Remastered NAYAKAN at the London Indian Film Festival

Europe’s Largest Indian Film Festival Fearlessly welcomes Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan

Pioneering Indian Film Festival brings cinematic diversity to London and Birmingham: 14-24 July

Challenging stereotypes of India and South Asia, and wrestling with some very hard issues the 7th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival returns this Summer.

Reflecting the linguistic diversity of UK’s South Asian communities, the carefully curated programme will include 15 major languages, including films from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. All films are English subtitled.

This celebration of Indian regional diversity includes a very rare on-stage Q&A at BFI Southbank with one of South India’s greatest ever superstars – Kamal Haasan, who moved from child actor to Tamil cinema star, to produce, write and direct some of India’s most acclaimed features, including many Bollywood hits.

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Ulaganayagan as he is fondly known, is adored by millions of fans, worldwide. A brand new print of the milestone of Indian cinema, Nayakan (Godfather) gets screened, where Kamal Haasan’s towering central performance, combined with Indian great Mani Ratnam’s direction and PC Sreeram’s ravishing cinematography, made this an instant classic, and saw it listed in TIME magazine, in its list of All-Time 100 Best Films.

The diverse programme of brand new features, documentaries and shorts includes seven films directed by power-packed women filmmakers that give the Bechdel Test a run for its money, including the Thelma and Louise-esque opening night buddy movie, Parched, set in the desert villages of India’s Gujarat (female director Leena Yadav and Producer and Bollywood star Ajay Devgn, is expected). Double Oscar® winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, introduces her punch in the guts, documentary, A Girl In The River – The Price of Forgiveness.

With a strong LGBTQ+ following the festival proudly hosts its first Transgender movie based on an empowering true story – I am Not He…She, at BFI Southbank, supported by MAC Cosmetics and Sun Mark Ltd, amongst others. Bangalore Director BS Lingadevaru, is expected.

The closing night gala, is the world premiere of the incredibly moving and intense Toba Tek Singh, which focuses on patients locked in a Punjabi mental health hospital during the Partition (legendary director Ketan Mehta, is expected).

Sri Lankan breakout filmmakers Kalpana & Vindana Ariyawansa explore the taboo subject of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in a very personal family drama Dirty, Yellow, Darkness, while at the ICA, Director Jayaraj from Kerala, presents the Berlinale Crystal-Bear winner, Ottaal (The Trap), a heart-wrenching drama, based on the roots of child slave labour.

On a lighter note the festival also celebrates two icons of cinema with on-stage interviews with Satyajit Ray’s favourite actress Sharmila Tagore from Kolkata and the only Indian filmmaker to truly cross from Bollywood to Hollywood – Shekhar Kapur, who will discuss his plans for Elizabeth 3. Let’s hope that Cate Blanchett continues her reign in this expected sequel.

Also in the line-up is a special screening of the risque film Brahman Naman, directed by India’s leading indie director Q, the hilarious coming-of-age comedy is exclusive to Netflix. The Mumbai music industry focused Jugni, shows that love and a damn-good Punjabi song, can conquer even the toughest hearts (female director, Shefali Bhushan, is expected).

As well as synchronous screenings in London and Birmingham from 14-24 July, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival goes live on digital, with the festival showing a selection of films on BFI Player into the Autumn.

Festival Patron Tony Matharu, who is also our founding sponsor, from Grange Hotels, continues to support with full fervour, and the festival welcomes back supporters including title sponsor, the Bagri Foundation, who share our passion for South Asian arts and culture. The British Film Institute and Cineworld Cinemas have supported LIFF since year one. The festival enjoys on-going essential support from major sponsor, Sun Mark Ltd.

The Director of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Rajinder Sawhney states:

“We aim to showcase films that entertain but challenge and make one think about the many social issues happening in India today, and that includes many positive changes including the fact that so many emerging Indian women filmmakers who are producing world-class films that are giving their male counterparts a serious run for their money”.

Title Sponsor Alka Bagri of the Bagri Foundation says:

“We are delighted to support such an incredible festival which reveals the richness of South Asian culture and offers a wonderful platform for emerging talent. This year’s programme epitomises the diversity and dynamism of South Asian cinema, and through films, debates and panel discussions, we will explore topical issues such as gender, identity, mental health and equality. We look forward to being joined by two acclaimed figures of Indian cinema: Kamal Haasan and Shekhar Kapur who will take us on their cinematic journey”.

LIFF presents the prestigious annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition, in association with the Bagri Foundation, with a prize of £1,000 to the winning film. The short film programme screens at the ICA on Wednesday 20th July and the winning short will be announced at the closing night gala, on 21st July, at BFI Southbank. The festival continues in Birmingham, until 24th July.

Participating cinemas’ in London are: Cineworld (Haymarket, O2, Wandsworth, Wembley), BFI Southbank, ICA, Picture House Central, Crouch End Picturehouse, East London’s rustic Boleyn Cinema, with Cineworld Broad Street and Midland Arts Centre (MAC), in Birmingham.

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