BEHIND THE FILM
Gone are the distressing days of recession horror stories. Or are they? Like Venezuela's Sequestro Express, only not as exaggeratedly violent, Subhash Kapoor's comedic With Love to Obama shows the daily reality of India's kidnapping industry post global recession. Enter the underground: where perpetually inept gangsters ponder how they, too, can overcome the inevitability of the U.S. recession's domino effect. This is the story, more or less, of Kapoor's satire: a story about an Indian-American who loses everything in the U.S. only to return to India for greater troubles – kidnapping, ransoms, escapes, that sort of thing. Kapoor says he got the idea for the film after his journalist friend mentioned a piece he had written on kidnappers who were receiving less ransom after the demise of the Indian economy. Packed with a female don and embarrassing moments of inept politicians and gangsters, With Love to Obama is a political comedy that bites with a sad truth. World Premiere.
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Mumblecore (pronunciation: [Mum"ble-k[=o]r]) is a generalized term for filmmakers who use little resources, and an ultra-low budget, to make a film. Some of the characteristics that may or may not occur in a mumblecore film: distorted sound, grainy pictures from a hand-held digital camera, and mumbling, or something like mumbling.
Srinivas Sunderrajan, 26, armed with a Sony HDV Z1 and a meager budget of $1,000 USD, battled India's bureaucracy of permissions and permits to make The Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project, a film, well, about a film. Shot in black-and-white, it follows the retrospective story of two young men who take us along their journey of making a film. For one, it is the story of transitory love, or infatuation, and for the other, it is the story of telling a story. As Sunderrajan told SAIFF in a conversation: “I'm of the opinion that everyone (creative or not) is a story-teller.” North American Premiere.
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Just one year after Bishh, the story of three women who prostitute themselves for a night to see who can earn the most money, Kolkata filmmaker Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee) returns with another relentless film that is a wholesale revaluation of conventional Indian values. Gandu, India's first film with full-frontal sex scenes, confronts the cruelty of daily life in Kolkata – particularly the despair and failure of one character who creates an imaginative persona for himself as a hyper-sexual rap star. The film's painterly visuals in black-and-white complement the carnivalesque soundtrack and lyricism that will leave the audience in a place where nonconformity is taken to new extremes. SAIFF talked to Q while he was wrapping up edits in his Kolkata studio about the zany, anarchic journey of Gandu and how it all began. World Premiere.
Anurag Kashyap has been declared by some to be the pioneer of the Hindi New Wave. To list all his filmmaking credits would be tedious and unnecessary, but what he is perhaps best known for internationally is Dev. D: a remake of the Bengali classic tale, Devdas, and Black Friday, a film about the 1993 Bombay bombings. It was after watching Black Friday that Danny Boyle hired Kashyap as a consultant on Slumdog Millionaire. Kashyap's latest, That Girl in Yellow Boots, is a thriller about a young woman who subjects herself to a humiliating stay in India in an effort to reunite with an abandoned father. For Kashyap and moviegoeres alike, it is a film that will surely appease those looking for a break from Bollywood's all too familiar dance routines and singing. US Premiere.
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