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Delhi pays tribute to football

June 29, 2006 15:13 IST

Delhi, which has been deprived of the privilege of hosting the International Film Festival of India with Goa becoming its permanent venue, will have to remain content with a smaller version of it. The eighth edition of the Osian Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema will begin on July 14 at the Siri Fort Auditorium.

The festival will open with Pan Nalin's Valley of Flowers (starring Naseeruddin Shah and Milind Soman).

At a press conference in New Delhi, festival director Aruna Vasudev said the audiences will be treated to the very best of Asian and Arab Cinema. "New films by old masters -- many of them world premieres -- bold and innovative debuts, stories that travel across continents will be exhibited at the festival," she said.

Out of the 120 films to be screened, 12 will participate in the competition.

The festival will end with Iranian director Jafar Panahi's celebrated film Offside, about an Iranian woman's love affair with football. When she tries to catch her favourite team in action live, hardliners prevent her from entering the stadium, and she has to be content with strips of information about the match. When her team wins, she joins the rest of the crowd to celebrate.

"I am glad that we are not doing the festival during the World Cup, otherwise we would have a difficulty in bringing in the audience. But we pay tribute to the game by closing our festival with a film exclusively devoted to football," Aruna explained.   

To pay tribute to filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak, a retrospective on the late master's cinema will be organised to mark his 80th birthday.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi