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Gitanjali Rao's Bombay Rose opens to overwhelming response at Venice

Gitanjali Rao's debut feature is the first Indian animation film to open the Critics' Week at the premier Italian festival.

Gitanjali Rao (centre) and Rohit Khattar (extreme right) with members of the team

Our Correspondent

Filmmaker and animator Gitanjali Rao's Bombay Rose opened the Critics' Week at the Venice International Film Festival yesterday, becoming the first Indian animation film to do so. The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Italian festival and opened to rave reviews.

Hollywood trade magazine Variety said in its review that Rao's 'exquisitely realized debut feature offers folk-influenced visual splendour' and added that 'its opulent palette may be its very richest asset'. Screen International described Bombay Rose as 'a stunningly realized work of animated filmmaking' while Film Companion's Baradwaj Rangan said in his review that the film 'elevates what could have been a prosaic romance into the realm of dreamverse' and that the film is a lovely ode to the city, its rains, its films and its cats.

In a statement, Rohit Khattar, chairman of Cinestaan Film Company, which co-produced the film, said, "We are so proud that Bombay Rose has had its world premiere at such a prestigious festival. We are delighted with the response and I congratulate Gitanjali, my team, and everyone else who have helped in creating this beautiful film."

Gitanjali Rao

Filmmaker Rao, who was also on hand to present the film, stated, "The response to Bombay Rose has been overwhelming. I have worked hard to evidence the skill of Indian animators and storytellers and Venice’s response has proved that the hard work has paid off. I am delighted that Bombay Rose is discovering such an enthusiastic audience after six years in the making."

After Venice, Bombay Rose will have its North American premiere in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on 7 September. The film has also been selected for screening at the BFI London Film Festival as part of its Special Presentations this October.

The animated feature, written, designed and directed by Rao, tells the story of migrants, Kamala and Salim, and their love story, along with other characters who inhabit the city of Mumbai. The film has been painted frame by frame, and delivered by Paperboat Animation Studios.

Bombay Rose has been produced by Anand Mahindra and Rohit Khattar and is in co-production with Film d’Ici.

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Venice International Film Festival