A Homegrown Guide To Must-Watch Films At Goa's International Film Festival Of India

 IFFI serves as a vital platform, uniting global cinemas to showcase the brilliance of film as an artform.
IFFI serves as a vital platform, uniting global cinemas to showcase the brilliance of film as an artform. L: Northeast Today R: Manish Saini

The International Film Festival of India (IFFI), in its 54th edition, is set to showcase 270 films, offering a diverse array of narratives that encapsulate the essence of life in India. Commencing on November 20, IFFI serves as a vital platform, uniting global cinemas to showcase the brilliance of film as an artform. Through its carefully curated selection, the festival seeks to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of diverse film cultures, each rooted in the social and cultural ethos of its origin. In doing so, IFFI becomes a conduit for the exchange of stories that transcend borders, promoting friendship and cooperation among people worldwide. Here are 5 short films selected this year for the festival that you don't want to miss.

Sadabahar - Suyash Kamat
Sadabahar - Suyash KamatNetflix


Suyash Kamat's short film revolves around the members of a wedding brass quartet from Uttar Pradesh working in Goa. Falsely accused of robbery one night, they face a pivotal choice between continuing their lives as 'outsiders' in Goa or returning to their villages. The film utilizes music as a powerful unifier, transcending identity and language barriers. Suyash Kamat highlights the role of music as a universal communicator and a common ground where individuals, despite their differences, come together. In exploring the theme of insider/outsider dynamics, Kamat emphasizes that art, particularly music, serves as a bridge that connects people beyond societal divisions.

Chupi Roh -  Disha Bhardwaj
Chupi Roh - Disha BhardwajTasveer Film Festival

Chupi Roh

Disha Bhardwaj's short film explores the dynamics of a Himalayan family consisting of Leela, Raju, and their son, Abbu. Set in a picturesque village, the narrative delves into Abbu's struggle with identity, while Raju grapples with loss and failure. In the midst of these challenges, Leela endeavours to navigate the complexities in the best way she can. Hailing from Himachal Pradesh, Disha Bhardwaj brings her regional roots to the forefront in her filmmaking, contributing to the Indian film industry with a focus on authentic storytelling that captures the essence of regional cultures.

Andro Dreams - Meena Longjam
Andro Dreams - Meena LongjamNortheast Today

Andro Dreams

The opening film for the non-features category in the festival, Meena Longjam's documentary presents the inspiring journey of a girls' football club from the remote village of Andro in Manipur. The film sheds light on the challenges faced by Laibi, a woman in her 60s who defies adversity to run the AMMA FC football club for over two decades. Nirmala, a promising young player, embodies the dreams and struggles within the club. Despite enduring poverty, insurgency, and patriarchy, AMMA FC, lacking proper funding and equipment, has consistently produced national and international football champions. Meena Longjam's dedication to the project is evident as she navigated personal risks amid the last five months of violence in Manipur to bring Andro Dreams to the screen, even editing the final cut during the tumultuous period.

Bhangaar - Sumira Roy
Bhangaar - Sumira RoyIMDb


Sumira Roy's documentary revisits the poignant story of Narayan and Iravati Lavate, an elderly couple from Girgaon, who sparked a national conversation on life and death in 2018. The film sheds light on the couple's plea for active euthanasia, a controversial topic in India where it is illegal. Despite being healthy at ages 87 and 78, Narayan and Iravati felt they were "of no use to society" and sought the freedom to die with dignity. Roy captures their rebellious spirit and the societal resistance they faced, challenging prevailing views on euthanasia in Indian culture. Bhangaar aims to bring ageism and the right to die with dignity to the forefront, prompting a conversation on assisted dying and the infrastructure needed to support individuals in their quest for a dignified death.

Giddh - Manish Saini
Giddh - Manish SainiShort Shorts


Manish Saini's short film unfolds the narrative of an elderly man grappling with the loss of his son and the challenges of impoverished living. Rejected for daily-wage labor due to his age, he resorts to reselling clothes from the deceased, hanging from a Banyan tree in the cremation grounds, symbolizing Hindu last rites. The vulture, a powerful motif and the film's namesake serves as a metaphor for the man's plight as he scavenges remnants of others' lives to survive. Giddh starkly exposes the harsh realities of poverty, where moral boundaries blur in the desperate pursuit of existence. It acts as a wake-up call for the privileged, shedding light on the hedonistic nature of morality in the face of death and starvation.

Check out IFFI's schedule here for the screenings.

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