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Liff Special Review: Toba Tek Singh

Saadat Hassan (Vinay Pathak, whose character’s name serves as a nod to the author who wrote the story the film is based on) arrives at the Lahore Mental Hospital in 1947, just prior to Partition and the subsequent independence of India and Pakistan. He serves both as a narrator of events outside the hospital, and a witness to events inside it.

Ketan Mehta (perhaps best known for Mirch Masala and Bhavni Bhavai)’s film is an adaptation of Saadat Hassan Manto’s short story, “Toba Tek Singh”, which deals with the exchange of the patients of a mental institution several years after Partition. The Lahore Mental Hospital’s most curious inmate is Bishan Singh (Pankaj Kapur), a man who never sits, never lies down, and who, it is said, has not slept for ten years. Bishan Singh, generally quiet, does, nevertheless, have a bit of nonsense that he babbles every so often,
See full article at Bollyspice »

Liff Closing Night: Toba Tek Singh Movie Review

  • Bollyspice
One more year after five amazing editions the 6th London Indian Film Festival closed its doors on Thurday with the world premiere of Toba Tek Singh, based on the story written by Saadat Hasan Manto.

Toba Tek Singh follows the story on Bishan Singh (Pankaj Kapoor), a Sikh inmate of a mental institution, who hasn’t slept for 15 years and always asks the same question “Where is Toba Tek Singh?”, the name of his home village. The new warden (Vinay Pathak) takes delight on Bishan and the other patients’ eccentricities. However, with the Partition of India and Pakistan it seems that the world outside is more insane then the people inside, and the institution must give up all its Hindu and Sikh inmates. Singh is marched to the new border, but in which country is his beloved home?

The film, directed by Ketan Mehta, is part of Zeal For Unity,
See full article at Bollyspice »

The London 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.

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.”

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.

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. He is adored by millions of fans, worldwide.

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.

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.

Opening Night | Dual English Premiere: Parched

– Hindi with English subtitles | 117 min | India 2015 | Dir: Leena Yadav | with: Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Surveen Chawla, Lehar Khan.

Director Leena Yadav tells a wonderfully joyous and inspiring tale of female comradery.

– Q&A with Director Leena Yadav and other special guests.

14 July | 18:00 | Cineworld Haymarket, London

15 July | 19:00 | Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham

16 July | 17.30 | Cineworld Wembley, London

20 July | 20.40 | BFI Southbank, London

Closing Night | World Premiere: Toba Tek Singh

– Hindi / Punjabi with English subtitles | 75 min | India 2016 | Dir: Ketan Mehta | with: Pankaj Kapur, Vinay Pathak.

Acclaimed director Ketan Mehta delivers this unforgettably moving and at times joyous version of Manto’s legendary story, produced by the Zeal for Unity project.

– Q&A with Director Ketan Mehta and other special guests.

21 July | 18:00 | BFI Southbank, London

24 July | 18:00 | Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham

– Icons from India, polymath Kamal Haasan (whose films have the highest number of Academy Award submissions from India), and director of the exquisite BAFTA & Oscar® winning Elizabeth & The Golden Age films, Shekhar Kapur, will give masterclasses at BFI Southbank, with the famous female scion of the Tagore family, who married into Indian royalty, Sharmila Tagore, speaking at the historic art deco cinema, Cineworld Haymarket.

– A 2016 highlight, is a rare opportunity to hear female filmmakers like Pakistan’s double Oscar®-winning Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Mumbai’s multi-award winning Leena Yadav, documentary filmmaker Rinku Kalsy and other special guests, talking about their unique careers and exploring commonalities of experience, with women filmmakers around the world.

– The UK premiere of the restored verison of the 1948 film Kalpana (Imagination), by the legandary dancer, Padma Vibhushan Uday Shankar (brother of the late Sitar stalwart Ravi Shankar), starring the legendary dancer and actress Padmini (Mera Naam Joker/Thillana Mohanambal), in her cinematic debut, gets a one off special screening in Birmingham.

– Winner of the best directing debut at the Venice Film Festival, the Hindi language film directed by Ruchika Oberoi, Island City, tells three stories, of a drone employee at a soulless corporation wins an office competition entitling him to a whole day of fun at the mall; a domineering head of a family who suffers a stroke and is on life support, and a woman who is leading a mechanical existence blossoms, when she gets a series of anonymous love letters.

– Actor, Leader, Hero, God. For his fans, the superstar Rajinikanth is all of these. Men from various generations alter their lives, sell their belongings, and place fandom above their families in devotion to the iconic actor, a man who has inspired a fanatic cult following across the world ranging from India to Japan. This is explored in the riveting documentary, For The Love Of A Man.

– Made under the Zeal for Unity India-Pakistan filmmaking initiative, Khaema mein matt jhankain (Don’t Peek Into The Tent) and Jeewan Hathi (Elephant In The Room) explore different facets of life in Pakistan. Tamil Naidu’s hottest young filmmaker M Manikandan returns to the festival, after last year’s hit Kaaka Muttai (Crow’s Egg), with the stylish, twisted plot thriller, with Kutrame Thandanai.

