Dobaaraa, the supernatural thriller by Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, to win this year’s River to River Audience Award, audience recognition for the best feature film in competition at the 22nd River to River Florence Indian Film Festival, the only event in Italy completely dedicated to investigating the face of contemporary India through cinema and culture. The initiative, under the direction of Selvaggia Velo, was held from 6 to 11 December at the La Compagnia cinema in Florence (via Cavour 50/R) and online in the Pi Compagnia virtual room in collaboration with MYmovies.it, with the patronage of the Indian Embassy, ​​under the is the aegis of the Fondazione Sistema Toscana and with the contribution of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities – Cinema and Audiovisual Department, the Tuscany Region, the Municipality of Florence and the CR Firenze Foundation.

The film, a skilful mix of thriller and science fiction, tells the story of a woman, played by superstar Taapsee Pannu, who, during a strange storm, has the opportunity to save a boy who was killed more than twenty years earlier as an inconvenient witness to a murder, communicating with him via a bizarre tv channel. Special guest of this edition of the festival and present at the closing evening, Kashyap is considered the most influential contemporary author of the Subcontinent, capable of portraying the darkest India, beyond the glitter of Bollywood.

The popular jury also awarded the prize for best documentary to Lets Talk about Dharavi by director Sanjay Ranade: an insight into what it means today to live in Dharavi, the largest slum in all of Asia as well as one of the most densely populated places in the world. with an estimated population of over one million people in the heart of the city of Mumbai. Fragments of everyday life narrated by those who live in Dharavi every day a student, a professional soccer player, an actor, a tour guide and a manager to reveal how, despite the omnipresent poverty, the slum also offers its inhabitants advantages and opportunities.

The award for the best short film went to Mein, Mehmood by Prataya Saha: the hard life of Mehmood, an emigrated travel agent who tries to survive in a world of competition.

We are satisfied with this 22nd edition explains Selvaggia Velo who proposed films with themes ranging from family relationships to gender identity, from great sports stories to portraits of Generation Z, from socio-political and cultural issues to contemporary art, always maintaining a strong link with the traditions of India. The tributes to Pasolini, to the great director Bimal Roy and the special guest Anurag Kashyap with his last two films, including Almost Pyaar as the closing film, make the event more interesting. Above all we are happy to have been able to have guests back in the room directly from India, finally overcoming the physical distance imposed by the pandemic.

The River to River Florence Indian Film Festival offered 34 screenings of Italian and European premieres in six days as well as exhibitions, cooking lessons, artist films and special events. Among these, the homage to the gedor giant of Hindi cinema Bimal Roy, with the return of his masterpieces to the big screen; the celebrations for the twentieth anniversary of Sanjay Leela Bhansal’s superblockbuster Devdas, an epic love story and a cornerstone of Bollywood cinema; the section dedicated to video art in collaboration with the Kochi-Muzuris Biennial and, on the centenary of Pasolini’s birth, a performance to celebrate his relationship with India.

The photographic exhibition Mannequin, a journey into the Indian night signed by the artist and curator from Calcutta Arko Datto, will remain open until 31 January 2023 at the fsmgallery (via San Zanobi 19/r). With works exhibited worldwide and endorsements from prestigious bodies including the Pulitzer Center and the National Geographic Society, Arko Datto is one of the most innovative voices from contemporary India. For the one-man show created in collaboration with fsm – Fondazione Studio Marangoni, the artist signs a roundup of colorful images stolen from urban darkness. The work, started in 2014, a few months before the Hindu extremists took control of the country, An affectionate memory of the night that was, to anticipate the darkness that awaits us, quoting the artist (from Monday to Friday by appointment, 10.00/15.00 , reservations [email protected]).