Westpac’s Indian Film Festival brings choicest films to Sydney

Ashish Bisht, Onir, Raveena Tandon and Raj Suri at the premier of ‘Shab’

Pics Courtesy  Romualdo Nubla

By Neeru Saluja

While Melbourne is still getting over the beautiful Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Indian film festival, Sydney’s glamour quotient rose with Bollywood actresses Raveena Tandon and Tannishtha Chatterjee, acclaimed director Onir, debutant actor Ashish Bisht and Sydney’s multitalented Raj Suri.

The Westpac Indian Film Festival Sydney, running from 18-20 August opened with the screening of films ”˜Shab’ and ”˜Dr. Rakhmabai’  at Hoyts Entertainment Quarter. The festival director Mitu Bhowmick-Lange introduced the films with the cast to a cinema loving audience.

”˜Shab’, the opening night of the film has been directed by National award winning director Onir who is well known for his film ”˜My Brother Nikhil’. With a lead cast of actress Raveena Tandon who is shown in a glamourous and bold avatar, model turned actor Ashish Bisht, Arpita Chatterjee and Raj Suri, the film revolves around these complex characters and their search for happiness in a modern world.

Onir, who is known for his provoking and poignant films exploring human connection had the plot of the film with him since 17 years. Raveena had worked with him in ”˜Daman’ and since then wanted to a film together. “When we met 17-18 years ago, we discussed Shab. But life took on, other things came along and we put the film on the back burner. If we had made Shab earlier, that would have been a film ahead of its time for India. But nothing shocks us now! So the wait was worth it, the time has come to show the film to the world.”

This is also the first time Raveena has worked with a fresh talent that is actor Ashish Bisht. “It’s wonderful to encourage fresh and new talent because I was also new one day and someone gave me a chance. It’s amazing the kind of talent we have in our country and Ashish is one of them for sure,” said Raveena.

The film also stars actor, producer and photographer Raj Suri who is also the founder of Miss India Australia. Raj plays a significant role of a fashion designer in the film. “As the film is shot in all seasons, I had to visit India a few times for the shooting of the film. This is the kind of reality Onir brings to his films, says Raj who was also the Australian producer of Onir’s film ”˜I Am”.

While Shab took us further into the modern society of people chasing their dreams and desires, actress Tannishtha’s film Dr. Rakhmabai was the story of India’s first practicing lady doctor who paved the way for a fight against gender discrimination. “I feel privileged to get a chance to tell the story of India’s first lady doctor who was born in 1864 and practiced till the age of 90 years. I’m talking about the times when females were only attended by midwives, and never taken to a male doctor. If they were, the doctors were not allowed to see them.”

“Rakhmabai is also the story of the step father of Dr Rakhmabai who refuses to marry a 12 year old girl and wants to marry a widow who is a parent like him. While there is a strong female character in the film, there is also a supporting male character. These are the kind of stories we need to tell the world, says Tannishtha.

After the screening of the films, the audience were allowed to ask questions and also mingle with the key guests. The film festival has given Sydney film lovers a chance to watch all kind of genres of films at two venues ”“ Entertainment Quarter and Hoyts Blacktown.

The film festival runs from 18-20 August and for the full list of films, visit http://indianfilmfestival.com.au/


Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=9504