– The new tale by Kaushik Ganguly, one of West Bengal’s most accomplished directors, depicts a love-torn nostalgia for the passing age of film called Cinemawala, while Liff’s first Nepali screening is directed by new hot-property director Min Bahadur Bham, who has been delighting audiences around Europe with his film Kalo Pothi (The Black Hen).

– For more information on the festival please visit:

http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk

– The full festival programme for London and Birmingham:

http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/programme.htm

The post The London Indian Film Festival brings cinematic diversity to London and Birmingham: 14-24 July appeared first on BollySpice.com.
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Review – Brian Tyler live at the Royal Festival Hall

Sean Wilson reviews Iron Man 3 composer Brian Tyler’s sensational London concert…

What does it take to an endure as a successful film composer in the 21st century? The answer, if you’re Brian Tyler, is versatility – and a lot of energy. Making his concert debut at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Saturday night, the ubiquitous Tyler presented a rollicking line-up of his various scores for film, TV and console games, his muscular offerings proving that he really is this generation’s heir apparent to Jerry Goldsmith (that many of his scores exceed the quality of the projects for which they’re written is another facet he shares with Goldsmith.)

Loose and limber whilst addressing the might of the Philharmonia Orchestra, plus choir, Tyler’s dazzling conducting skills made for sheer spectacle all on their own, the composer using his entire body and vigorously gesticulating to all points
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Reflections 2015: The Best Indie and Festival Films of 2015

By Katherine Matthews and Rumnique Nannar

One of the most frustrating aspects of covering festival and indie films has been the limited access for a wider audience – very often review comments run along the lines of: “Tell me where I can see this!” 2015 was a year that finally saw some great shifts in this, with a number of festival films finally getting a theatrical release – some of them films that had been on the festival circuit for a couple of years, some of them hot off the 2015 festival rounds. Audiences for both festival and indie films are small, but they’re growing, and access to this year’s “best of” selection should be easier for interested viewers. 2015 was, indeed, a great year for these films – enjoy our choices for Festival and Indie Bests!

Qissa

A TIFF2013 film that finally saw its theatrical release this past year, Qissa (“Folktale”), set in post-partition India,
See full article at Bollyspice »

Irrfan Khan to play writer Manto in Nandita Das next

Irrfan Khan to play writer Manto in Nandita Das next
Actress and philanthropist Nandita Das who made her directorial debut with the award winning film Firaaq, is all set to don the director's hat once again. She will now be adapting the life of famous writer Manto for her next and will have Irrfan Khan playing the role of the protagonist.

Revealing that Irrfan Khan's looks resemble the real Manto, Nandita Das stated that Irrfan is not only fluent in Urdu but also a wonderful actor. While she is still in the initial stages of scripting, she did reveal that she will be capturing the crucial seven years of Manto's life which includes his life before and after the partition. She has also expressed her desire to shoot the film partly in Pakistan to maintain its authenticity.

Manto, known as, Saadat Hasna Manto, was a Pakistani writer, playwright and author whose writing represented the era of before and after Partition of India.
See full article at BollywoodHungama »

Tillotama Shome and Rasika Duggal in ‘Qissa’ Grab Attention

The role of women in Indian cinema in the recent years has changed by leaps and bounds from playing meek sidekicks to the male lead to playing strong characters in women centric ones. These new age actresses are picking up bolder roles and the recent film ‘Qissa – The Story of A Lonely Ghost’ depicts this clearly. Actors Tillotama Shome and Rasika Duggal portray two strong female characters in this film and have done a brilliant job winning global awards all around.

Set in the background post partition era, the film also runs a parallel Story of Kanwar and Neeli along with that of Umber, played by Irrfan Khan. The strong undercurrents of emotional dilemma and feelings which these two share, are sometimes not determined by the dialogues but by simple gestures. It explores bold issues which never cross the thresholds of curiosity. Dealing with issues like gender bias and identity crisis,
See full article at Bollyspice »

Review Rewind: Liff Special Movie Review: Qissa

Originally published in July of 2014 check out our review of Qissa from the London Indian Film Festival

The largest human mass migration known to history is the Partition of India, 1947. Glossed over as the “independence” of India, this tragic and controversial event forced an estimated 10 million civilians to lose their homes and an estimated 1 million to lose their lives. The statistics with their definite tone conceals the complexities, the tragedies and the trauma of Partition.

Both literature and film have become powerful mediums for re-visiting this time in history and Qissa (Director Anup Singh) is one such film. Brimming over with raw emotion, immaculate performances and a Pandora’s Box of questions, Qissa is a rare gem of a film that will shake you up and ask what identity and belonging truly mean.

When Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan) and his family are uprooted from their home in the midst of Partition,
See full article at Bollyspice »

Qissa: The Ghost is a Lonely Traveller Tiff 2013 Special Review

  • Bollyspice
From the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival we revisit our Qissa review.

Set in post-Partition India, Qissa (“Folktale”) introduces us to Sikh patriarch Umber Singh (Irrfan Khan). Forced to leave his village (in Pakistan territory), Umber takes his family (consisting of his wife, two daughters, and a newborn baby girl whom he refuses to look at – “I’ve seen enough girls,” he tells his wife, Mehar) and sets out to rebuild his life. “The Partition scattered us like birds in a storm,” he says, and Qissa sets out to examine the effect of the loss of home, nation, identity; showing how, in Umber, it affects how he relates to his family. “Who am I?” asks Umber. “What am I? What curse have I brought down on myself?”

