The guards were dressed in rich red and traditional Maharashtrian soldier hats blowing the long curved tutari with gusto as guests arrived amidst hundreds of twinkling lights on the road decorated with flowers and rangoli. The guests and spectators who had gathered on Friday evening to attend the first day of the Students Film Festival of India and National Students Film Awards could hardly believe they were entering the usually sleepy Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) campus in Pune.
As part of the festival marking the centenary of the Indian Cinema,the FTII and Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI),Kolkata,are all set to screen over a hundred films made by students.
The inauguration ceremony,held at the legendary Prabhat Studio at the FTII campus,kicked off with the screening of Prabhat Nagari Film 1. The film highlighted the journey and legacy of one of the oldest studios in the country,bringing back memories and nostalgia. The function, hosted by ex-students of FTII Neha Trivedi and Raj Kumar Yadav,was taken forward with the screening of a film on Dadasaheb Phalke including excerpts from Raja Harishchandra (1913),the first movie made in India.
Speaking on the occasion,director of FTII DJ Narain said,The main objective of the event is to nurture and encourage excellence among students,to provide a platform and give them a chance to learn from masters.
He added that as this was just the foundation year,only 15 institutions could take part in the event.
Noted cinematographer and director Shaji Karun clapped the clapboard to declare open the festival. Looking back at his years in FTII,Karun said Prabhat Theatre was the place where he took his first shot.
I joined the institute in 1971 for a diploma in cinematography. I took my first shot in this very studio and also received my diploma certificate here. I remember that Satyajit Ray had liked my film, he said.
Karun added,When I was invited to be a part of the ceremony,I was working on a film. This opportunity will give me strength before I resume my work again.
The event also saw the unveiling of the trophy. The founder of National Film Archive of India (NFAI) PK Nair was also felicitated. The ceremony concluded with the screening of the film The Swing of the Coffin Maker directed by German student Elmar Imanov.
Sanjaya Pattanayak,director of SRFTI,Saeed Akhtar Mirza,chairman of FTII,Malay Bhattacharya,chairman of the selection committee,and actor Sushila Rani Patel were among the prominent personalities present.
The event is being organised by the FTII,Pune,SRFTI,Kolkata and the Directorate of Film Festivals under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.