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Saturday, Sep 17, 2005
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NEW DELHI: Behind the headlines of black-and-white news pages it is a return to the old-fashioned world of journalism that existed before the advent of glamorous fast-moving television images. Capturing the typically journalistic existence of late afternoon beginnings and late night shifts, the Editors' Guild of India this month is offering viewers a peek into smoke-filled days of daily deadlines between endless cups of "garam chai" through an unusual festival of films.
A behind-the-scenes look at the people behind the news, the festival now under way at the Capital's India International Centre -- "Through A Lens Darkly" -- brings to the screen the notepad-carrying scribe in every hue and form.
From the street-smart investigative journalists who rocked America with their expose of the Watergate scandal in "All The President's Men" (to be screened on September 25) to the curious "desi" reporter who gets manipulated by an ambitious politician in "New Delhi Times" (September 26), the festival also brings alive the shady scribes in "Shattered Glass" (September 23).
The politics of "The Front Page" is also not left out of this look into the newsmakers' lives with the festival screening the "lighter" side of this battle between an editor and his ace reporter.
And from the big high of Page One flyers to the grimy side of chasing controversial exclusives that no one else wants to touch in "When the Sky Falls" set in Ireland (September 23), it is as real as it can get on reel.
Bringing alive the heroes of many stories in cinema from the silent era to the now all-colour, the festival will offer audiences a different version of the daily grind of "Page 3" journalists. While the festival has only one Hindi movie in its collection, the films do manage to bring out in essence the struggles of being a journalist.
Long before the days of "jholas" and Fab India clothes that became the fashion statement of scribes at least on the silver screen, this festival is a celebration of the true tradition of serious journalism with its adrenaline highs of "good stories" and the frustration of getting sources to talk.
Reaching out to ordinary people in a way that scribes fantasise their stories always do, "Through A Lens Darkly' might have chosen to only zoom into the lives of newspaper "journos" apart from screening "The Insider" with Russell Crowe's high acclaimed performance that revealed the dirty secrets of the tobacco industry.
The only view of a CBS-TV News show "60 minutes" in 1994, the movie has already been screened on September 13, but the buzz of the 24-hour newsroom is not the focus of these stories.
Ending on a classical high about ethics, the festival will show Orson Welles' masterpiece "Citizen Kane" on September 28.
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