Great news for our readers: BollySpice will be reporting exclusively from this year’s London Film Festival. The festival is the UK’s biggest film event, with 225 films showing. It enters its 56th year and is a 12-day celebration of filmmaking from around the world, with a host of previews and premieres.
The festival has a new Director, Clare Stewart, who previously ran the Sydney Film Festival. This year she has introduced a new theme-based category for films, clustered around the themes of Love, Debate, Dare, Laugh, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Sonic and Family. This new approach is designed to help festival goers find the films that mean most to them and to open up entry points for new audiences.
The festival has also introduced competitive sections that are given much more prominence in the festival campaign and programme. The Best Film Award in partnership with American Express; the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature and the Grierson Award for Best Documentary will now be presented to the winning films from three programme sections: Official Competition, First Feature Competition and Documentary Competition. Each section is open to international and British films and 12 films have been shortlisted for each competition.
Eight Indian films will be screened this year.The films are Aiyya by Sachin Kundalkar, Chakravyuh by Prakash Jha, Mahanagar by Satyajit Ray, Peddlers by Vasan Bala, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mira Nair, Save Your Legs! by Boyd Hicklin, Ship of Theseus by Anand Gandhi and With You, Without You by Prasanna Vithanage.
You will also get to see Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, the ambitious film adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s 1981 novel. It features an ensemble cast of Shriya Saran, Satya Bhabha, Siddharth Narayan, Anupam Kher, Shabana Azmi, Seema Biswas, Shahana Goswami, Samrat Chakrabarti, Rahul Bose, Soha Ali Khan, Anita Majumdar and Darsheel Safary.
Hardcore Bollywood fans will also be pleased to hear that Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh, featuring Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal and Manoj Bajpai will also be premiering at the festival, with Prakash and his principal cast members due to attend to walk the red carpet. The premier will take place on 11th October at London Leicester Square’s Empire cinema.
Here’s a full list of all the Indian films at the festival, BollySpice will be bringing you reviews and interviews throughout:
Aiyya by Sachin Kundalkar is a story of a Mumbai girl who falls in love with a hunky man from Tamil Nadu after catching his scent. It is produced by prolific filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.
Chakravyuh, starring Abhay Deol, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee with others, is a story of two brothers who inevitably stand on the opposite sides of the law. The film is under the Thrill Gala section of the festival. Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar gives a warm, witty and genuine insight into Calcutta’s society in the mid 50s when a housewife offers to help her husband by working as a ‘salesgirl’.
Peddlers by Vasan Bala traces survival in the city of Mumbai, with a violent narcotic cop, a drug mule and unbound loyalties.
Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an India, United States and Pakistan co-production. Based on Moshin Hamid’s novel it stars Riz Ahmed, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson and Shabana Azmi. Changez, a young man settled in New York, US pivots between a glittering stockbroker career in New York and his home culture thousands of miles away in Pakistan. The film will get a gala opening at the festival.
Save Your Legs! a co-production with Australia and directed by Boyd Hicklin is a comedy wherein a D-grade Melbourne cricket team travels to the Indian subcontinent.
Ship of Theseus by debut director Anand Gandhi is an elegant documentary style drama about three separate philosophical stories in Mumbai that converge at a single point of illumination. It also in the running for Sutherland Award, which recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debut.
With You, Without You is an Indian and Sri Lankan co-production, directed by Prasanna Vithanage tells a story of lovers from opposite sides who are forced to confront a terrible past in post-civil war Sri Lanka.
Deepa Mehta, directs Midnight’s Children based on Indian-born writer Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize-winning novel. It is in the running for the best film award along with 11 other films. Rushdie, who has written the screenplay for the film, will give a talk about Midnight’s Children, a Canada-UK production, at the festival.
The 56th BFI London Film Festival runs October 10th thru the 21st. BFI members can book now, with tickets going on general release on the 24 September and available from the BFI website.