The Cannes Film Festival is undoubtedly the queen of all, while the one at Venice is the oldest such cinematic event and perhaps the only one that takes place on a tiny island, Lido. Its bay looks across mainland Venice, that ancient, historic city built on water and fêted by artists and playwrights like Shakespeare.
But India can boast of a movie festival which is the highest in the world. The Ladakh International Film Festival’s third edition will run from June 27 to 29 at Leh, nestled among the Himalayas at an altitude of 11,000 feet above the sea level.
The Tibetan spiritual head, Dalai Lama, will be at Leh to conduct a Buddhist ritual to coincide with the inauguration – with Kamal Swaroop’s Rangabhoomi as the opening movie.
Rangabhoomi is based on a semi-autobiographical play by Dadasaheb Phalke, who is celebrated as the father of Indian cinema. He is credited with having made the first full-length feature in 1913, Raja Harishchandra.
The Festival will hold the Asian premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly-- first screened at Cannes in 2013. The film, which is slated for a theatrical release in India this August, is a dark thriller about a missing girl child and the frantic search to find her.
Ugly, that hit French cinemas recently, will release in Indian theatres on November 21.
The Festival will pay tributes to two of India’s most illustrious actors – the late Farooq Sheikh and the late Nanda. While Sheikh’s Shatranj Ke Khilari, Umrao Jaan, Gaman, Noorie and Chashme Buddoor have always fascinated us, nobody can forget Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile, where she paired with Shashi Kapoor.
The Festival’s other highlights include a section on modern South Korean movies, and this year’s jury will have Klaus Eder, General Secretary of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics), and Maxine Williamson, who heads the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.