The curse, for Umber, takes form not only in the loss of his home, and in having to rebuild in Indian Territory, but
See full article at Bollyspice »

The Brand New Trailer For Irrfan Khan’s Film Qissa Out Now

The official trailer of Fdc’s international co-production, Qissa, The Tale Of A Lonely Ghost a Punjabi language feature film by Anup Singh, starring Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome and Rasika Dugal among others has released.

The film has been received well in the International Film Festivals all over for its unique story and performances.

Qissa, The Tale Of A Lonely Ghost is now set to release in India on February 20, 2015 simultaneously across select theatres, on Nfdc’s VOD site www.cinemasofindia.com and on DVD, thereby making the Punjabi language feature film accessible to a diverse pan Indian audience.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=so9jp-tpMEw

The story of the film:

Uprooted by the religious violence that came with partition in 1947, Umber and his family move to a safer locale attempting to forge a new life for his family while keeping their true identities a secret from their
See full article at Bollyspice »

The Triumph of Haider and the tragedy of Kashmir

The Triumph of Haider and the tragedy of Kashmir
“19 January 1990 was a very cold day despite the sun’s weak attempts to emerge from behind dark clouds…’Naara-e-taqbeer, Allah ho Akbar!’ I looked at my father; his face was contorted. He knew only too well what the slogan meant. I had heard it as well, in a stirring drama telecast a few years ago on Doordarshan, an adaptation of Bhisham Sahni’s Tamas, a novel based on the events of the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan. It was the cry that a mob of Muslim rioters shouted as it descended upon Hindu settlements. It was a war cry…The crowd wanted to turn Kashmir into Pakistan, without the Pandit men, but with their women…Ma rushed to the kitchen and returned with a long knife. It was her father’s. ‘If they come, I will kill her,’ she looked at my sister. ‘And then I will kill myself. And
See full article at DearCinema.com »

Haider: The Round Table Discussion

“I think originality can only come in spaces which are unexplored. So if you want to try and do original work you have to learn to take risks.” – Shahid Kapoor

BollySpice caught up with Director Vishal Bhardwaj and actor Shahid Kapoor over a round table discussion in London.

Exploring Haider, the upcoming Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, we delved further on the significance of Kashmir as the backdrop, what it took to prepare for the challenging role of Hamlet, why Shahid Kapoor was specifically chosen to play the part and much more!

Haider completes Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearian Bollywood trilogy, the former two being Maqbool (Macbeth) and Omkara (Othello). Haider stars Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead.

Press: Why did you choose to shoot the film in Kashmir? You’ve already been asked that question a hundred times!

Vishal Bhardwaj:
See full article at Bollyspice »

Irrfan Khan Delights in London Indian Film Festival Selection

Award winning actor Irrfan Khan, known internationally for his stellar roles in The Lunchbox, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Paan Singh Tomar and D-Day is delighted that his new film Qissa, directed by Anup Singh, has been selected for the 5th edition of the London Indian Film Festival (Liff, July 10-17). Irrfan was a big hit in London last year when he delivered a masterclass at the prestigious British Film Institute and was present at the sold out festival screening of D-Day.

Says Irrfan: “I’m delighted my film Qissa will be screened at Liff this year. What makes me even happier is that you’ll see something very different of me. I believe there is a quality of performance in Qissa that goes beyond skill or experience. What seems to emerge from the performances here is a gentle but powerful rhythm that will bring to your mind the music of our mystic traditions.
See full article at Bollyspice »

5th London Indian Film Festival: BollySpice’s picks

The date is getting closer. There are less than two weeks left for the London Indian Film Festival, Europe’s largest festival of its kind. Celebrating its 5th edition, Liff brings to the capital an array of South Asian independent films as well as some very exciting events.

This year’s programme includes a variety of films, from some glamorous releases to highly harrowing stories. Check out the full programme at http://www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/

Liff starts on Thursday 10th July.

In the meantime, our BollySpice writers have elaborated a selection of the most awaited films and events.

Sold

For me it has to be the opening night film Sold. It is the tale of a young girl who is sold into prostitution. Seen through her eyes we witness the tragedy of her experiences, the everyday living that she does to cope and the hope that she will escape
See full article at Bollyspice »

“The London Indian Film Festival shows films with more realistic, funky and sometimes challenging images of India.” -Festival Director Cary Sawhney

For the last five years, the London Indian Film Festival has showcased a unique selection of films from all over India. As they say, going way Beyond Bollywood, Liff brings cutting edge films from some of the world’s most innovative filmmakers. Led by festival director Mr Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Liff has grown to become Europe’s biggest Indian film festival. This year, once again, they are bringing the cool and eclectic along with hard hitting and moving films during the week long festival that runs July 10th through the 17th. We caught up with Mr Sawhney to get the scoop on what audiences will see when they experience Liff this year.

How would you describe the London Indian Film Festival?

London Indian Film Festival is dedicated to profiling the best of new independent films from India and its neighbours. I am glad to say we caught the wave early
See full article at Bollyspice »

London Indian Film Festival Cool Beyond Bollywood 2014 Programme

Get ready London film fans! The fabulous London Indian Film Festival, running July 10th – 17th, will bring you an eclectic and cool mix of films! Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the Capital, in association with Pure Heaven, the British Film Institute, and official Hotel Partner Grange Hotels, celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema and bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of the Indian subcontinent’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of India and the subcontinent today, in all its diversity.

