The first ever Indian Film Festival-Vietnam kickstarted on December 18 in Ho Chi Minh City. Organised by the Indian Embassy in Vietnam and Directorate of Film Festivals – Ministry of I&B, Government of India, the six day event is being attended by award winning film makers including Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Umesh Shukla & Bollywood Producer Rahul Mitra.

The project is the brain child of Smt. Preeti Saran, the Indian Ambassador to Vietnam, who feels this would be an ideal way to introduce Indian Cinema to the Vietnamese audience. Aimed at developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indian cinema and culture in Vietnam, this film festival will showcase big recent Bollywood hits like ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘Jodha Akbar’, ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘Wake Up Sid’, ‘Paheli’, ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ and ‘Maqbool’. It will also offer the Vietnamese film industry a unique opportunity to learn about India’s multi-faceted culture and long history of film making.

The festival will be a great platform for the new generation of Indian producers and directors who are now seeking to re-launch Indian cinema on big screens in Vietnam. These film makers will attend a seminar titled “Vietnam –India Cinema Cooperation and its role in Promotion of Tourism” with a view to make films in Vietnamese locations.

The festival is supported by the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and has received an overwhelming show of support from members of the Indian Film fraternity.

Film Festivals world over have acquired a global niche by identifying themselves with their geographical location, said RC Dalal, Curator of IFF worldwide, citing the examples of Cannes, Berlin and other prestigious film festivals.

“Earlier this year we did Indian Film festival Russia (September 3-6) and now it’s Indian Film Festival Vietnam. The most amazing thing about Indian film festival is that wherever we went, we found the same amount of people’s love for Bollywood movies that you will find in India,” he said, referring to the earlier event which was attended by noted director Shoojit Sarcar who has directed films like Piku, Madras Café and Vicky Donor, Madhur Bhandarkar of Page 3, Fashion, Corporate and Traffic Signal fame besides noted actors like Tabu and Ayushmann Khurrana.

Film festivals like these have been instrumental in promoting world-class films to a wide spectrum of audience surpassing the geographical boundaries and creating a benchmark of quality and consistency.

The people of this tiny South East Asian country, inspite of their limited exposure to Bollywood dance and drama sagas, have loved Indian cinema. The organizers hope that the IFFV will become a landmark of Indian art cinema in Vietnam in the coming years. This event which concludes on Dec 23rd will be held in Hanoi as well in addition to Ho Chi Minh City.

By Ambika Choudhary Mahajan - The Indian Express - December 19, 2015