100 years on, picture abhi baqi hai

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By HT

On May 3, 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke's silent film, Raja Harishchandra, released at Mumbai's Coronation cinema. A hundred years later, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is marking the centenary of Indian cinema by organising a six-day film festival.

The festival, which will run from April 25 to April 30 at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi, will be inaugurated by I&B minister Manish Tewari.

The movies being screened - most of them 35mm prints - are a mix of classic and contemporary cinema. Last year's small-town saga Gangs of Wasseypur rubs shoulders with Govind Nihalani's 1983 offbeat classic Ardha Satya.

"We have tried to select a mix of films which are worth watching again and again," said Rajeev Kumar Jain, director, Directorate of Film Festivals. "We wanted to expose audiences not only to Hindi cinema, but other kinds of cinema as well."

Regional cinema finds pride of place at the festival with a Satyajit Ray retrospective as well as screenings of classics in languages such as Assamese, Gujarati and Malayalam. Award-winning documentaries and historic news reels are also being shown.

The festival is not limited to film screenings. The censor board is executing a three-day workshop titled "Cut-Uncut" to showcase the evolution of censorship in India and is screening deleted scenes from certain movies. Panel discussions on themes such as portrayal of women and violence on screen are also in the offing.

The festival has been spread out to satellite venues such as India Habitat Centre and Jamia Milia Islamia, to ensure a wider audience.

The centenary celebrations will give movie lovers a chance to revisit old classics and discover the depth and variety Indian cinema offers.

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