The festival has many highlights and will showcase Emma Thompson’s Sold and Million Dollar Arm, which stars Jon Hamm and also boasts a bevy of Bollywood stars! The festival will stretch citywide,
See full article at Bollyspice »

The 12th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles: April 8-13, 2014

This year the 12th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Iffla) includes a lineup of narrative and documentary features and short films. The impressive program reflects the rich diversity of Indian cinema, as well as the future of Indian filmmaking, with cutting-edge filmmakers and emerging voices bringing their acclaimed films to Los Angeles.

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. Iffla will run April 8-13 at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles, the festival’s home since its inception. Jadoo, an exploration of family bonds amidst two feuding brothers’ restaurants in England, will screen as the festival’s Closing Night Gala. The film is written and directed by Iffla alum Amit Gupta, and first premiered at the 2013 Berlinale. It features a wonderful ensemble cast that includes Kulvinder Ghir, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Tom Mison, and Madhur Jaffrey. As previously announced, Iffla will open with Jeffrey D. Brown’s Sold, produced by Jane Charles and executive produced by Emma Thompson.

Iffla 2014 wil l present more than 33 films, including three world premieres, six North American premieres, six U.S. premieres, and 16 Los Angeles premieres. The films feature 10 different languages, from Hindi to Marathi, to Russian to Bengali. Additionally, Iffla supports American, Australian, British, Canadian, and European diaspora filmmakers from nine different countries telling their stories.

“I'm thrilled and proud that Iffla's line-up this year includes an especially diverse range of cinematic experiences, covering many regions of India and the diaspora,” said Iffla’s Artistic Director Jasmine Jaisinghani. "We would like to thank our Programming Advisor in India, Uma Da Cunha, for helping our programming team source some of these exceptional films."

Program highlights include: the North American premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s latest, Ugly an intense, masterfully directed psychological thriller that premiered in the 2013 Director’s Fortnight section of Cannes; Liar's Dice, the remarkable directorial debut of South Indian actress Geetu Mohandas that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; Anup Singh’s latest feature Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost, starring Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire), winner of Netpac Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Dioraphte Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam; the Audience Award winner at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival Hank and Asha , an exploratory, romantic look at two people bonding in the digital age by newcomer James E. Duff; Nagraj Manjule’s Fandry, a highly praised debut feature for its multilayered emotion and realism on the subject of caste discrimination; Brahmin Bulls starring Roshan Seth (Gandhi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Mississippi Masala) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast, Heroes) as an estranged father and son unexpectedly brought together to confront the family’s past; and Siddharth, a nuanced look at a family whose son goes missing, by lauded Canadian director and Iffla alum Richie Mehta (Amal).

The festival's feature documentary competition includes an eclectic mix of films from established and upcoming filmmakers that consider India's unique traditions and dynamic future. The films include: the world premiere of

The Auction House , an intimate and funny look at two brothers trying to keep their anachronistic family business going in the digital age; festival favorite Powerless, which depicts intense struggles over electricity in a mid-size Indian city; Faith Connections, Iffla alum Pan Nalin's beautiful and rare look at the Kumbh Mela; and the National Award-winning Shepherds of Paradise, about an arduous, mountainous trek through an animal drive in the Kashmiri winter.

The Bollywood by Night series returns this year with Bombay Talkies and Monsoon Shootout. Premiering at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Bombay Talkies is a quartet of short films that celebrates 100 years of Indian cinema. The omnibus film features work by four of India’s most exciting contemporary directors: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, and Anurag Kashyap, as well as a stellar cast that includes Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, and Katrina Kaif. Monsoon Shoutout is a thrilling debut by Iffla alum writer/director Amit Kumar about how a split-second decision made by a rookie police officer has rippling effects in his life and the lives of those around him.

The shorts competition showcases a diverse selection of 15 films that include narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated works. Highlights of this year’s program include Academy Award® shortlisted Kush; Sundance award winner Love.Love.Love.; and the world premiere of acclaimed director Umesh Kulkarni’s The Fly.

Festival Passes and Gala tickets are currently on sale at the festival's website.

For more information, please visit:

Website: www.indianfilmfestival.org.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ indianfilmfestival

Twitter: https://twitter.com /iffla

Tumblr: http://indianfilmfestival.tumblr.com/

About Iffla

Now in its 12th year, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Iffla) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.

Opening Night Gala

Sold

Los Angeles Premiere

USA/2014/97min

Director: Jeffrey D. Brown

Producer: Jane Charles

Executive Producer: Emma Thompson

Screenwriters: Joseph Kwong, Jeffrey D. Brown

Composer: John McDowell, Sammy Chand, Salim & Sulaiman Merchant

Cast: Susmita Mukherjee, Seema Biswas, Tillotama Shome, Niyar Saikia, Priyanka Bose, Ankur Vikal, Parambrata Chatterjee, Gillian Anderson, David Arquette

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Jeffrey D. Brown adapts Patricia McCormick’s novel Sold – a National Book Award finalist – into a vivid, harrowing and inspiring story of a young girl’s resilience in the face of unspeakable cruelty.

