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They are here to learn Bollywood magic

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: These are the ties of the "filmi" kind. Larger-than-life figures who reach across screens to blur boundaries in a way that politicians can never manage, this is successful diplomacy cemented in celluloid.

Battling a film industry that has very little space for independent cinema or new plots, three Pakistani film-buffs are here for the love of movies. Not interested in the newer trends of Bollywood or copying them, old is gold for them.

"I think that the best movies that came out of India were the ones with Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan and Raj Kapoor. I don't like any of the new heroes or the plots. I don't know whether I will become a filmmaker, but I was clueless about how movies are made and I always wanted to find out,'' says Seerat Jafri Peerzadi, now here to attend the Talent Campus which was part of Osian's Cinefan: Seventh Festival of Asian Cinema.

Giving aspiring filmmakers a chance to get to know the faces behind the camera and get some "gyan" from the giants of cinema today, the Talent Campus is a unique platform for them to learn the secrets of the trade as well as master an important aspect of independent filmmaking -- networking. While the chaotic activity of a film festival might be slightly unfamiliar for them, Delhi certainly is "home''.

"It is very much like Lahore. We speak almost the same language, eat the same food and share the same culture and history. When I first came to India a few years ago, I was worried about how people would see me. Would they know I am a Pakistani? But that was the time when the hostilities between the two countries were at a height. I think for common people these things don't matter. They are just more interested in earning a living,'' believes Farhan Masqsood.

While they might have different reasons for coming to India from wanting to be part of the magic of the movies to going behind-the-screen to understand the way movies are made, one thing is for certain that tags like "Pakistani'' and "Indian'' have ceased to matter. Influenced by masters like Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, they are more interested in telling stories rather than finding similarities or even differences in culture.

"Films in Pakistan are dead or dying. The halls are being turned into theatre for stand up comedy routines because it brings in numbers. The movies tend to be violent, loud and Punjabi. There is this whole caste aspect to movies, it is taken over by the mafia,'' says Farhan Maqsood.

Determined not to be soap obsessed, they might find it hard to actually carve out a space that is dominated with `loud' cinema, they want to have a `voice' that represents them.

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