In February this year, an award-winning film on gender politics set around the Partition released in India. Titled Qissa, the film by Anup Singh received rave reviews but was screened only at view theatres. On Saturday evening, the two-hour-long film had a second coming of sorts as The Indian Express Film Club made a debut with the film at Gulmohar Hall at India Habitat Centre, Delhi.
Before the screening began, The Indian Express film critic, Shubhra Gupta gave a brief about Qissa, the director and the film club, to the audience. A riveting 30-minute-long discussion on the film ensued between the audience and Gupta. “This is my fourth viewing of the film and every time I have new questions. It makes you question,” said Gupta.
The Indian Express Film Club will be a monthly affair in Delhi, and Gupta aims at curating a mix of Indian and international film projects. “Qissa makes me very happy about the magic of cinema. The plan is to screen films that come with no fanfare, to choose the unsung gem, films that deserve more visibility,” she said. Soon, the film club will also move to Mumbai and other cities.
The discussion led to the talk about a man’s obsession with raising a son — one that leads him to raise his fourth daughter as a boy called Kanwar. The story gets complex when Kanwar is married off to Neeli. Irrfan, Tilottama Shome and Tisca Chopra play pivotal roles. “We are judging a man very harshly here, while in fact the film is a commentary on society as a whole,” said Sangeeta Verma, a government official.
Also in the audience was 23-year-old student, Deepshika, who said she was happy with the choice of film. “It was interesting and intense,” she said.
The invite-only event is for The Indian Express readers, and is free of charge. “The aim is to bring together good cinema and people who love it,” said Gupta. The next film screening as part of the club in Delhi is slated for the end of May.
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