Closing Night

Jadoo

Los Angeles Premiere

UK/2013/84 mins

Director: Amit Gupta

Producers: Amanda Faber, Isabelle Georgeaux, Richard Holmes, Nikki Parrott

Screenwriter: Amit Gupta

Composer: Stephen Warbeck

Cast: Kulvinder Ghir, Amara Karan, Harish Patel, Tom Mison, Madhur Jaffrey

Set in Leicester, England, Amit Gupta’s culinary comedy charts the chaos that ensues when young Shalini gets engaged to her longtime boyfriend Mark. The fact that Mark is not Indian is the least of Shalini’s concerns. Her father Raja and uncle Jagi have been at war for years. After a legendary falling out that caused them to close their family restaurant, each man opened his own establishment – directly across the street from one another! Shalini’s dream wedding would see both men put aside their differences and prepare the feast together, but resentment runs deep and neither man can hear mention of the other’s name without a spike in blood pressure. Both the prospect of disappointing their beloved Shalini and the threat of a new, hip restaurant opening in the area force Raja and Jagi to work together – but for how long? In this uproariously funny and heartfelt exploration of family bonds, shared history and gastronomic perfection, Gupta’s cast is endlessly appealing. Plus, there’s enough mouth-watering Indian food on display to have your stomach growling before the credits roll.

Feature Films

Before My Eyes (Ankhon Dekhi)

Los Angeles Premiere

India/2013/107min

Director: Rajat Kapoor Producer: Manish Mundra

Screenwriter: Rajat Kapoor

Cast: Sanjay Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa, Rajat Kapoor, Taranjeet, Maya Sarao

Celebrated writer, director, and actor Rajat Kapoor (Midnight’s Children, Monsoon Wedding, Mixed Doubles, Mithya) paints an offbeat yet thought-provoking portrait of domestic life in modern day Delhi when an incident prompts head of the family Bauji to reject anything he himself has not experienced, much to the exasperation of his extended family but to the delight of his newfound philosopher disciples. Balancing the comical and the existential, both Bauji and the film ask the basic question, ‘Can you know truth without true experience?’

Brahmin Bulls

Los Angeles Premiere

USA/96min/2013

Director: Mahesh Pailoor

Producer: Yoshinobu Tsuji

Screenwriters: Anu Pradhan, Mahesh Pailoor

Cast: Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth, Mary Steenburgen, Justin Bartha, Cassidy Freeman, Monica Raymund, Michael Lerner

Mahesh Pailoor's tender, funny, and touching debut tells the story of estranged father and son Ashok and Sid, who reunite at Sid's Los Angeles home when Ashok arrives unexpectedly. Each man is keeping secrets from one another, and when the truth is revealed, parent and child must work even harder to close the rift between them.

Fandry

North American Premiere

India/2013/103min

Director: Nagraj Manjule

Producers: Vivek Kajaria, Nilesh Navalakha

Screenwriter: Nagraj Manjule

Cast: Kishor Kadam, Chhaya Kadam, Somnath Awghade, Suraj Pawar, Rajshree Kharat, Sakshi Vyavhare, Aishvarya Shinde, Nagraj Manjule

Marathi poet Nagraj Manjule's impressive debut feature tells the story of Jabya, a Dalit boy, and his family's struggle against daily prejudice in their Maharashtra village. Jabya's carefree childhood desires and antics are soon stifled by his family's "untouchable" status, and the film's gradual transformation into an insightful and damning look at caste discrimination builds from a murmur to a defiant roar. Refusing to reduce his Dalit characters to victims – most explicitly at the film's explosive conclusion - Manjule's socially reflective film has received critical acclaim in India.

Hank and Asha

Los Angeles Premiere

USA/2013/73min

Director: James E. Duff

Producers: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison

Screenwriters: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison

Cast: Mahira Kakkar, Andrew Pastides

James E. Duff's feature directorial debut, the Audience Award winner at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival, is an endearing tale of a long-distance connection in the digital age. Hank and Asha, two aspiring filmmakers separated by an ocean, connect with one another through video messages and quickly find themselves heading towards romance. That is, until Asha reveals some surprising news. Duff has created a captivating ode to the new possibilities open to us now that the world's gotten smaller.

Liar's Dice

Los Angeles Premiere

India/2013/104min

Director: Geetu Mohandas

Producers: Alan McAlex, Ajay G. Rai

Screenwriter: Geetu Mohandas

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Geetanjali Thapa, Manya Gupta

Established actress Geetu Mohandas steps behind the lens for her bracing directorial debut. A woman named Kamala and her daughter journey from their remote Himalayan village to Delhi in search of Kamala's missing husband. They find a guide in an unfriendly wanderer whose interest may lie more in his personal gain than in any help he can offer them. Beautifully shot by Rajeev Ravi (Gangs of Wasseypur), Mohandas' film evokes a hazardous world where answers may never be clear and a helping hand always comes at a price.

