Express News Service

NEW DELHI: One of the highlights of this year’s International Film Festival of India (IFFI) starting November 20 will be the world premiere of seven recently restored Indian classics including Dev Anand’s Guide released in 1965 and a biopic in Bengali — Vidyapati (1937) — directed by Debaki Bose.

Restoration and digitisation of old films is the biggest programme initiated across the globe as nearly 6,000 films including documentaries are being preserved under the National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM), said Union minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur on Monday while briefing about the 54th edition of the festival to be held in Goa.

“India is not only the biggest film producer in the world; growth of OTT platforms is rapid in the country. Average growth of our entertainment and media industry is 20 percent per annum. It is becoming a million dollar industry and generating lakhs of employment opportunities. The country is turning into a hub of film shooting and post production; India is soon going to become a content hub of India,” added the minister.

The other restored films which are to be screened during the festival are Shyamchi Aai (Marathi/1953), Patala Bhairavi (Telugu/ 1951), Haqeeqat (Hindi/1964), Chorus (Bengali/1974) and Bees Saal Baad (Hindi/1962).

Also, three internationally restored films will be showcased including The Exorcist Extended Director’s cut (1973) and the 1965 melodrama Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. The government announced a budget of Rs 363 crores for the Mission in May 2022.

“The reels (of films) have not just been digitised but scratch marks and other damages have been restored… Nearly 2,500 films of various languages have been carefully restored so far,” said Prithul Kumar, director of the film festival.

As part of the Indian Panorama, 25 feature films and 20 non-feature films from India will be exhibited at IFFI. The opening film in the feature section is a Malayalam film ‘Aattam’ and in the non-feature section is ‘Andro Dreams’ from Manipur.

In the ‘international section’, there will be 198 films. The festival will see 13 world and 18 international premieres. Besides, 62 productions will make their Asian debut during the nine-day event and it also has 89 premieres of Indian films. “This year, IFFI received a record number of 2,926 entries from 105 countries, which is three times more international submissions than last year,” the minister said.

There will be facilities to ensure that specially-abled festival delegates can access all the screening and other venues, he added.

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