The pandemic has surely changed the business of movies, it has evolved much more rapidly this year than at any other time. Film buffs are already getting used to the idea of watching their favourites films on digital platforms, not only that, they are also attending major festivals and events that are taking place all over the world remotely this year due to safety concerns.
Now, the latest event to go online is the Lonavala International Film Festival India (LIFFI) 2020 that kicked off on Friday, November 27 and will run until December 13. This year, the LIFFI pays tribute to the late Bollywood filmmaker N. N. Sippy and each day, Bollywood fans in the UAE can watch a Sippy classic online for free at 6pm India time (7.30pm UAE time).
Nine classic Hindi feature films and 4-5 multi-lingual short films will be screened during the event, that will take place in three segements. Fans can also take part in various discussions at the festival, from the confines of their home, for free.
Some of N. N. Sippy’s hits being screened at the event include Woh Kaun Thi, Gumnaam, Devata, Sargam, Fakira and Chor Machaaye Shor, among others. Papa Kehte Hai and the internationally acclaimed Mukti Bhawan (Salvation Hotel) will also be screened during the LIFFI.
Talking about the event, NN Sippy’s son, Pravesh, told Khaleej Times over the phone from Mumbai, that he’s proud to be part of the festival and present his father’s creations.
“My dad passed away in 2006 and I thought that it was time that we needed to showcase his creations. I’ve been taking care of his movie library and body of work and want to carry his legacy forward so I thought this would be a good time to do a tribute.”
Pravesh made his foray into the film industry with the Subash Ghai-directed Meri Jaan, he has also made movies like the award-winning Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation), The Square Circle, which made it to TIME magazine’s top 10 pick, Refuge and The Real Mc-Coy. He also produced the Bollywood musical Bollywood – A Love Story, directed by Bollywood choreographer Remo. Recollecting his earlier days in the industry, the filmmaker said, “I started my career working as an assistant with Subash Ghai. My dad would never interfere in my career or come on the sets of my films, except drop in a couple of times and join us for lunch on the sets even though he was so involved in the filmmaking process.”
A large number of Sippy’s films were restored and archived and are now maintained by the Film Heritage Foundation in India following the efforts of Pravesh.
“Many filmmakers did not know the value of their work in past. So, a lot of stuff from the bygone era has gone missing. I went through a lot of effort to restore and archive my dad’s movies and preserving it for the future. It was time consuming, expensive and there were several legal hurdles too. I had to deal with all of that, but finally, I did it,” explained the filmmaker.
Pravesh prefers to make meaningful films rather than create movies that have only commercial value. “I want to make movies that are meaningful for the audience, not just box-office, formulaic money spinners. I don’t chase such films. My last movie as an associate producer was Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation). It won 36 awards and was screened at all major international film festivals. The film had an astonishing 15-week run in Japan, which was a rare occurrence for a Hindi movie in that country. I also did the documentary My Home India, which was an official selection in the documentary category at the Oscars. Such films leave a huge impact on people and that’s what gives me tremendous satisfaction,” he said.
Pravesh admits that screening his father’s illustrious movies at the LIFFI is quite close to his heart. “I did it for my dad and his body of work. Moreover, we need to support such festivals. I have also given my movie Mukti Bhavan to be shown during the last segment of the festival. I’m also bringing in the film’s director, Shubhashish Bhutiani, as a special guest for interaction during the event,” he said.
Whether it is digital or analogue, there’s a lot the audience can gain from such an event. “I hope a lot of people everywhere will tune in and watch the festival. They will enjoy the event as it’s an online festival. They will also have access to whatever is happening on the ground, like live chats, discussion panels, question and answer sessions, workshops etc. So, that’s the takeaway for the audience,” he said.
The LIFFI) will be shown online on November 27-29, December 4-6 and December 11-13 Dec, starting (7.30pm UAE time) on the above mentioned dates. People in the UAE can watch the LIFFI by downloading the PLEXIGO app on www.onelink.to/Plexigo.