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Shiraz ranked second at Sydney Film Fest

Neena bhandari (Press Trust of India)

Posted: Jun 21, 2003 at 1310 hrs IST

Indian producer Himansu Rai's silent masterpiece Shiraz, a version on the making of Taj Mahal, was adjudged as the second best feature film at this year's Sydney Film Festival.

The film was screened at the state theatre in Sydney from June 6 to June 20 with live music accompaniment by international musicians Linsey Pollak, Tunji Beier and Lone Sherfig.

Rai's offering ranked fourth in the audience vote section on feature length fiction films at the state theatre.

Rai, who pioneered movie making with foreign collaboration, had Germany's Franz Osten direct the film.

Released in 1928, Shiraz is a story of a potter's son who later designs the famous Taj Mahal.

The fictionalised version of the origin of the monument of love, the film was shot on location at Agra, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Elephanta Caves off the Mumbai coast and Kolhapur in Maharashtra.

In the audience vote on feature length fiction films at Dendy opera quays, Aparna Sen's much talked about "Mr and Mrs Iyer" came seventh followed by Mani Ratnam and A R Rahman's multi award winner Kannathil Muthamittal (a peck on the cheek) in Tamil.

Stuart Grieve's ‘Cowboys and Indians’ (UK) topped the short films at the second festival venue, Dendy opera quays.

Earlier, the Indian community in Sydney had strongly condemned and opposed the screening of the film that apparently depicts Lord Krishna in poor light.

The two week long festival screened 210 films from across 38 countries and attracted over an audience of over 100,000.

This year's festival had a special focus on Indian art films. Other Indian entries included Buddhadeb Das Gupta's "A Manda Meyer Upakhyan (a tale of a naughty girl) in Bengali and Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Nizhalkkuthu (shadow kill) in Malayalam.

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