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Habitat festival lines up some exciting fare for Delhi's movie lovers

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With the annual Habitat Film Festival set to begin in New Delhi, we bring you a selection of feature films that are not to be missed.

Our Correspondent

The 14th edition of the 10-day Habitat Film Festival 2019 begins in the national capital tomorrow. A spectacular platform for Indian cinema, this edition will open with Ashvin Kumar’s much talked about film No Fathers In Kashmir (2019) while Devashish Makhija’s Bhonsle will mark its culmination on Sunday 26 May.

The latest edition of the festival brings a pan-India selection from the current year and the year gone by, with the usual insightful post-screening interactions with members of the cast and crew.

Here are some of the not-to-be-missed films from the festival this year.

No Fathers In Kashmir. Dir: Ashvin Kumar. English
17 May, 6 pm

Noor, a British Kashmiri teenager, arrives in the Kashmir valley to retrace her roots and find her long-lost father. She is aided in this search by a local boy
named Majid, who is smitten by her. However, things take a turn for the worse after the two stumble upon a dark secret that puts Majid's life in danger. Can love ever be the same again for these youngsters?

No Fathers In Kashmir review: Stark reality of the valley through the eyes of two teenagers

Unmayidiyude Maranam / Death Of An Insane. Dir: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. Malayalam
17 May, 8:30 pm

Unmadi’s dreams cause disturbances in society as his fellow citizens also start watching his dreams. The authorities insist he censor his dreams before he starts seeing them. When he refuses to do so, they ban him from dreaming. But people start watching his dreams illegally and spreading them.

Bulbul Can Sing. Dir: Rima Das. Assamese
18 May, 11 am

In the atmospheric light of dusk and dawn, Rima Das portrays the lives of three friends on the threshold of adulthood. Poetic sensuality contrasts with authentic scenes of everyday life in their village in Assam, where carefree youth comes face to face with merciless reality.

The story‘s protagonist is Bulbul, whose voice fails her when she has to sing in front of people. Fear of failure and self-doubt also plague the fragile Bonny and Suman, who does not fulfil the traditional male image. The experience of first love puts the three teenagers under pressure of high expectations and strict moral codes. The relationship between love and suffering demands a lot of strength. Bulbul the nightingale begins to sing.

Bulbul Can Sing review: Beautifully told coming-of-age story from Assam

Bhor. Dir: Kamakhya Narayan Singh. Hindi
19 May, 6:30 pm

Budhni, a girl from Bihar's extremely poor and backward Musahar community, dreams of pursuing her education. But this is no simple feat, as girls her age face familial and societal pressure to get married. Stranded between her desire to study and the pressure to get married, Budhni silently begins to accept defeat. But Sugan’s proposal brings hope, as he promises to support her decision to study further. But after the marriage she comes face-to-face with her next challenge — the absence of a toilet! Now she has to fight not just for education, but also for sanitation.

Bhor review: Authentic and immersive story of an untouchable girl

Hamid. Dir: Aijaz Khan. Hindi & Urdu
20 May, 6 pm

Eight-year-old Hamid learns that 786 is god’s number and decides to try and reach out to god by dialling this number. He wants to talk to his father, who his
mother tells him has gone to Allah. One fine day, the phone call is answered, and two lives shattered in the strife of Kashmir find a way to be complete again.

Hamid review: Crisis of Kashmir is explored realistically through a child's eyes

Namdev Bhau: In Search Of Silence. Dir: Dar Gai. Hindi & Marathi
23 May, 8:30 pm

A 65-year-old cabbie, who has tired of the noise in the obstreperous Mumbai city life and stopped speaking, decides to leave everything in search for the ‘Silent Valley’, which boasts of a naturally occurring phenomenon having almost zero decibel sound level. On his journey he chances upon an exasperating 12-year old boy who happens to be on his own solo expedition to the mystical ‘Red Castle’.

Namdev Bhau: In Search Of Silence review – An interesting take on the noise in the city

Yours Truly. Dir: Sanjoy Nag. Hindi
23 May, 4:45 pm

Amidst the daily din of the local trains in Calcutta, a lonely working woman in her late fifties finds herself falling in love with the voice of the railway
announcer. Yours Truly is a story about seeking connection and discovering how love can strike at any age, and in the most unexpected of places. It is an official adaptation of one of the stories from the book Love Stories #1 to 14 authored by Annie Zaidi.

Yours Truly review: Sanjoy Nag’s film a poignant exploration of loneliness, love and desire

Dithee. Dir: Sumitra Bhave. Marathi
24 May, 11 am

Ramji is a humble ironsmith who follows the age-old Waarkari tradition prevalent in Maharashtra, where millions of pilgrims walk for a couple of weeks
from the holy town of Alandi to Pandharpur, abode of the deity Vitthal. His world comes crashing down when his only son drowns in a flooded river. Ramji is not only sad, but also angry with god, to whom he has been devoted for decades.

He and his friends are trying to make sense of the tragedy. By helping a troubled cow deliver a calf, destiny offers Ramji a chance to attain the ultimate realization, that birth and death are no different from each other. Thus unfolds a tale of death and life, of grief and ecstasy, where seeming opposites just collapse and dissolve into the oneness of being.

Nagarkirtan. Dir: Kaushik Ganguly. Bengali
26 May, 4:45 pm

Parimal is born a boy, but there has always been another identity hidden within his male appearance. The only way out for him is to escape from his parents, his family, and his neighbourhood in search of a world that did not seem so unidentifiable. In his quest, Parimal reaches a new city, Kolkata, where he is welcomed by a transgender shelter. And Parimal soon becomes Punti. There, he meets Madhu and falls in love with him. As Madhu discovers more about Punti’s physicality, he wonders how he could feel attracted to a woman with a male body. Are these things even possible? Will their love survive the guillotine of societal barriers?

Nagarkirtan review: Sensitive film delivers a compact, yet emotional experience

Bhonsle. Dir: Devashish Makhija. Marathi & Hindi
26 May, 7 pm

Bhonsle, an ageing Marathi sub-inspector, has just been retired against his will. He desperately wanted an extension of service. But he is dying. Bhonsle is
that rare breed of lawman who has more regard for the human condition than for the rule book. This turns out to be both his biggest strength and the thing that does him in.

A solitary figure all his life, Bhonsle now suddenly finds himself forging an unlikely companionship with young Sita and little Lalu, his new Bihari migrant neighbours in the mostly Maharashtrian chawl he lives in. Harassed for being ‘outsiders’ by boorish local political goon Vilasrao, they turn to Bhonsle.

Bhonsle review: Realistic tale of retired constable caught in Marathi versus Bihari battle

Related topics

Habitat Film Festival