Acting Veteran Zeba (center) addressed a press conference with Bhandarkar at the 'Memorial Award' at the Rafi Peer International Film Festival. Seen from L to R: Madhur Bhandarkar, Zeba, Om Puri (extreme right)

LAHORE (TIP): Bollywood film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar, who traversed borders to attend this year’s Rafi Peer International Film Festival (RPIFF) in Lahore, received a warm welcome and a top prize at the event. He was overjoyed to be the recipient of the Memorial Award at the RPIFF, which was presented to him by acting veteran Zeba.

“I’m happy that the Rafi Peer administration conferred the Memorial Award on me and agreed to screen Chandni Bar (2001) at the film festival upon my request,” he said while speaking to the press during the three-day film festival that took place from December 17 to 19 at Alhamra Arts Council. Bhandarkar addressing media, told  “Feeling honoured to receive the RafiPeer Memorial Award from veteran Pakistani actor Zeba ji. in Lahore,”.

Lauding Bhandarkar, Tasneem Pirzada, director of communication at Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, told media, “Madhur Bhandarkar is a wonderful film-maker and his works has contributed to the society at large without looking into borders point of view. “It’s because of his relentless efforts in the world of film-making that we presented him with the award.”

Tasneem Pirzada shared how Bhandarkar’s Chandni Bar has encouraged discourse on societal issues, such as prostitution. “The issue of prostitution was under discussion in India when Madhur was contemplating the film. The then government had shut down Chandni Bar to curb the increase in prostitution but after the bar’s closure, the phenomenon only augmented,” . Tasneem Pirzada said Madhur made Chandni Bar as an eye-opener for the government and its success was a factor that led to the continued running of such bars in India.

Of his film, Madhur Bhandarkar shared, “I’m happy that Chandni Bar became my identity. People around the world recognize me for this film.” Madhur Bhandarkar went on to say that If he had not had Chandni Bar to his credit, people wouldn’t have recognized him as a producer and director today. “In fact, many Pakistanis around the world have told me they especially bought a DVD of Chandni Bar.” Madhur Bhandarkar,is best known for films, such as Chandni Bar, Page 3, Traffic Signal and Fashion. Apart from Bhandarkar, veteran actor Om Puri was also present at the film festival to attend the screening of his film “My Son the Fanatic in Lahore”.