features and documentaries. 

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When a 14-year-old Afghan girl, Sonita, living as a refugee in Iran, dreams of becoming a rapper, it seems fantastical.

It is her tribulations that documentary filmmaker Rukhsareh Ghaem Maghami showcases: living in Iran in a cramped little house far away from the place she calls home, unsure of what awaits her, the only thing she possessively holds on to are her dreams.

Day 2 of the film festival was all about the independent, exquisite cinema of short features and documentaries. 
Stutee Ghosh with documentary filmmaker Rukhsareh Ghaem Maghami. (Photo courtesy: Stutee Ghosh)

Festivals such as the Dharamshala Film Fest are a great way to experience some of the brilliant cinema that is happening around the world and in our own country, which we inevitably miss in the overawing glossy sheen of Bollywood. The short films, features and documentaries screed on second day of the fest proved to be a major pull encompassing the whole spectrum.

Also Read: The Quint at Dharamshala Film Fest: Diverse Offerings Mark Day 1

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Of Satire and the Indomitable Human Spirit

The little notebook where Sonita cuts and pastes pictures of her dream house or music studio or superimposes her face on cutouts of Rihanna is her own little rebellion, stubbornly refusing to be relegated to the margins.

While documentary filmmakers are supposed to keep an objective distance merely observing and recording the proceedings, Rukhsareh actually steps in to help Sonita buy her freedom. While many would argue about the ethical problems this raises and the questions it throws up about the ever-evolving role of documentary filmmakers, by the end of it one can’t help but cheer for the two women. Sonita, for her refusal to give in and Rukhsareh, for so brilliantly showcasing the triumph of the human spirit.

Day 2 of the film festival was all about the independent, exquisite cinema of short features and documentaries. 
Documentary filmmaker Rukhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s feature was screened at the Dharamshala International Film Fest. (Photo courtesy: Stutee Ghosh) 

Bauddhayan Mukherji’s short feature The Violin Player is a film meant to be savoured. Having won the Best Feature award at The Durban International Film Festival, it documents a day in the life of a forlorn violinist. Ritwick Chakraborty in the role of the unnamed violin player enthrals us with a scintillating performance, his expressions matching every musical note that he plays, his hands moving in a hypnotising motion as he masterfully works the silent moments. The role of art and its cathartic quality is brilliantly negotiated in this one.

Day 2 of the film festival was all about the independent, exquisite cinema of short features and documentaries. 
Baudhayan Mukherji, the director of The Violin Player (center) as the Dharamshala International Film Fest 2016. (Photo courtesy: Stutee Ghosh) 

From Chaitanya Tamhane’s surrealist portrait of a mysterious woman and her love for Moonlight Thurston tea to the endearing story of a little boy trying to assert his own identity against the strictly defined gender roles that society wants to bully him into. Payal Sethi’s Leeches makes a powerful statement about the buying and selling of young girls in Hyderabad while Gurvinder Singh steers his satirical tale of a pigeon from Pakistan that crosses over to India and is negotiated by the police as spy with precision and a spicy hug of wit.

Day 2 of the film festival was all about the independent, exquisite cinema of short features and documentaries. 
What better place to take a break and delve into delicious cinema than tranquil, hipster Dharamshala? (Photo courtesy: Stutee Ghosh)

The final day of the festival, apart from the impressive lineup of films, also boasts of panel discussions with film personalities like Naseeruddin Shah and Saeed Mirza. Watch this space to get all the details!

Also Read: Aamir Khan Loved Kannada Film Thithi

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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