Film buffs, make your way to Aurangabad, now The historical district/region and city is hosting the premier film showcasing event, the Ajanta Ellora International Film Festival (AIFF). In its eighth year, the AIFF will be conducted from the 11th to the 15th of January and will have the best of films produced to date in India and the world.
For more than a millennium, the current district of Aurangabad, and its surrounding regions, in Maharashtra have been the hub of the confluence of the arts, architecture, religions, and spirituality. These have been integral to the continued ethos of the area. Hence, Aurangabad boasts well-preserved relics of ancient cities such as Daulatabad, mausoleums from the Mughal empire such as the Bibi Ka Maqbara, still popular weaves of ethnic drapery such as the Maharashtra trademark Paithani sari of Paithan, and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora rock-cut caves. Therefore, it is natural that it is also home to the premier film showcasing events such as the AIFF.
The festival encourages aspiring filmmakers, technicians, artists, and film enthusiasts of Marathi cinema. It provides them with a platform to learn and understand cinema's art and technical aspects. Additionally, AIFF puts Aurangabad and Marathwada on the global map for film production opportunities and as a centre of networking for local talents with filmmakers, film scholars, and technicians from India and abroad. Tourists teem to Aurangabad during the festival to catch a glimpse of their favourite film and the personalities associated with it. Plus, the availability of historical sites in close proximity is a bonus to each person who visits the city.
About 55 films will be screened over the five days of the festival, which will be inaugurated by film director Nagraj Manjule of Sairaat fame. It is one of the most awarded films in Marathi. Some of the other stalwarts of Marathi cinema, who will be present, are actors Kishor Kadam, Sai Tamhankar, Shweta Basu Prasad, Sonali Kulkarni, and directors Sameer Patil, Girish Mohite, and Madhur Bhandarkar. A five-member panel, headed by Canadian filmmaker Judy Gladstone, will decide on the awards. Meanwhile, International Federation of Film Critics India members will also judge some movies. A festival highlight will be conferring the Padmapani Lifetime Achievement Award to director and film scholar Arun Khopkar.
When 11th to 15th January
Where Inox Prozone Mall, Aurangabad City
How to get there
Distance Aurangabad is 336 kilometres from Mumbai.
By air The airport at Chikalthana is located about 10 kilometres east of the town. It receives flights from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Indore, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Udaipur, and Jaipur. The flight from Mumbai to Aurangabad is approximately one and a half hours.
By railway Aurangabad station is on the Secunderabad-Manmad section of the Nanded Division of the South-Central Railway zone of the Indian Railways. It has rail connectivity to the major cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nanded, Nasik, New Delhi, Bhopal, Gwalior, Nagpur, Madurai, Hyderabad, Vadodra, Nizamabad, Parli, Kurnool, Renigunta, Erode, and Narsapur.
By road Aurangabad is well-connected by national highways (NH) and state highways (SH) to all parts of the country. NH 211 from Dhule to Solapur passes through the city. One of the quickest routes from Mumbai to Aurangabad is via the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. This route was built for speedy, non-stop journeys. It is not the shortest route to Aurangabad.