Sangeeta Datta’s award winning feature Life Goes On (SD Films, UK/india) opened in UK national cinemas on Friday 11th March. Distributed by Miracle Communications, the film is running in 20 cinemas In London and across the nation. The gala screening at Empire, Leicester Square ran to a full house with India talent Girish Karnad and the Brit-Asian actors Rez Kempton, Mukulika Banerjee, Christopher Hatherall, Steph Patten in attendance. The Q & A with director Sangeeta Datta and the cast ran for 45 minute rekindling interest in the history of Indian partition and the aftermath of communal violence and displacement.
Director Datta says, “The film is a freewheeling adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear in a contemporary British Asian context.” The same afternoon there was a special screening and student forum at London University, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), where post screening discussion ranged from Shakespearean adaptation, generational conflict and the urgent problem of prejudice and Islamophobia.
Shot almost entirely in London with a British crew, the film stars prominent Indian actors Sharmila Tagore, Om Puri and Girish Karnad. Sharmila is cast for the first time with her real life daughter Soha Ali Khan.
Covered widely by BBC radio, the popular music is being aired on TV channels. The composer Soumik has trained in composition at Trinity College of Music and is a well known sarod player.
The film has been hailed by renowned film critic Derek Malcolm as “the most important non- Bollywood film of its year.” Film Bible Sight and Sound (published by British Film Institute) has called it “both a paean to death and a celebration of life”. The film has been reviewed in mainstream publications including the Times, The Guardian, Evening Standard, Empire Magazine and Time Out.
Life Goes On will release in India on 25th March and is distributed by Priya Entertainment and Inox.
WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING:
“Intelligent, perceptive and very good acting. The best non-Bollywood Indian film of its year.” – Derek Malcolm, Evening Standard.
“A touching cross- cultural drama.” – Sunday Express
“A sensitive and cinematic drama” – Empire Review
“An accomplished first feature” – Sight and Sound
“Sangeeta deals with the real London – not of Bollywood stars in leather jackets and motorbikes. She deals with the face of Islam and other important issues but in a quiet way and that is the strength of the film. It’s not in your face.” – Yasmin Alibhai Brown
“A warm and humane tale of life in London for two generations of a South Asian family where the bitter memories of the past fail to thwart future joys…brilliantly crafted and acted and a musical delight.” – Lord Meghnad Desai
“Features a lively soundtrack from classical music to Tagore to London streets.” – Andrew Marr, BBC Radio 4.
WHAT THE AUDIENCE IS SAYING
“What an AMAZING film! Saw this last night and was honoured to be joined by members of the cast and crew. A beautifully shot film and I connected with the film in so many ways! Well done to everyone involved!” – Will Watts, London Gala screening audience member.
“A beautiful, subtle film, superbly shot and acted.” – Eleanor Hall, London Gala screening audience member.
“At once contemporary and contemplative.” – New York MIAAC audience member
“Very lyrical, residual, thought provoking…will watch it again!” – Florida Tampa Bay Festival closing film audience.
“Made me see my city, my family and myself in a new light…” – London audience
Check out a few images from the premiere: