An exclusive appearance by acclaimed writer, filmmaker and composer Vishal Bhardwaj and a celebration of the life of Bollywood legend Yash Chopra are among the many highlights as the London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) returns in June.
Bhardwaj will provide a world exclusive sneak peek into his hugely anticipated new film ‘Haider’, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, during a talk on 08 June at London’s famous Globe Theatre, often referred to as the Bard’s “spiritual home” away from his birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon.
‘Haider’ – set in Kashmir and starring Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu and Irrfan Khan – completes Bhardwaj’s trilogy of Shakespearean adaptations following ‘Maqbool’ (Macbeth) and ‘Omkara’ (Othello).
The film is already generating considerable buzz in the industry and is certain to be a shoo-in come awards season.
Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry, founder of LAFF, said: “Vishal Bharwaj’s adaptations provide a unique insight into the shared heritage between UK and India as he mixes the spirit and essence of both cultures. We are also delighted to be part of the 450th anniversary celebrations of William Shakespeare’s birth with a unique insight into Indian cinema’s attraction for the plays by the Bard of Avon.”
The appearance by director Bhardwaj is one of a number of high profile events at the record 16th edition of LAFF which takes place at venues across London 1 June – 14 June.
The Festival will open with the European premier of ‘Lakshmi’, the award-winning human trafficking drama written and directed by another one of India’s most respected filmmakers, Nagesh Kukunoor. The screening will be followed by an exclusive tete-a-tete with Kukunoor at London’s historic Tricycle Theatre.
Bhardwaj and Kukonoor will be among a slew of film talent who will be attending a variety of events during Europe’s oldest Film Festival dedicated to independent South Asian cinema.
Pam Chopra, wife of the late Yash Chopra, will chair an intimate and deeply personal discussion on her legendary filmmaker husband. Mrs Chopra will be joined by a very special guest for the discussion on the life and work of arguably the most popular and populist Bollywood filmmaker of the past half century.
“The late Yash Chopra is regarded as the king of romance in Indian cinema who presented the notion of falling in love with a sense of aspiration, escapism and adventure”, Dr Chowdhry says.
“His love for Britain is evident in his iconic films like ‘Lamhe’ and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ as he leaves behind a unique legacy of visual aesthetics that continue to inspire a new generation of film makers.”
Among the other highlights at LAFF 2014 will be a very special homage to the late, great Rituparno Ghosh, often described as the “spiritual successor” to Satyajit Ray; an exclusive of a documentary based on the hilarious one-woman satire by Pakistani-American comic Nadia P. Mansoor; a special digital competition of five films celebrating the shared heritage between Britain and India to mark this year’s 400th anniversary of the beginning of formal relations between the two countries and the LAFF Short Film Competition.
Dr Chowdhry adds: “This year, The London Asian Film Festival has a full programme that looks at the breadth of talent in South Asian cinema worldwide addressing issues relevant to contemporary society through the cosmopolitan nature of cinema.
“The festival builds its dedication to support new talent with a specially commissioned programme of digital film as we mark the 400-year-old relationship between Britain and South Asia. We will be showcasing more work by filmmakers and artists through strands like the digital commissions and short film competition.”