New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Amidst frantic last-minute preparations, the 10th edition of Osian's-Cinefan film festival of Asian and Arab cinema kicked off here Thursday but the formal inauguration will take place Friday.
Not surprisingly, Neville Tuli, founder-chairman of festival organiser Osian's Connoisseurs of Art, who returned from London late Wednesday night and is known for his perfectionist temperament, was himself seen directing volunteers at the Siri Fort auditorium here to ensure everything was shipshape.
'The idea behind starting the screenings on July 10 is because this is the 10th anniversary of the fest,' Osian's-Cinefan joint director Indu Shrikent told IANS.
'We started the screenings a day prior to the opening ceremony to give people a day or two to get the feel of the place, avoid confusion and get acclimatised with the ticketing process because Siri Fort is a huge complex,' she added.
But, what pinched most fans was the fact that what used to be a nominal Rs.20 charged per show till last year has been hiked to a registration fee of Rs.50 plus Rs.30 per ticket for each show.
The festival will showcase nearly 200 Asian and Arab films, including, for the first time, 42 short films.
After a dull start, movie buffs could be seen queuing up for registering and for tickets by midday. No celebrities or international filmmakers turned up on day one.
The reason for this, Shrikent pointed out, was that most big names would trickle into the capital only Thursday night and will attend the Friday inaugural ceremony.
'The fest will definitely gear up momentum over the weekend,' she maintained.
On the opening day, the festival paid tribute to Indonesian actress Christine Hakim by showcasing her film 'Behind the Mosquito Net'. The other films screened were South Korean Kim Ki Duk's 'Breath', a slick Israeli war film 'Beaufort', 'Kicks' from the Netherlands and '33 days' from Lebanon.
Cinema fans expressed delight as they came out of the first screenings.
'It is a great platform that provides an opportunity to watch a lot of films and the way they are made. I've been eagerly waiting for Osian's since the last edition,' Abhishek, who described himself as a product designer by profession, said after watching 'Breath' and was game for the next four shows too.
'I will be coming here for all the 11 days and will watch more than 30 films this year,' Abhishek added.