Saturday, 8 January 2011

The 9th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF): Snatches, briefs

Esquare, Ganeshkhind Road

The Pune International Film Festival  is back, the 9th edition been held in a season we can assuredly call winter this year. The movies are been screened across five multiplexes across the city, and today I am at Esquare. There are no queues outside the screens this time, no checking of the passes hung around our necks, anyone can just walk in during the screening time of the movie, or much before the screening. As a result, it is to some mild irritation - to having the best seats taken, that I enter a theatre for the afternoon show.

For the 6 pm screening, take corrective steps, arrive half-an-hour earlier, some 20-odd people are already there, the air-conditioning has certainly not been switched on, and there is a lot of chatter. There are no lone women, but many lone men. Many college students sit with half-turned bodies, cell phone to the ear, waving arms in the dark, beckoning their friends - the friends groping in the dark, stepping on a foot or two, as they gingerly make for the seats. The loners are a restless lot. Most pluck out their cell phones as glowing distractions, some stomp their feet from time to time, shake their legs.
An old man seated beside me, places a restless hand inside a black plastic packet. There is a constant rustle as he picks out an orange and devours the contents stealthily, self-consciously, wary of some crime. He then places a sealed water bottle on the bottle-holder and from the top of the bottle, allows the plastic packet to dangle in an awkward inventive arrangement. Finally satisfied, he folds his left leg over the right, the foot bare and hirsute. I switch to a chair beside me. In the semi-darkness a guy with a mike stumbles through the reading of the synopsis of the movie from the catalogue, but finishes impressively. Nerves. He holds up a hand and the ray of the projector hits the screen, all in one instant motion.

Subsequent posts shall have reviews of the movies watched at the festival and other tit bits on the location, films, arrangements, how is it to watch four movies a day, etc, etc, etc.               

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