US, India cinematic bond at Jagran Film Festival

Along with gems of Indian media and entertainment industry, the sixth edition of Jagran Film Festival promises to unfold American cinematic culture with the US as the official partner country at the film extravaganza.

John Degory, deputy spokesperson of US embassy, said that cinema binds the two countries together making the “Indo-US partnership special” in many ways.

He also delivered a message at the inaugural ceremony of the five-day film fest at Siri Fort Auditorium here on Wednesday in Bollywood style — “Yeh dosti hum nahi todenge.”

“It is a great pleasure to represent American Centre and the US embassy today (Wednesday) as we launch the sixth edition of Jagran Film Festival. The United States is honoured to have been selected to be the partner country for this year’s festival,” Degory said.

“I feel fortunate to live in India — a country which values cinema as much mine. I’m pleased that our countries are closer than they have ever been before and they are only getting closer. I could say quite a lot about the relationship between India and the United States, but I will leave with the words by Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Sholay’ — ‘Yeh dosti hum nahi todenge’.”

Under the partnership, some iconic Americcan films will be showcased in the American Centre at Kasturba Gandhi Marg here.

Degory emphasised that “Indians like Americans believe in the power of films”.

“It is not just to entertain, but to inform and shape public opinion and discuss about important issues of our time like corruption, human rights and climate change. It’s one of the many values that our countries hold and it is those values that makes the Indo-US partnership special,” he said.

As “Masaan” opened the fest in presence of the internationally-acclaimed film’s team including director Neeraj Ghaywan, actors Sanjay Mishra, Richa Chadha and Vicky Kaushal, Hollywood’s “Argo” was also screened at the event.

Tom Hanks’ epic romantic-comedy-drama “Forrest Gump” regaled movie buffs as the opening film in the Country Focus segment.

Degory pointed out that the ability to pick stories from the society and to paint them on a cultural canvas for the silver screen ties the cinema together.

“There are few countries in the world where cinema is so intertwined in the fabric of our society and culture that you find in India and the US. And since Saturday is our country’s 239th birthday, I would like to thank Jagran for a fantastic birthday celebrations. I can think of no better or more American way to celebrate then watching a bunch of wonderful films,” Degory said.

Well, the edition of the film festival promises to treat cinema-goers with a bouquet of choice in various genres while narrating “a journey of perseverance, romance, creativity and hope”.

“These films run the gamut in terms of cinematic areas and genres and also pack social and historical issues — from the dancing and singing in the 1920s inspired music in ‘Chicago’ or as I say an American style Bollywood film to the classic glamour in ‘An American in Paris’ to the one of the most challenging time of American history in ’12 Years A Slave’ and of course to an Indian and American cultural collide in “Million Dollar Arm’,” the deputy spokesperson said.

Showcasing more than 100 feature and short films this year, the film gala has 20 films in the World Panorama section.

The edition of Jagran Film Festival will traverse from Delhi to cities like Kanpur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Agra, Meerut, Dehradun, Hisar, Ludhiana, Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Raipur, Indore, and Bhopal before culminating in Mumbai.