OFFER

ondon Indian Film Festival, the UK’s and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival, is back this week, with a massive roster of films and talks taking place across London, Manchester and Birmingham.

New films on this year’s show – which runs from June 23 to July 3 – include acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap’s world premiere of Dobaaraa, along with old favorites like Richard Attenborough’s 1982 epic Gandhi and Christopher Morris’ 2010 Four Lions, and conversations included Bengali legend Aparna Sen conversing with audiences at the BFI.

This year, female filmmakers are in the spotlight, including the European premiere of Aparna Sen’s The Rapist, Rebana Liz John’s Ladies Only and Irja Von Bernstoff’s Girls For Future.

Early screenings of Pan Nalin’s Chello Show in the UK and Anik Dutta’s Aparajito will also be on the list.

Overlapping Pride Month, LIFF has two dedicated spots in its programming that explores the LGBTQIA + South Asian community and weirdness: Too Desi Too Queer 1 and Too Desi Too Queer 2, featuring works by Ash Mukherjee, plus a shorts collection.

With more than 40 films showing across the country, it’s hard to narrow the list down to just a few. However, here’s our roundup of London movies and events to put on your calendar.

Dobaaraa by Anurag Kashyap

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

Opening and closing night

Opening night

Anurag Kashyap’s supernatural thriller Dobaaraa will have its world premiere on the festival’s opening night. Starring Taapsee Pannu, Saswata Chaterjee and Rahul Bhatt, the world-renowned director tells the story of a young nurse who moves in with her husband and daughter, next to a derelict house.

They discover an old camcorder, in an electrical storm, they somehow connect them to a boy who lived in the house many years ago, but later died. To prevent his death, the nurse interrupts time and, in turn, her own life. After that, there will be a Q&A session with Kashyap and special guests.

June 23, 18:00, BFI Southbank

Closing night

To close the festival, audiences can look forward to Superfan: The Nav Bhatia Story by Amar Wala. It’s an uplifting documentary about the Toronto Raptors’ ‘biggest fan’ Nav Bhatia and his impact on the city’s basketball community.

It follows his journey from a low-income immigrant worker from India to Canada, to how he built his career and passion for basketball. After the screening, there will be a Q&A session with Bhatia and producer Rinku Ghei.

July 3, 15:00, BFI NFT and July 3, 16:00, Picturehouse Central

Rebana Liz John’s Ladies Only

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

Pride month

As part of Pride Month, the festival features two shows about gay lives, focusing on the LGBTQIA + South Asian community experience.

Too Desi Too Queer 1

The short film program runs for one night only and will “explore images of the lives, experiences and happiness of the LGBTQIA + South Asian communities in the Subcontinent and the Vietnamese diaspora.” The five short films are in Maylayalam, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and English and are from directors including Radhika Prasidha, Pradipta Ray and Shiva Raichandani.

July 1, 18:00, BFI NFT1

Too Desi Too Queer 2

The second installment of LIFF’s quirky program was a live performance sponsored by the Arts Council of England called Vishnu’s Got My Back performed by dancer and storyteller Ash Mukherjee. Along with some LGBTQIA+ short films (the collection is still being confirmed but so far Naman Gupta will debut with the help of a time machine and Tanmay Chowdhary and Tanvi Chowdhary’s Madhu are on the list) Mukherjee will explore Explore his youthful inspirations and strangeness.

June 29, 20:30, Theater

Americanish by Iman Zawahry

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

In the chat

One of the most exciting elements of the festival is the amount of talk for the audience: a staggering number of famous Indian directors, producers and actors meet the audience for the shows. Special Q&A session.

Aparna Sen

Sen is one of India’s oldest and greatest female writers and directors, which makes the screening of her latest film The Rapist followed by a conversation with her is something absolutely mandatory. Sen is known for his honest views on navigating the male-dominated film industry, along with filmmaking in Bengal. Her new work addresses the difficult but always pressing themes of rape and violence in India.

July 2, 17:00, BFI NFT1

Konkona Sen Sharma

Sharma, one of Bengal’s favorite actors, plays the lead role in Sen’s The Rapist. The multi-award winning actor, who made his directorial debut in 2016 with Death In The Gunj, will appear at the festival in the In Conversation series.

July 1, 6:00 p.m., Cine Lumière

Taapsee Pannu

Dobaaraa star Taapsee Pannu, who has been praised for her roles in Baby, The Ghazi Attack and Manmarziyaan, will also appear at LIFF. She won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for her role in Anubhav Sinha’s TV series Thappad in 2020.

June 25, 20:30, Theater

Nandita Das

Nandita Das was twice a member of the Cannes jury, speaks several Indian languages ​​and has acted in over 40 films. She is also the director of two films, Firaaq and Manto, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

She was the first Indian to be inducted into the International Women’s Hall of Fame in Washington. Now, audiences in London have the opportunity to listen to a conversation with the famous actor and director.