Phoring

North American Premiere

India/2013/128min

Director: Indranil Roychowdhury

Producers: Anasua Roychowdury, Sugata Bal

Screenwriters: Indranil Roychowdhury, Sugata Sinha

Cast: Akash Adhikary, Sohini Sarkar, Sourav Basak, Ritwick Charaborty, Shankar Debnath, Senjuti Roymukherjee

Indranil Roychowdhury's stunning feature debut is an evocative, unpredictable tale of confused adolescence in a struggling North Bengal town. Phoring, an imaginative adolescent boy, and his beautiful new teacher Doel form a close friendship that soon arouses doubt and suspicion when Doel's presence in the town is revealed to have less-than-noble origins. Roychowdhury accomplishes a tricky feat with his first film by luring us with the promise of an inspirational teacher-student story before ultimately delivering a much more complex and truthful account of the joys and pains of growing up.

Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost (2013)

Los Angeles Premiere Germany-India-Netherlands/2013/109min

Director: Anup Singh

Producers: Bero Beyer, Johannes Rexin, Bettina Brokemper, Thierry Lenouvel

Screenwriter: Anup Singh, Madhuja Mukherjee

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome, Rasika Dugal

Set in 1940s Punjab, Anup Singh’s latest feature Qissa details the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistan Partition through the experiences of one Sikh family, headed by Umber (Irrfan Khan). Following the family’s forceful displacement from their village, Umber’s desire for a male heir is stronger than ever. When his wife gives birth to their fourth daughter, Kanwar, Umber makes the fateful decision to raise her as a boy. This tragic choice ends up dividing the family in violent ways, and provokes a series of increasingly unsettling situations for Kanwar as she grows up. While in a sense a ghost story, the source of pain and suffering is all too real.

Siddharth

Los Angeles Premiere

Canada-India/2013/96min

Director: Richie Mehta

Producers: David Miller, Steven N. Bray

Screenwriter: Richie Mehta

Cast: Rajesh Tailang, Tannishtha Chatterjee

A celebrated Iffla alum, Canadian director Richie Mehta returns to the festival with a heartbreaking story of parents Mahendra and Suman, whose son goes missing after being sent to work 200 miles north of Delhi. Carried by powerful yet restrained performances from Rajesh Tailang and Tannishtha Chatterjee as the parents, Mehta and cast capture the dignity of those facing the unthinkable. Mehta's chance encounter with a man searching for his lost son alerted him to the underreported plight of the families of 44,000 children estimated missing in India every year.

Ugly

North American Premiere

India/2013/128mins/Dcp

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Writer: Anurag Kashyap

Producers: Vikas Bahl, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vivek Rangachari, Arun Rangachari

Cast: Rahul Bhatt, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Anshika Shrivastava

When ten-year-old Kali disappears from her father Rahul's car on the busy streets of Mumbai, the events that follow quickly spiral out of control and plunge into a morass of corruption and violence. Rahul and Kali's mother, Shalini, are divorced. Shalini is now married to Shoumik, the local police chief. When Shoumik learns that his stepdaughter is missing, he and Rahul clash in a breathless race to find the girl. With intricate plotting and vivid characterizations, Iffla alum Anurag Kashyap fashions a story that's sure to keep the heart racing.

Writers (Sulemani Keeda)

North American Premiere

India/2013/90min

Director: Amit V Masurkar

Writer: Amit V Masurkar

Producer: Datta Dave

Cast: Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev and Karan Mirchandani

Writing partners Dulal and Mainak dream of shaking up Bollywood in director Amit Masurkar's slacker comedy. The two young men take a job from the wealthy, oddball son of a famous B-movie producer, but soon fear they're on the path to selling out. Masurkar's film captures the creative spirit of Andheri West, a Mumbai suburb where writers, directors, and actors come from all over India with the dream of working in the film industry, and is a sweet taste of things to come from the new "hindie" cinema.

Documentary Features

The Auction House: A Tale of Two Brothers

World Premiere

UK/2014/85min

Director: Ed Owles

Producers: Ed Owles, Giovanna Stopponi

The auction houses of Kolkata used to be where the rich and famous found the right high-end objects to decorate their homes. Today, the family-owned Russell Exchange is the last, and oldest, one to remain in India. Director Ed Owles follows two brothers, with the older brother moving back to Kolkata from London with hopes of using his Western business acumen to bring the Exchange into the 21st century. However, in a country radically transformed by technology and a rising youth culture, it may already be too late.

Faith Connections

Los Angeles Premiere

France-India/2013/115min/Dcp

Director: Pan Nalin

Producers: Raphaël Berdugo, Gaurav Dhingra, Pan Nalin, Virginie Lacombe

Every three years, Hindus gather at one of four rotating sites for Kumbh Mela, a religious celebration of faith and devotion marked by bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganges. With 100 million people at the 2013 Kumbh Mela, the pilgrimage is said to be the largest gathering on the planet. Iffla alum Pan Nalin crafts a moving and unique view of the mass gathering and presents unique stories of how individuals came to be there to share in the belief of the divine.

Powerless (Katiyabaaz)

Los Angeles Premiere

India/2013/82min

Director: Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar

Producers: Fahad Mustafa, Deepti Kakkar, Judy Tam, Leopold Koegler

Screenwriter: Fahad Mustafa

In Kanpur, a city of three million that has seen better days, one of the only ways for many residents to get electricity is to steal it. Co-directors Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar focus their attention on the likes of pirate engineers like Loha Singh and first female CEO at the local power authority Ritu Maheshwari. Coupled with beautiful photography of the intricately tied together powerlines of the city and a pulsating original score, they present a unique documentary about current-day India and its future battles over limited resources.

