London Indian Film Festival Award Winners announced

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The second annual London Indian Film Festival has drawn to a close on another very successful year. Over the course of June 30 to July 12th, screenings of some of the best “Beyond Bollywood” films were showcased. Audiences voted for their favourite films across 28 screenings during the festival and the winner was Indian independent cinema’s groundbreaking director Ketan Mehta’s Rang Rasiya (Colours of Passion).

Mehta said: “I am thrilled that my passion project has won the coveted audience award at the London Indian Film Festival. The premiere in the historic surroundings of the Victoria & Albert museum was wonderful and the interaction with London audiences was great. This award is the icing on the cake.”

Also announced was the winner of The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s Short Film Award for 2011, which went  to a film that the judges felt was a well crafted, beautifully observed and honest ‘day-in-the-life’ portrait of a poor but aspirational young boy – Amar by filmmaker Andrew Hinton. Hinton said that he would share his £1,000 prize money with the boy. Jury member Menhaj Huda (director of Kidulthood and Everywhere and Nowhere) presented the award.

The festival opened with the World Premiere of Abhinay Deo’s Delhi Belly, produced by Aamir Khan Productions and UTV Motion Pictures and closed with the UK premiere of Srijit Mukherji’s hit film Autograph, both at the Cineworld Haymarket. The closing night screening was preceded by a performance by chart-topping musician Raghu Dixit and followed by a lively Q&A with Autograph star Nandana Sen, who also stars in Rang Rasiya.

LIFF also hosted the UK premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl in Yellow Boots at the BFI and the film has secured UK distribution on the back of the sold out screening. Other highlights were the premieres of Memories in March and Aarekti Premer Golpo(Just Another Love Story) with director turned actor Rituparno Ghosh participating in Q&As about the films that explore gay and transgender experience.

Festival Director Cary Sawhney said: “It’s been an amazing year for us, in spite of the recession, many people have got behind our festival and really made it work, including our internationally known team. In just two years we are pleased to have brought to London some of India’s top talent, including the World Premiere of Delhi Belly from the Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan stable, which has become a global hit; to sold out Q&As with leading independent directors Anurag Kashyap, Rituparno Ghosh and the legendary Ketan Mehta, at some of London’s top venues. Excited about next year.”

You read all about the Festival here!

Rang Raisya: Ketan Mehta’s film charts the life of the great Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma (played by Randeep Hooda), from his early days under the patronage of a King of Kerala, moving on to British Bombay in the late 1800s, where he makes his fortune. Here the genius gives birth to Indian modern art and helps inspire the independence movement and the dawning of Indian cinema with his depictions, which bring to life the Hindu gods and goddesses. He must first find his muse who comes in the lavish form of Sugandha (Nandana Sen).  Varma’s fascination for his model turns into a torrid, paint-smeared, love affair, which is reflected in his art. The religious power brokers see his increasingly eroticised work as dangerous and Varma is dragged to the British courts to be tried for blasphemy. Mehta’s homage offers not only a spectacular insight into a turning point in Indian history, but also questions the freedom of the artist in contemporary society.

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