15th Habitat Film Festival Set To Bring The Best of Pan-Indian Cinema To The Capital

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

A still from the documentary film 'Urf'

This summer, experience films that have made a mark, been recognised, and celebrated for the multiple and complex skills that comprise the art of filmmaking as the Habitat Film Festival 2023 offers you a selection of the finest of Indian Cinema from May 5th to 14th at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The Pan-Indian platter includes about 60 features, documentaries, and short films in 17 languages, showcasing the best of contemporary Indian cinema. Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Assamese, Maithili, Odia, Hindi, English, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Ladakhi, Meiteilon and, for the first time, Kumaoni.

Premiers at HFF: For the first time, some films will have their national and Delhi premieres at the festival. The national premiers include the Malayalam film Meghdoot/The Cloud Messenger, a contemporary narrative of reincarnation about two lovers meeting in the present day after centuries of longing, directed by Rahat Mahajan, and two Bengali films: Sujit Kumar Pyne’s Meghbari, a story about two lovebirds and their journey of love, marriage, and divorce set against the backdrop of a mountain resort they hoped to call home someday, and Aritra Sen's Ghore Pherar Gaan/The Homecoming Song, about Tora and her complicated relationship within her married life, a new relationship, and what she chooses.


Delhi premiers include Tora's Husband, an Assamese film by award-winning filmmaker Rima Das, a reflection on life, love, and grief in uncertain times; Gautham Ramachandran's Tamil film Gargi, which tells the story of a young school teacher's journey to prove her father's innocence with the help of a juvenile advocate who has never even seen the interiors of a court hall; and Arivu Mattu Guruvu/The Word and The Teacher, a multilingual film by Prashant Pandit, that revisits an age that pioneered the transmission of information at the birth of modernity, from today's post-truth world.

Mrinal Sen Retrospective: This year marks the birth centenary of one of our legendary filmmakers, Mrinal Sen, the pioneer of the New Cinema Movement in India. HFF will screen a small retrospective of some of his seminal films, including KhandharEk Din Pratidin, and Ek Din Achanak for cine lovers.

Mr Sunit Tandon, Director, India Habitat Centre says, “Indian cinema is clearly going places nowadays and the Habitat Film Festival provides an unmatched platform to sample and assess its most recent manifestations. Features, shorts, documentaries and celebrations of the Mrinal Sen centenary, as well as of the life and work of some outstanding film personalities we have tragically lost recently – there is something for each film enthusiast in this year’s lovingly curated Festival.”

Memoriam Screenings: As part of the festival, we will hold memorial screenings of some well-loved directors and actors we lost in the last few months – director Pradeep Sarkar, actor Satish Kaushik and, most recently, theatre and film actor Uttara Baokar.

Festival Favourites: Don't miss the award-winning stories on generational differences, revolt, and acceptance. Stories ranging from the lovely innocence of small-town dreams to the investigation of moral choices thrust upon regular people, from the strength and tenacity of victims of sexual assault in seeking justice, to spine-chilling thrillers and dark comedies with Machiavellian twists and turns. The Malayalam film Family (2022), Punjabi film Jaggi (2022), Odia film Adieu Godard, the First Ever Bollywood Style Uttarakhandi (Kumaoni language) Feature Film - Maati Pehchaan (2022), the Malayalam film Ariyippu (Declaration) and the Indian entry for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscar, Pan Nalin’s Gujarati film Chhelo Show/ The Last Film Show.

Award-winning Documentaries: This year's documentary segment is headlined by All That Breathes, Shaunak Sen's "complex, thoughtful, quietly beautiful film about the ecosystem and human community." On the opening day, the filmmaker will be present for an interaction at the screening. Geetika Narang Abbasi's Urf delves into the lives of three Bollywood celebrity lookalikes. Colours of Life, a Ladakhi documentary in which Praveen Morchhale revisits Himalayan mountain villages after 5 years and meets and studies locals' lives, philosophies, and thoughts. The Show Must Go On, a documentary by Divya and Jall Cowasji, follows the return of Parsi Theatre's old icons to the stage, putting their walking sticks aside for one final curtain call. Utpal Borpujari’s Mask Art of Majuli focuses on the only two families that are keeping the traditional mask making practice alive in Majuli.

Ms Vidyun Singh, Creative Head Programmes says, "It is a wonderful feeling to be back with the 15th Habitat Film Festival the way it has always been. A 10-day celebration of the Best of Pan-Indian cinema. Indian cinema has surely but steadily established its rightful space in world cinema and acclaim and awards are now becoming the norm rather than an exception.”


She further adds, “We bring you an exciting line-up of films that have returned triumphant from the International Festival circuit and others that are poised to go there. The highlight of the Festival has always been the enthusiastic and supportive presence of the Directors and Producers who attend and add the unique opportunity of post-screening discussion and interactions."

The festival from its year of inception has evolved into an indispensable annual experience in the cultural calendar of Delhi.

Login at www.habitatworld.com for registration and more details.

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