The 21st annual Bollywood Festival Norway 2023 opened with a great fanfare at Lørenskog Hus Kino on the 8th of September 2023. The festival that has been promoting Indian culture in the form of films and music ever since its inception, now it has love not only from India and Norway, but also from other Asian countries like Iran, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
This year the festival was officially opened by Norwegian Culture Minister Jubna Jaffrey on the 8th of September 2023. Other guests present were National Award winner, film director Madhur Bhandarkar, Pakistan’s superhit film director Bilal Lashari, Indian film director Chandrakant Singh, Bollywood Actress Sezal Sharma, Poland actress Natalia, Film distributor Pranab Kapadia and distribution head of Zee Studios Jatin Talwar.
The festival would be incomplete without local support. Our guests from our own country: Member of parliament Himanshu Gulati with our local mayor from Lillestrøm Jørgen Vik from Lørenskog Ragnhild Bergheim, Amine Mabel Bekkan new Mayor and Oslo next Mayor with many other important people from Norwegian culture and Norwegian film industry.
The Opening ceremony started with dance performance from Natarang dance group, followed by the officially opening of the festival with some action from film director Madhur Bhandarkar and our minister of culture. After the opening speech festival awards were given to guests who have made great contributions in their roles.
Bollywood Festival Norway 2023’s Best Film Director Award – Madhur Bhandarkar for film 'Babli Bouncer' and 'India Lockdown'.
Bollywood Festival Norway 2023 Best Filmmaker, Producer and Director – Bilal Lashari for his film, The legend of Maula Jatt. One of the best Punjabi films that takes us back to the time before partition of Punjab.
Best Film Distributor- Pranab Kapadia, UK.
After the awards were presented, we opened the film program with our opening film; Babli Bouncer, a movie which showcases women's power.
Our film program comprised of more than 20 films from India, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh and Norway. The films were screened at 2 cinema locations, Lørenskog & Klingenberg. From Bollywood to regional cinema to international, Bollywood Festival Norway gives a taste of just not one but many languages.
Our most favorite people’s choice program is the Bollywood musical night which was on Sunday 10th of September 2023. Punjabi singer Jasbir Jassi who created a magic that night by stealing the show by singing to his nonstop hits, which left people grooving even after the show was over and the audience was demanding the show to restart again. The musical show also had various singers from India, United Kindom and Norway.
Our children’s day program which was on the 9th of September is a day where we let the innocence have its day and has been a hit ever since we started it first as part of our festival program. This day is not just for children but also a break for parents to become one with their children. The same day at Klingenberg cinema we held masterclass with director Madhur Bhandarkar, where he shared his experience on film making & his journey of bagging two national awards.
On the 10th of September for the first time in the history of our festival, we had a live mushaira before screening the film Majaz- a life in a poetry. 'Majaz’ is a biopic feature film that captures the essence of the life and poetry of the Urdu poet Asrar Ul Haq Majaz. Majaz is known as a ‘romantic revolutionary’ in the world of Urdu.
On 11th September we screened a film for refugees. The film ‘Love in Ukaraine’ is a poignant love story that unfolds against the backdrop of a looming war. A very tight and gripping movie shot in some wonderful locations in Ukraine. This is the last movie shot in Ukraine before the Russian attack.
On the 13th of September we organized a seminar on immigrant family and Norwegian child protection followed by film screening Mrs.Chaterjee vs Norway.
In these 21 years of celebrating film, music, dance, organizing seminars on current social topics to physical activity day to children’s day, Bollywood Festival Norway has provided a variety of programs and has welcomed guests from Indian film industry to witness the love for them and Indian culture in Norway. Actors like Salman Khan, Hema Malini, Zeenat Aman, Anil Kapoor, Suniel Shetty, Boman Irani, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Manoj Bajpai.
Film Directors like David Dhawan, Amol Palekar, Abhinav Kashyap, Tigmanshu Dhulia to name a few.
Singer like Kavita Krishnamurti, Kamar Sanu, Suresh Wadekar, Anup Jalota, Sterio nation, Miss Pooja Music maestro. Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ambi Subramaniam, Øystein Baadsvik with many other and not to forget Oslo Janitsjar making Bollywood festival red carpet so beautiful with Bollywood songs.
Our festival’s goal is to unite people and countries through a single platform. We shall keep working towards this goal by bringing more countries to participate in this annual celebration of arts and culture.