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IFFI 2021: Pandemic-hit 51st edition looks set to be a low-key affair

The International Film Festival of India will take place from 16-24 January in a hybrid format, with physical and online segments

A still from Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 'Wife of a Spy'
A still from Kiyoshi Kurosawa's 'Wife of a Spy'

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI) did not take place last year at its usual time due to covid-19. It is happening this month instead, from 16-24 January, in a hybrid format that will see a physical segment in Goa and other screenings online. A total of 224 films will be screened at the 51st edition.

The festival will open with Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round, the much-awarded Danish comedy starring Mads Mikkelsen, about a group of middle-aged friends who make a pact to keep their blood alcohol level over 0.05m. The closing film is celebrated Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest, the historical drama Wife of a Spy.

Several Indian films from last year, fiction and non-fiction, in various languages, have been announced, though several have already released or done the festival rounds. Three Indian films are in the competition section: Kripal Kalita's Bridge, Siddharth Tripathy's A Dog And His Man and Ganesh Vinayakan's Thaen. The Indian Panorama category will have 18 regional language films, including Bridge (Assamese), Avijatrik (Bengali), Safe (Malayalam), Gatham (Telugu) and others. Saand Ki Aankh, starring Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar, will be the opening movie for the Panorama section.

Bangladesh is the country in focus this year, with four films from there being screened: Jibondhuli, Meghmallar, Under Construction and Sincerely Yours, Dhaka. There are retrospectives dedicated to filmmakers Pedro Almodovar (Live Flesh, Bad Education, Volver) and Ruben Ostlund (The Square, Force Majeure). There will also be masterclasses by filmmakers Shekhar Kapur, Priyadarshan, Perry Lang, Subhash Ghai and Tanvir Mokammel, which will be streamed online.

The centrepiece World Panorama section has few big names this time, opting instead for smaller festival titles from across the globe. While the arthouse heavy-hitters will be missed, there is the silver lining of being able to make one’s own discoveries.

(with inputs from PTI)

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