‘Umrika’ sets ball rolling for Dharamshala International Film Festival

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Dharamsala, Nov 7 (IANS) Filmmaker Prashant Nair’s comedy drama film “Umrika”, which talks about the mythology of the US and how cultures perceive each other, enthralled the audience at the ongoing fourth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF).

The movie, which won the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, was screened here at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Mcleodganj on Friday.

With a stellar cast including “Life of Pi” fame actor Suraj Sharma, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” actor Toni Revolori, Prateik Babbar and Adil Hussain among others, the film witnessed a packed house screening and was appreciated by the audience for its unique style and concept.

The hall was full, and the end of the movie was marked by loud applause by the audience, which included independent filmmakers, critics, tourists from various countries abroad and movie aficionados.

Set in the late 1970s, “Umrika” begins with Udai (Prateik) leaving his village for US. Following the death of father, Udai’s younger brother Ramakant (Suraj) realises that the letters his family have been receiving from Udai have been forged by his father and uncle, and learns that Udai vanished when he reached his port city, Mumbai. He embarks upon a journey to locate his brother.

Prateik, who was available for the screening, said that he got ready to be a part of the film because of Nair and didn’t look at the meatiness of his role.

“I signed this film because of Prashant, as I know him since long time and have full faith in him. So when he came up with the script to me, I didn’t give it a second thought and immediately said ‘yes’ to it, without thinking that it’s not a big budget film or my role is less in the story, Prateik, best known for his roles in films like “Jaane Tu..Ya Jaane Na”, “Dhobi Ghaat” and “Issaq”, said during the screening.

Asked why they decided to setup the film in 1970s as today also people have same perception towards US, Nair said: “Indian people’s fascination with US was much more during that time (1970s). It was on its peak. But the country that these characters are imagining in the film is not America rather it is ‘Umrika’, a fake world that they have modified in their minds.”

Meanwhile, movie enthusiasts at the four-day independent film festival, which started on Thursday, are set to be treated to a melange of cinema, including Bhaskar Hazarika’s “Kothanodi”, Israel film “Zero Motivation”, Japan film “Lung Ta”, Abhay Kumar’s “Placebo”, Gurvinder Singh’s “Chauthi Koot” and Neeraj Ghaywan’s “Masaan” among others.


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