Shepherds of Paradise

U.S. Premiere

India/2013/50min

Director/Producer/Screenwriter/Cinematographer/Editor: Raja Shabir Khan

Composer: Bilal Iran

Nomadic herder Gafoor has to lead his large flock of goats, sheep, cows and horses across Jammu all the way to Kashmir so they can graze. Director Raja Shabir Khan presents lives few have ever seen, let alone lived, with simple beauty and real terror in a film that has won major National Awards in India. A cinematic wonder that must be seen to truly understand, Shepherds of Paradise is a testament of the power of film to transport us to other lands and experiences.

Bollywood By Night

Bombay Talkies

North American Premiere

India/117min/2013

Directors: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap

Producers: Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Guneet Monga

Screenwriters: Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Anurag Kashyap

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan , Rani Mukerji, Katrina Kaif, Randeep Hooda, Saqib Saleem, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

A quartet of short films directed by four of India’s most exciting contemporary filmmakers celebrates 100 years of Indian cinema in this omnibus film. Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap crafts a tale of ordinary people whose love of movies profoundly alters the course of their lives. Each story beautifully captures how lovers of cinema can’t help but carry that fascination into their day-to-day life. Haven’t we all wished, at one time or another, that our lives were more like a film?

Monsoon Shootout

Los Angeles Premiere

India-uk-Netherlands/2013/88min

Director: Amit Kumar

Producers: Trevor Ingman, Guneet Monga, Martijn De Grunt

Screenwriter: Amit Kumar

Cast: Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Geetanjali Thapa

A split-second decision made by a rookie police officer propels writer/director Amit Kumar’s debut feature, which fascinatingly splinters into three separate, equally pulse-pounding scenarios. In a secluded alley drenched in the pouring rain, principled cop Adi aims his gun at Shiva, a vicious gangster on the run. What Adi decides to do next will reverberate throughout his personal and professional life in ways he could never imagine. Kumar thus explores the ripple effect our choices have, and how we unknowingly alter the lives of those around us.

Shorts

Aarti

Shorts Program 2

World Premiere

USA/2013/4min

Director: David Walter Lech

Producer: Terrie Samundra

A hypnotic look into the nightly “ceremony of light” ritual in a Hindu temple in Sheikhupur, Punjab.

Alchemy

Shorts Program 2

U.S. Premiere

India/2013/5min

Directors: Pranay Patwardhan, Shivangi Ranawat, Janmeet Singh

Producer: Pritesh Varia

A bold and vibrant song to the intricate fabric of modern day India, a kaleidoscope of voices, colors and traditions.

Bhiwani Junction

Shorts Program 1

Los Angeles Premiere

USA/2013/18min

Director: Abhi Singh

Producer: Abhi Singh

A poignant documentary portrait of Himanshu, a 12-year old boxer, whose formidable commitment to the sport makes his lofty dreams to become an Olympic champion appear well within reach.

Black Rock (Kaatal)

Shorts Program 1

U.S. Premiere

India/2012/22min

Director: Vikrant Pawar

Producer: Film and Television Institute of India

Two young lovers spend one last afternoon together. A beautiful meditation on the ephemeral nature of young love that has won three of India’s National Film Awards.

The Fly (Makhi)

Shorts Program 2

World Premiere

India/2013/31min

Director: Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni

Producer: Film and Television Institute of India

Employed as a Fly Killer in an upscale restaurant, Pipal must ensure a fly-free environment by smacking dead the flies that buzz over the patrons’ heads. When a nearby drainage is closed and the source of the fly infestation eradicated, Pipal must find a way to produce enough live flies to save his job, in this delightfully absurdist commentary on urban India’s emerging work culture.

Beloved (Humsafar)

Shorts Program 2

U.S. Premiere

India/2012/6min

Directors/Writers: Swapnil Awate, Laura Erbacher

Producer: Dsk Supinfocom

A sweeping single shot takes us on the breathtaking animated journey of two lovers and their eternal pursuit of harmony.

Jaya

Shorts Program 2

USA/2013/19min

Director: Puja Maewal

Producer: Puja Maewal

Young Jaya is able to survive the gruesome gang life in the unforgiving streets of Mumbai by posing as a boy. When she meets a wealthy businessman who looks like he could be the father who abandoned her, she sets out to reclaim her identity, in this engrossing drama that was shortlisted for a Student Academy Award®.

Kush

Shorts Program 1

India/2013/25min

Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani

Producer: Shubhashish Bhutiani

A bus full of schoolchildren boisterously makes its way back from a field trip when the news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her Sikh bodyguards breaks. As violence quickly erupts across the country, Kush, the only Sikh student in the class, must find a way to escape the unquenchable fury of retribution, in this gripping drama that was shortlisted for an Academy Award®.

Little Gypsy (Kachho Gadulo)

Shorts Program 1

Los Angeles Premiere

India/2012/6min

Directors: Saptesh Chaubal, Pranay Patwardhan, Shivangi Ranawat

Producer: D.S.K. Supinfocom

Inspired by the folk traditions of various parts of India, this stunning animated film sweeps us into a mythical journey that celebrates the power of play and imagination.

