Gala screening at Turkish filmfest for Bollywood's 'Mission Istanbul'

Antalya (Turkey), Oct 8 (IANS) Action-packed Hindi thriller "Mission Istanbul" will be accorded a gala screening at the Fourth International Eurasia Film Festival opening Friday at this seaside resort in southern Turkey.

The festival, along with the 45th Golden Orange Film Festival and a film market, will run in this picturesque town till Oct 19. It has been organised by TURSAK, the Turkish Foundation of Cinema and Audiovisual Culture.

"Mission Istanbul", one of 11 films that will have gala screenings, is the only one from Asia in this section. The others are from the US, Britain and the rest of Europe. The 61st Cannes Film Festival's "Best Film" Golden Palm winner Laurent Cantet's "The Class"; Woody Allen's much awaited "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"; Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York'" and Guy Ritchie's "Rock'n Rolla" are among the other gala screenings.

Most films on terrorism appear to get based on Osama bin Laden look-alikes and "Mission Istanbul" is no exception. If one overlooks the fact that two men, aided partly by a woman, can eliminate an entire terrorist organization (after all, James Bond could do it all alone), the film makes up for it with fast- paced action (editor Rajesh Singh) and some good acting by Vivek Oberoi, Zayed Khan (who finally shows maturity), Nikitin Dheer, and Shabir Ahluwalia.

There is even a spoof with a George Bush look-alike. Amar Mohile's background score is very apt, but otherwise there is no scope for songs that are forced in this film through a wasted guest appearance by Abhishek Bachchan. Gururaj R.J.'s cinematography is top class.

Directed by Apoorva Lakhia, "Mission Istanbul" released in August and also stars Shriya Saran, apart from introducing Shweta Bharadwaj and featuring Suneil Shetty and Abhishek Bachchan in guest roles.

The fast-paced film is about an Indian journalist who realises that the Istanbul-based news channel he has been employed by is actually the nerve-centre of a terrorist group operating in Afghanistan and India. He then gets help from a mysterious former Turkish commando and a woman to destroy the terrorist organisation.

Around 60 films will have their world or Turkish premieres at the festival. The event will open with Italian-based Turkish filmmaker Ferzan Özpetek's well-received "Un Giorno Perfetto" that had premiered at the 65th Venice Film Festival and has been adapted from Melania Gaia Mazzucco's novel. Özpetek, the cast of the film and producer Domenico Procacci will be present.

The Grand Jury that will vote for the Best Film and the Best Director in the main competition is headed by virtuoso filmmaker Paul Verhoeven. Other names revealed so far include celebrated actress Joan Chen (also starring in Zhang-Ke's participating film "24 City"; Toronto International Film Festival's co-director and programmer Cameron Bailey, Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majidi and Turkish director Berkun Oya.

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