June 30, 6:00 p.m., Cine Lumière

Gandhi by Richard Attenborough

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

Barbican

BOMgAY

Two of director Riyad Vinci Wadia’s pioneering short films from the 1990s were shown at the festival. BOMgAY is “a clear insight into the secretive gay world of Mumbai” and The Little Mermaid Called Aida is about being a transgender in India. Wadia passed away in 2003, but his important work lives on in India’s LGBTQIA+ cinema.

After the screening, there will be a debate about Wadia’s work with his brother Roy.

June 25, 18:00, Barbican

Debts Debts

From director Ritwik Pareekh comes Dug Dug, a satirical film about faith and the commercialization of religion. In a horrible accident, a man was killed and the motorbike he was riding was taken to the police station. The next day it returned to the scene of the accident. This event kept happening, sparking ideas and rumors in the local village.

This was followed by a Q&A session with Pareekh.

June 28, 17:50, Barbican

Road to Kuthriyar

Director Bharat Mirle brings us a documentary-style adventure story about Dhruv, a young wildlife surveyor surveying mammals in a Wildlife Sanctuary. Kodaikanal Wilderness in Tamil Nadu. The film focuses on the friendship that develops between the Dhruv and his tribal guide Dorai.

June 27, 18:10, Barbican

BFI

Gandhi

It’s been 40 years (yes, 40 years!) since Richard Attenborough first released a film about the leader of the Indian independence movement. Starring Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud and Rohini Hattangadi, the film won eight Academy Awards upon its release in 1982. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the film is showing at LIFF. This is a rare opportunity to see this epic film on the big screen.

June 25, 18:45, BFI NFT1

Once Upon a Time in Calcutta

After its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Once Upon a Time in Calcutta, directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta, will premiere in the UK at BFI during LIFF.

Starring Sreelekha Mitra, Shayak Roy and Bratya Basu, the film tells the story of Ela, a failed actress who just lost her daughter. She faced a lot of setbacks but didn’t lose hope and began searching for herself – or a new identity – on the streets of Calcutta.

June 30, 6 p.m., BFI NFT2 and July 1, 8 p.m., Ciné Lumière

Chhello Show

In another UK premiere, director Pan Nalin tells the story of a mischievous nine-year-old boy, Samay, living in a remote village of Gujarat, who discovers film for the first time. Despite his father’s prohibition, he still goes to the local cinema, befriends the projector, and watches movies for free. The film was an audience favorite at the Tribeca Film Festival, with stars Bhavin Rabari, Bhavesh Shrimali and Richa Meena.

Next was the Q&A session with Nalin.

June 26, 3 p.m., BFI NFT1 and June 28, 6 p.m., Ciné Lumière

Pan Nalin’s Chhello Show

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

Little English

The UK premiere of Little English will be shown as part of the Great British Asian Gala. Directed by Pravesh Kumar, the cast includes Rameet Rauli, Viraj Juneja, Seema Bowri, Goldy Notay, Ameet Chana, Nikki Patel, Simon Rivers, Shereener Browne and Madhav Sharma.

Kumar’s film debut is a comedy about a Punjabi family in West London in the “pressure cooker life” of a suburban three-story home. Simmy has just come from India to marry Raj, the eldest son. But when Raj performed a runner, chaos ensued.

Audiences can look forward to a Q&A session with Kumar and members of the cast and crew after the screening.

June 24, 20:30, BFI NFT1 and June 30, 18:30, Picturehouse Central

No Land’s Man by Mostofa Sawar Farooki

/ Selection allowed by the London Indian Film Festival

Cine Lumière

No Land’s Man

Director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is making a name for himself as one of the leading figures of the new Bangladeshi cinema. Here he tells the story of Naveen, who disappeared from a memorial park in Sydney while traveling with his girlfriend Cathy.

The story is about two years in New York; Naveen is an immigrant in the city and is struggling to accept his new identity. His lies begin to catch up with him, his relationships are put to the test, and his own existence is questioned. The film stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Eisha Chopra and Megan Mitchell.

The screening followed with a Q&A with Farooki.

June 24, 6:00 p.m., Ciné Lumière, and June 25, 8:45 p.m., Picturehouse Central

Americas

Part of LIFF’s Young Insurgents, Iman Zawahry’s Americanish tells the story of a first-generation immigrant Pakistani mother who is still recovering from being abandoned by her husband years ago. Now, she is trying to get her two eldest daughters, Maryam and Sam, to marry suitable Pakistani boys. The comedy had its European premiere at the festival, starring Aizzah Fatima, Shenaz Treasury and Lillete Dubey.

There was a Q&A session with Zawahry and the guests after the screening.

June 26, 3:00 pm, Picturehouse Central and June 29, 6:15 pm.

The London Indian Film Festival takes place across London, Manchester and Birmingham from 23 June – 3 July. The entire lineup can be found at londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/.

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