Love.Love.Love.

Shorts Program 2

Los Angeles Premiere

Russian Federation/2013/12min

Director: Sandhya Daisy Sundaram

Producers: Tanya Petrik, Guillaume Protsenko

An intimate ode to the wondrous force of love, as it takes new shapes and forms through the endless Russian winters. Love. Love.Love. won the Short Film Special Jury Award for Non-Fiction at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Outpost

Shorts Program 1

U.S. Premiere

India-usa/2013/17min

Director: Shiva Shankar Bajpai

Producer: Aditi Anand

In the barren desert of the India-Pakistan border, two lone army guards on the opposite sides of the line yearn for booze, mosquito repellent and some human contact, in this humorous glimpse into the absurdity of rigid immaterial divides.

Presence

Shorts Program 2

U.S. Premiere

India/2012/17min

Directors: Ekta Mittal, Yashaswini Raghunandan

Producers: Ekta Mittal, Yashaswini Raghunandan

Long days and nights spent within the bellies of the rising structural beasts that rapidly transform the city of Bangalore bring on visions of ghosts that speak of the construction workers’ memories, longings and fears, in this haunting meditation on the migrant experience.

Skin Deep

Screens with Writers

U.S. Premiere

India/2013/20min

Director: Hardik Mehta

Producers: Devang Bhavsar, Niraj Kothari

Sanjay and Sushma plan to elope to escape a looming arranged marriage. They are in love and their future together shines bright and perfect and filled with possibility--that is, as long as an extra piece of skin that complicates their sex life gets fixed in what should be a routine medical procedure. But Mumbai’s electricity gods have other plans in store for them.

Small Yellow Field (Tau Seru)

Shorts Program 1

Los Angeles Premiere

Australia-India/2013/8min

Director: Rodd Rathjen

Producer: Rodd Rathjen

In the remote vastness of the Himalayas, a young nomad's curiosity lies beyond the horizon. This stunningly photographed film made its world premiere at Cannes Critics’ Week.

The Puppet (Tamaash)

Screens with Shepherds Of Paradise

Los Angeles Premiere

India/2013/32min

Directors: Devanshu Singh, Satyanshu Singh

Producers: Datta Dave, Chaitanya Hegde, Omar Nissar Paul, Devanshu Singh, Satyanshu Singh

A mysterious puppet offers young Anzar the chance to escape his father’s relentless punishments over his poor school grades by granting him the power to inflict misfortune on his nemesis, his brilliant classmate, Sadat. However, his newfound peace is short-lived as Sadat falls severely ill and Anzar comes to realize that the puppet’s powers are spiraling out of his control
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Writer/Director Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad talks Jinn

Based on a concept known to half the world, and being unleashed on the big screen for the first time, the new supernatural adventure Jinn releases in theaters nationwide today. Starring Serinda Swan, Ray Park, Faran Tahir, Dominic Rains, and William Atherton, Jinn tells the story of Shawn (Dominic Rains), an automotive designer, who enjoys an idyllic life with his new wife Jasmine (Serinda Swan) until it is interrupted by a cryptic message. The message warns of imminent danger and a curse that has afflicted his family for generations. Having lost his parents as a child, Shawn doesn’t believe this unsettling revelation of his past….until strange things start to happen.

Unable to explain the threats and fearing for his life, Shawn turns to Gabriel (Ray Park) and Father Westhoff (William Atherton), a mysterious duo claiming to have answers. With their help, and the aid of Ali (Faran Tahir), a shackled mental patient,
See full article at Bollyspice »

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles to showcase Bombay Talkies, Ugly and More

From April 8th to the 11th, Indian films will once again be showcased in the Us at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Iffla). In its 12th year, Iffla boasts an incredible lineup of fabulous films that reflects the rich diversity of Indian cinema. Iffla’s Artistic Director Jasmine Jaisinghani says, “I’m thrilled and proud that Iffla’s line-up this year includes an especially diverse range of cinematic experiences, covering many regions of India and the diaspora.”

Iffla 2014 presents 33 films that include feature films, documentaries and shorts. The festival will have three world premieres, six North American premieres, six U.S. premieres, and 16 Los Angeles premieres. The films feature 10 different languages, from Hindi to Marathi, to Russian to Bengali. Additionally, Iffla supports American, Australian, British, Canadian, and European diaspora filmmakers from nine different countries telling their stories.

Bollywood will be well represented with three outstanding films all showing during the festival’s run.
See full article at Bollyspice »

Reflections 2013: Best Films 2013

2013 has been somewhat of a good year for Bollywood. There were the hits, the flops, the critically acclaimed and the critically panned releases that touched the hearts of millions of film fanatics. To celebrate the best which Bollywood has offered in 2013, BollySpice presents to you our official countdown list. We have made it all the more interesting by dividing the Best Films category by genre. This is largely because of the fact that we feel that films which belong to different genres cannot be included in one single list. For example, a comedy cannot be compared with a drama due to their content being significantly different. We hope you agree with our choices for 2013 and also hope that it will tempt you to watch some of these amazing releases if you have yet to see them!

Best Films: Drama

3. Raanjhanaa – Director: Anand L. Rai. Producer: Krishika Lulla

Raanjhanaa marked the
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