The London Indian Film Festival returns for its sixth year, newly sponsored by the Bagri Foundation, a charity that supports the best in Indian arts through its diverse cultural programmes. This year, the festival is extending its wings, spreading into Birmingham for the first time, screening films at Cineworld Broad Street and the Midlands Art Centre.
Kicking off on Thursday 16th July with a Red Carpet Gala screening of Prashant Nair’s Sundance award-winning film Umrika, the festival promises the best in Independent South Asian films for the next ten days, alongside shorts, documentaries, masterclasses, Q&As and an exclusive Conversation with Mani Ratnam – the acclaimed Indian filmmaker behind such gems as Bombay and Dil Se. The festivities will end on the 26th July with Sam Collins’ cricket documentary Death of a Gentleman.
Here at The NRI, we’re most looking forward to catching the following five:
Nair’s first time feature Delhi in a Day was a great success at LIFF 2012, so Umrika is a welcome start. Starring Suraj Sharma (The Life Of Pi) and Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), the story follows the tale of a boy from a rural Indian village, who goes to Mumbai to explore the fate of his elder brother, whose journey to America is left in mystery when his communications with his family falls short. With the quality of Nair’s previous movie and a great cast, this one sounds very promising.
Set during the aftermath of the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, 31st October looks at the real life story of a family that survived the anti-Sikh mass riots of the time. Trapped in their house, as their city outside burns, the family makes a desperate bid to escape. Starring Vir Das (Delhi Belly) and Soha Ali Khan (Rang De Basanti).
ONE CRAZY THING
A former daytime TV star is haunted by the sex tape that destroyed his life and turned his unknown actress girlfriend into an A-list Hollywood celebrity. Starring BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Ray Panthaki and a star-making turn from Daisy Bevan, daughter of actress Joely Richardson and Working Title producer Tim Bevan, the film is also directed by Amit Gupta, the man behind last year’s entertaining curry comedy Jadoo.
Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the acclaimed filmmaker behind such festival crowdpleasers as Iqbal and Lakshmi, Dhanak follows the journey of a 10 year old girl and her blind 8 year old brother, as she guides him across the Rajasthani desert with the promise that he can regain his sight once they meet Shah Rukh Khan, who she’s witnessed endorsing eye surgery on TV. On their journey, they meet a host of colourful characters, which both help and thwart their goal. The fact that the film won the Berlinale Audience Award earlier this year already gives the film a great amount of hype.
DEATH OF A GENTLEMAN
A hard-hitting documentary of interest to cricket and non-cricket fans alike. Cricketing journalists Jarrod Kimber and Sam Collins set off on a journey to report on the current state of health of Test Cricket and to investigate the impact of 20:20 cricket on the five-day game. They end up in something more sinister than they could ever have imagined. Taking an overdue look at the dirty politics and the seedy side of the sport, this may ensure we never look at cricket in the same way ever again.