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What to watch out for at 8th Jagran Film Festival

The 8th Jagran Film Festival will conclude with Seema Kapoor's Mr. Kabaadi, the last film in which Om Puri acted

A still from ‘Mr. Kabaadi’, which stars Annu Kapoor and the late Om Puri.
A still from ‘Mr. Kabaadi’, which stars Annu Kapoor and the late Om Puri.

There is the sound of the bomb still in my ears, the smell of gunpowder in my nose." Meryem is struggling to get used to her present. She was the lone survivor of a boat tragedy in the Aegean Sea that killed members of her family—all trying to escape the war in Syria. Her rescuer, Ibrahim, a member of the coast guard, took care of her and they later married. They have settled in Bozdoğan town but Meryem still longs for her home and loved ones. 

Director Olgun Özdemir’s Meryem, in the Turkish-German film Purple Horizons, depicts how migrants negotiate their sense of belonging and try to reconcile with their present, something which needs to be talked about more, says film-maker Manoj Srivastava, a spokesperson for the Jagran Film Festival. The film will be screened this weekend as part of the festival, at Delhi’s Siri Fort Auditorium.

The eighth edition of the festival, which will be inaugurated by actor Rishi Kapoor on Saturday, has an underlying theme. “We are trying to make a social statement by presenting films that show the kind of world we live in today. The emphasis is on subjects that are unheard of or lesser known in media," says Srivastava. 

Take Ananth Mahadevan’s Doctor Rakhmabai, for instance. Based on the life of India’s first practising lady doctor, Rakhmabai, the 114-minute film shows how she challenged early marriage and fought for girls’ right to education during British rule. “One of the big reasons for making the film was to make the world aware of a lady called Rakhmabai, a rebel who stood up against a conservative society. The sad part is, the story is very much relevant today; the world hasn’t moved much since the 19th century. A girl like Malala Yousafzai still gets shot at because she stood up for her right to education," says Mahadevan.

Besides this biopic, there’s Omung Kumar’s 2014 biographical sports film, Mary Kom, and Matthew Brown’s 2015 The Man Who Knew Infinity, a British biographical drama based on mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.

“The International Documentary" section, a first, will showcase documentaries from Israel, Syria, Mozambique and Germany, apart from India. The line-up includes A Memory In Three Acts, India Has No Name and Babylon Dreamers.

The festival will conclude with Seema Kapoor’s Mr. Kabaadi, the last film in which Om Puri acted. Based on a Molière play, the satire has Annu Kapoor in the lead and Puri as the sutradhar (narrator). “It’s a rags-to-riches story, of how class divides us and how some of us are ashamed of our own social standing," says Kapoor. 

The must-watch films? “Purple Horizons for the issue it raises, Mr. Kabaadi for Annu Kapoor and the late Om Puri, and Goran Trenchovski’s (Macedonian-Serbian film) Golden Five, which talks about the consequences of zealous nationalism," says Srivastava.

The 8th Jagran Film Festival will be held from 1-5 July, 10am onwards, at Siri Fort Auditorium, August Kranti Marg. It will then travel to Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Dehradun, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Indore, Hisar, Ludhiana, Meerut, Raipur and Mumbai. For the detailed schedule, visit 

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