World premieres, screenings and celebrity discussions coupled with a healthy dose of entertainment - the 12th Osian's Cinefan Film Festival, which came to a glitzy end Sunday, was a perfect treat for movie buffs looking to learn about Indian and world cinema.
Thronged by as many as 48,000 film buffs, including college-goers, aspiring filmmakers, film critics and general movie buffs with a keen eye for quality international cinema, 176 films from around 38 countries were screened during the festival.
"I felt Delhi really lacked such a lavish film festival. It was my first time here, and I really had a bouquet of choices to my delight. The schedules were adhered to, and there were so movies from so many countries," film student Ritika Bhasin told IANS.
Neha Mathur, another world cinema aficionado, also had an "enriching" experience at the festival.
"It was a very enriching experience, especially the exhibition of various movie posters which are not available anywhere else. I saw Chinese movie, which had a very different story and was very interesting. The turnout of people at the event was amazing," she said.
Delighted over the success of the festival, Osian's chairman Neville Tuli said: "It takes a lot of energy to do all this".
"The more love and passion one puts in, the better the results. A great film festival is suppose to merge, integrate and bring so many forces together and in these 10 days we saw cinema, art, music, panel discussions under one roof," he added.
While Japanese film "Asura" by Keiichi Sato opened the festival July 27, Bengali film "Chitrangada" by Rituparno Ghosh brought the curtains down.
A major highlight of the festival were five films - "Salo", "Baise-Moi", "Emperor Tomato Ketchup", Devika Rani-Himanshu Rai starrer "Karma" and Jafar Panahi's "This is Not a Film" - that were banned in their respective countries. And their screenings were to packed houses with people across varied age groups, from a college students to those as old as 60 or above, coming to see the films.
However, it was Anurag Kashyap's "Gangs of Wasseypur" Part 1 and Part 2 that stole the show. The tickets for both parts, screened back to back during the festival, were completely sold out.
Kashyap took to Twitter to praise Tuli for his efforts and even called him a "rockstar".
"Neville Tuli is the real rockstar.. The way they are meant to be. Total love ...," Kashyap tweeted.
Turkish films sweeped the awards with four trophies: "Inside" won the best film award in the Asian and Arab competition category, "Silent" by L. Rezan Yesilbas was declared the best film in the short films category, while Olgu Baran Kubilay's "The Bus" got a special mention award in the same category. "Beyond the Hill" by Elmin Alper won the award in the first feature category.
The festival saw the presence of Bollywood celebrities like Kiran Rao, Irrfan Khan, Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin, Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Shekhar Kapur, Imtiaz Ali and Prasoon Joshi who talked about various aspects of filmmaking as well as preserving the history of Indian cinema.
Several aspiring filmmakers and film students were among the enthusiatic audiences who exchanged their views with the panelists.
A new component this year was the introduction of musical performances by renowned artists like Karsh Kale, Aman and Ayaan Ali Bangash among others.
Another highlight of the festival was the first Osian's-Cinefan Film Festival Auction of Indian Cinema Memorabilia. It turned out to be a grand success with sales of Rs 69.55 lakh. The auction offered vintage and rare posters, show-cards, stills, song-synopsis booklets among other artefacts.
A parallel discussion on "Is Delhi India's Next Film City" put spotlight on creating film infrastructure in Delhi.
(Priyanka Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org