‘Life of Pi’ to open Dubai International Film Festival

Dubai: Oscar-winning filmmaker Ang Lee`s `Life Of Pi`, already a huge hit in India, will open the 9th edition of Dubai International Film Festival, which has a unique line-up of Indian films to celebrate the 100 years of Indian cinema.

`Pi` leading actors Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain and Shravanthi Sainath will be present at the red carpet and the gala screening tonight. The 3D film, set in India and based on Yann Martel`s Booker-prize winning novel of the same name, has been making waves internationally. Lee shot the film in India and Taiwan.

"Life of Pi is a film that truly epitomizes the ethos of DIFF`s `Bridging Cultures` mandate. Shot in India, Canada and Taiwan, the epic 3D adventure follows young Pi in a breathtaking debut performance by Suraj Sharma, who we are honored to welcome to Dubai and the Festival...

"Suraj puts on a performance which brilliantly shows Pi`s courage, hope, fear, sorrow and jubilation, exposing his incredible talent every second of his screen time.

"Life of Pi is a perfect multi-dimensional and multi-cultural masterpiece to mark the opening of our ninth edition and we are delighted to have the film`s stars walking the DIFF red carpet," DIFF Chairman Abdulhamid Juma said.

Suraj, who has been appreciated globally for his debut performance as Pi, said, "Life of Pi is a universal story about surviving insurmountable odds and, combined with Ang Lee`s amazing use of the cinematic medium and 3D will resonate with audiences the world over.

"This is my first film but I am honoured to bring it, alongside my co-stars Adil Hussain and Shravanthi Sainath, to open the Dubai International Film Festival."

Like last year, the festival has a strong presence from India with the special section `Celebration of Indian Cinema` screening Hansal Mehta`s `Shahid`, about the slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi; `Quartet 1`, a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore by Buddhadeb Dasgupta on the Bard`s 150th birth anniversary; actor-director Joy Mathew`s `Shutter`, a Malayalam thriller film revolving around three individuals, a wandering film director, an expatriate from the Gulf and a Kozhikodan auto driver; Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly`s `Shobdo` (Sound), and Goutam Ghose`s latest venture `Zero Act`. Children`s film `Gattu` by director Rajan Khosa is screening in the `Cinema for Children` category.

This year has a wide variety of Indian films and documentaries competing at DIFF. Ashim Ahluwalia`s `Miss Lovely`, already screened at Cannes and at Toronto International Film Festival, will be competing in the Muhr Asia Africa Feature section.

Set in Mumbai`s "C" grade film industry, `Miss Lovely` follows the story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the 1980s. Festivals favourite `Ship of Theseus` by Anand Gandhi and Musa Syeed`s Kashmir based love story `Valley of Saints` are also part of Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature section.

`Char... The No Man`s Island` by Sourav Sarangi and Nishtha Jain`s `Gulabi Gang` will compete in Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary section.

"This year we have the widest variety and type of Indian films that reflect the diversity of Indian cinema. It is our way of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema by showing the full beauty of its cinema and talent," Dorothee Wenner, DIFF Consultant for Subcontinent programme, told PTI.

Celebrities expected on the red carpet tomorrow night include: Academy Award-winning actress and Head of the Jury for the IWC Filmmaker Award Cate Blanchett, Freida Pinto, Michael Apted and tennis star Ana Ivanovic. The opening red carpet and ceremony of the festival will be telecast live on YouTube.