A retrospective on screen icon Amitabh Bachchan, Anurag Kashyap’s detective drama “Kennedy”, and “Joram” starring Manoj Bajpayee are some of the Indian films that are heading to the 70th Sydney Film Festival. In total the festival, which will be held in Sydney from June 7 to June 18, will play 90 narrative features and 54 documentaries. Rima Das’ “Tora’s Husband”, Aamir Bashir’s “The Winter Within”, and acclaimed documentaries “While We Watched” and “Against The Tide” also represent the Indian contingent at the gala.
The retrospective on Bachchan, called “Amitabh Bachchan: Back To The Beginning”, includes four classic movies — “Deewaar” (1975), “Amar Akbar Anthony” (1977), “Don” (1978) and “Kaala Patthar” (1979). The films have been curated and restored by the Film Heritage Foundation.
Film-maker Devashish Makhija’s “Joram”, a survival thriller about a labourer in Mumbai on the run with his infant daughter, is part of the festival’s competition line-up. The movie also features actors Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub and Megha Mathur in pivotal roles. Kashyap’s noirish thriller “Kennedy” will be screened as part of the Special Presentations section, which also includes Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City”, “Biosphere”, starring Sterling K Brown and Mark Duplass, and Penelope Cruz’s ‘L’immensita”.
The movie, which will also be screened at the Cannes Film Festival under the Midnight Screenings section, follows an assassin working for a corrupt police force with scores to settle. “Tora’s Husband”, directed by Das, and Bashir’s “The Winter Within” are part of Features segment, a programme which aims to discover captivating stories from great cinematic storytellers. Described as a “beautifully detailed and complex” movie, “Tora’s Husband” follows the life of a young family in Assam, straining under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It had its premiere at the 2022 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
“The Winter Within” won the KB New Currents Audience Award at the Busan International Film Festival last year. Set in Bashir’s native Kashmir, the story follows a domestic helper, named Nargis, who looks everywhere to find out whether her husband Manzoor, who was arrested after joining the armed rebellion, is dead or alive. The festival’s International Documentary line-up includes “While We Watched” from Vinay Shukla and Sundance winner “Against The Tide”.
“While We Watched”, which won the Amplify Voices Award at TIFF 2022, is described as a turbulent newsroom drama that intimately chronicles the working days of broadcast journalist Ravish Kumar as he navigates a spiralling world of truth and disinformation. “Against The Tide”, directed by Sarvnik Kaur, follows two fishermen from Mumbai’s indigenous Koli community as they confront the impact of the changing environment and the toll on their friendship. The documentary had bagged the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.