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A miss at MIFF, accolades at Berlinale

By Kalpana Sharma

MUMBAI, FEB. 16. The Mumbai-based film-maker, Rakesh Sharma, has won two awards at the 54th Berlin International Film Festival, for his feature-length documentary on Gujarat, Final Solution. This film was rejected as an entry at the recent Mumbai International Film Festival.

Sharma's film is the first from India to win the Wolfgang Staudte award, instituted in 1990 after the German director. It includes a cash prize of Euro 10,000 (about Rs. 5,80,000) and a citation.

The citation states: "An epic documentary focussing on a culture of hatred and indifference. The directness, clarity and accuracy of the film enables the viewer to both reflect on the universality of the subject matter and relate this to his or her own human attitudes. The film-maker has chosen a documentary form that completely shuns the use of melodramatic effects..."

Final Solution was also chosen for the Special Jury Award by a jury comprising Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), Dorothea Holloway (Germany) and Fang Yu (China). Their citation said: "The award goes to Final Solution for its clarification of issues that spawned hate and violence between Hindus and Muslims in Gujarat, its analysis of propaganda mechanisms for political purposes, and its measured voice to seek a final solution to the conflict."

Four other Indian films were invited to the Berlinale in the International Forum of New Cinema section. These were: Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi by Sudhir Mishra, Maqbool by Vishal Bhardwaj, Kal Ho Na Ho by Nikhil Advani and Hava Aaney De by Partho Sengupta.

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