Ghaath, Paka win Prasad Lab DI and Moviebuff Appreciation Awards at NFDC’s Work-In-Progress Lab

Dr Bobby Sharma Baruah's Sikaisal and Haobam Paban Kumar's Manipuri film Nine Hills One Valley won special mentions at the virtual event.

Our Correspondent

The Marathi film Ghaath and Malayalam film Paka – River Of Blood have been awarded the Prasad Lab DI and Moviebuff Appreciation Awards at National Film Development Corporation of India's (NFDC) Work-In-Progress Lab 2020. The film market, organized by the NFDC, was held online from 16 to 21 January.

Dr Bobby Sharma Baruah's Assamese film Sikaisal won a special mention at the virtual event, a sideline of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The Konkani film Aiz Maka Falea Tuka, which was part of the Film Bazaar Recommends section, also bagged the Prasad Lab DI and Moviebuff Appreciation Awards.

The Marathi debut of writer-director Chhatrapal Ninawe, co-produced by Drishyam Films, is the story of an undercover Maoist on the trail of a police officer involved in the death of the leader. The mentors stated the reason why the film gained attention. "The cat and mouse game doesn't take sides but expresses the violence of both and the endemic political corruption that's involved in the long-lasting struggle. This film has won the Prasad Lab DI Award and Moviebuff Appreciation Award for its study of a political and cultural situation in terms of individuals deeply affected by desperate times."

Paka was singled out for the "intimate way it portrays a family feud as a product of tradition". The lab mentors added, "This entertaining genre drama is a stylish walk with love and death, taking two absolutes — romantic devotion and family honour — and arranging their collision. It raises questions like 'What is fate in this small town?' A lot of revenge films have been made in most regional Indian cinemas, but Paka offers a subtle ingenuity within this genre."

The lab mentors hailed Aiz Maka Falea Tuka's "complex layering and blending of past and present, night and day, dream and reality, nature and civilisation through its original treatment of screen space". They felt the feature created an otherworldly atmosphere while retaining its own originality.

Haobam Paban Kumar's Manipuri film Nine Hills One Valley and Abhinandan Banerjee's Bengali film Manikbabur Megh (The Cloud & The Man) also received special mentions by the Film Bazaar Recommends jury.

The mentors for this year's lab were veteran film critic Derek Malcolm, producers Philippa Campbell and Olivia Stewart, editor Lizi Gelber, Marco Muller, artistic director of the Pingyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon International Film Festival, and film curator and programmer Marie-Pierre Duhamel.

Bollywood today is technically superb, but its films are mostly drivel, rues veteran critic Derek Malcolm

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IFFI Indian independent cinema