What's New - Festival Highs

Stuttgart announces its top five after an impassioned week of cinematic brilliance

by Gehna Kapany


The 16th Indian Film Festival of Stuttgart concluded on July 21 with Safdar Rahman’s debut feature film, ‘Chippa’, winning the German Star of India

The Festival opened on Wednesday, July 17, at Metropol Cinema (Bolzstrasse) with the surreal 'Namdev Bhau - In Search of Silence', directed by India-based Ukranian Dar Gai and produced by Dheer Momaya. The film is on an infuriated chauffeur who decides to flee Mumbai’s cacophony in search for the “Silent Valley", and has been consistently applauded for the protagonist’s exemplary portrayal. 65-year-old Namdev Gurav, a real-life chauffeur turned actor, plays the eponymous titular role, and was present at the film’s screenings at Stuttgart. What’s more, Namdev has recently been nominated for Best Actor alongside stellar names like Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpayee at next month’s Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.

‘Chippa’ by Safdar Rahman bagged the German Star of India for the Best Feature Film. The jury was impressed with the coming of age story which was awarded a prize money of €4000, donated by Honorary Consul Andreas Lapp. They further commented, “‘Chippa’ is a touching, humorous, and creative film about dreams and finding oneself. The film is highly entertaining with modern movie elements, great venues, an exceptional cast and a spirited screenplay by Rahman”.

A still from 'Nooreh'


Showcasing the challenges of a young girl defending herself amidst the turmoil at the India-Pakistan border, ‘Nooreh’, directed by Ashish Pandey, won the German Star of India for Best Short Film. ‘Counterfeit Kunkoo’ by Reema Sengupta was awarded an honourable mention by the jury in the same category.

Under the Documentary section, Archana Phadke’s ‘About Love’ won Best Film. For the jury, “The film depicted a personal portrait of a middle-class family in today’s urban India. It gave an honest insight into the life and coexistence of three generations in Mumbai. The everyday images were intimately interwoven by a wonderful montage and a sense of warmth was created through the camera work and attention to detail.” Alongside this poignant film, Sapna Moti Bhavnani’s intimate documentary ‘Sindhustan’ received an honourable mention as well. Better known as a celebrity hair-stylist, Bhavnani’s directorial debut chronicles the Partition-era migration of Sindhis, the “largest in the history of the world," through personal anecdotes and the language of ink. Prize money of €1000 each was bestowed upon both, ‘Nooreh’ and ‘About Love’.

A still from 'About Love'


Celebrity chef Vikas Khanna’s debut feature, ‘The Last Color’ was the festival’s highlight as it received both the Audience Award and the Director’s Vision Award. The first award was endowed with €100, while Derrick Linco’s Bombay Dance Club sponsored the prize money of €500 for the second award to applaud the director for his zealous take on archaic cultural and social issues. Starring Neena Gupta, ‘The Last Color’ is a celebration of the human spirit and the tale of a friendship that knows no bounds.

With a footfall of more than 5000 visitors, yet another successful end to the five-day festival is a testimony to the growing international reach and resonance of Indian films. With the hope of a profound presence and recognition of Indian cinema in Germany, the 17th Stuttgart Indian Film Festival is set to return in 2020 from July 15 to 19.