The first ever BRICS Film Festival in India is currently underway at Siri Fort Auditorium in South Delhi, and we stopped by for a peek! With the aim of fostering unity amongst the five major growing economies in the world - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa through an exchange of culture via films, local cuisines and traditional crafts, the five-day long festival was a much-awaited event in our cultural calendars. Sadly, what we saw appeared to be a diluted, half-hearted version of what we were expecting. 

Apart from the film screenings, everything else which was supposed to be a part of the experience appeared to be almost a hoax. The Food Court had only two other stalls (besides two from India) - one selling a random selection of Chinese candy (Rs 10 - 30) and one which was supposed to represent Russia with two dishes and a flag. Our desi stalls had kachoris, biryani, chowmein, Lays’ chips, kulchas, soft drinks etc. and were doing well, while the others stood neglected and manned by sleepy and downcast staff.

After noting this sad state of affairs we made our way towards the Crafts Bazaar, which turned out to be an even bigger disappointment! It was empty except for one lone stall from Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan selling kurtas and a wide range of body care products. This was surprising since we dropped by on a Sunday (when maximum turnout is expected) and that too at 2 PM, which is more than enough time for a decent set-up. The room resembled the ghost of a Crafts Bazaar *sigh*.

At least they did one thing right - the schedule for the film screenings was packed with exciting stories from all five countries, both in the competitive and noncompetitive categories. At the end of the festival, an international jury comprising the likes of T.S. Nagabharana, considered the pioneer of parallel cinema in India and Hou Keming, Professor of the Department of Direction at the Beijing Film Academy will decide which movies deserve the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor & Actress and also the Special Jury Award out of four productions from each participating nation.

We were there to catch Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: A Double Portrait in the Interior of the Age, a Russian documentary directed by Anna Evtushenko and Dr. Galina Evtushenko based on the letters shared between the famous Russian author and the father of our nation, without ever having met personally. The film started on time and was followed by a Q&A session with its directors, who were present in person. The auditorium, although compact, was almost full to capacity towards the end.

The festival is on till 6th September, but we’d recommend that you go only if you’re a hardcore cinephile and only interested in the screenings. Otherwise, it’s a typical government gaffe! 

Here’s The Full Schedule |
| Siri Fort Auditorium, Asian Games Village Complex
Entry | Free

This article is written by Misha Dwivedi. Misha is a part time writer and a full time Grammar Nazi. Currently hurtling through life at the speed of light, she makes time for dancing (not just at weddings and Ladies Nights), literature (current read: Joseph Anton), photography (hates selfies!) and hogging her face off on the pretext of upcoming-food-blog-research. Simple pleasures.