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‘Meenalap’ and ‘Komola Rocket’ entice judges at NIFF

  • Published at 02:33 pm February 28th, 2019
NIFF
Ishtiaque Zico from Bangladesh, the lead actor of 'A Land Imagined', receives the award for 'Meenalaap' from the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal | Courtesy

The jury board of NIFF included industry heavyweights, film critics and academics such as actor/director Nir Shah, Vice President of Federation of Film Societies India, Premendra Mazumder, Cannes Film Festival programmer Anne Delseth, writer/director/producer NabinSubha, and Professor Liang Qiao of Beijing Film Academy

The second Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) concluded on Monday with an award giving ceremony. Of the eight awards, two went to films by young Bangladeshi directors.

SubarnaSenjuteeTushee’s “Meenalap” won the Mt. Everest Award for the Best International Short Film and Noor Imran Mithu’s “Komola Rocket” won the Special Jury Award. 

The jury board of NIFF included industry heavyweights, film critics and academics such as actor/director Nir Shah, Vice President of Federation of Film Societies India, Premendra Mazumder, Cannes Film Festival programmer Anne Delseth, writer/director/producer NabinSubha, and Professor Liang Qiao of Beijing Film Academy.

The Grand Prix of the festival known as the Gautam Buddha Award for the Best International Feature Film went to “A Land Imagined” (Singapore) by Yeo Siew Hua. Bangladeshi actor Ishtiaque Zico starred in this film about migrant construction workers in Singapore.

“This South Asian acknowledgement is a great feeling. And I was proud to represent this geopolitically sensitive cinema at the NIFF,” actor Zico told Showtime. “‘A Land Imagined’ shows a non-glamorous Singapore. It explores the sacrifices of migrant workers behind the country's land reclamation project. Ajit, one of the lead characters which I portrayed, is a Bangladeshi worker living in Singapore. He carries a mixed bag of identities in this multi-layered plot.”

About acting in a foreign film, Zico said: “For the sake of social realism, I had to adopt the broken English with Singlish accent. Apart from acting, I got the opportunity to shoot behind-the-scenes video in production phase.”

The rest of the awards at NIFF went to five Nepali films. Jury board member and festival adviser, Premendra Mazumder, shared his thoughts on the two winning Bangladeshi films with the Dhaka Tribune.

"Entire Jury was highly impressed with both the films ‘Meenalaap’ and ‘Kamola Rocket’,” he said.“Especially for its intense cinematic language and poetic depiction of the mundane life of a couple through extraordinary visuals,‘Meenalaap’ touched each and every member of the jury, right from Cannes programmer to Beijing Film Academy professor, veteran filmmaker of Nepal, to a film critic of India.”

“‘Komola Rocket’ also impressed them all for its socio-political statement through a simple narrative,” he continued.“Personally, I feel that the new generation Bangladeshi filmmakers are really talented and presenting admirable works in recent past one after another like Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossein, JalerGalpo by Abu Shahed Emon, Statement after My Poet Husband's Death by Tasmiah Afrin Mou et al.”

The story of “Meenalap” revolves around a couple who migrated from a remote village of West Bengal to Pune city, working in a garments factory and struggling to make ends meet while expecting a child. 

“I’m very happy (to receive this award). It lifted up my deflated spirit,” said director Tushee in a candid fashion.  She wished to channel this encouragement into all her future works. 

“Not all works of art speak for the artist. ‘Meenalap’ spoke for us. So, we are rising up and attempting to comprehend which is the path for us to stride forward.”

“Meenalap” previously won the prestigious Grand Prix award at Eurasia International Film Festival 2018, Critics Award at the Didor International Film Festival, Tazikstan, Best Film at 6th Siliguri International Short and Documentary Film Festival and Best Short Film at Third Eye Film Festival, Mumbai.

“Komola Rocket” too had its fair share of awards. After winning Best Debut Film at the 4th Jaffna International Cinema Festival (Sri Lanka), Jury Prize at the Festival du Film d'Asie du Sud (France), and the Hiralal Sen Padak at the Amar Bhashar Cholochitra (Bangladesh), the orange ship has now conquered Nepal.

Director Mithu said winning this award was a great experience for him. He added that he is leaving for Egypt today where “Komola Rocket” will be screened at the 3rd Sharm El Sheikh Asian Film Festival in Egypt. 

Nepal International Film Festival 2019 showcased 60 films between February 21-25. 


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