Celebrating the burgeoning movement of alternative Indian cinema, the first ever annual London Indian Film Festival launches from 15th – 20th July in London, showcasing a repertoire of cutting edge films from some of India’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, these are films that challenge, push the boundaries, activate debate and present a more realistic view of India today in all its colour and diversity.
Showcasing the work of India’s new wave of avant-garde filmmakers, London Indian Film Festival’s programme of films will be screened across London, opening in West End at Cineworld, Haymarket then continuing at Barbican, Nehru Centre, Watermans and Genesis cinemas. The Festival covers a wide range of themes and issues from family dramas, coming-of age tales to twisted urban romance. What pervades many of these films is a new more assured Indian cool, experimenting with cinematic styles, new technology and influenced by themes both East and West, which has helped them win favour with the young in-crowd in super cities like Mumbai, as well as with connoisseurs of world cinema across the globe.
India is the largest film producing country in the world producing up to 1,000 films a year and out stripping Hollywood. But apart from mainstream Bollywood, very few of these films are seen in the UK. Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director explains, “Apart from just showing great movies, we also aim to help get these films talked about and screened more broadly in cinemas in the UK, in the same way that Iraniain cinema has been. London of course has a huge Asian audience for these movies, but many Brits would also like to see what’s going on in the 1.2 billion strong India today and cinema is a great way to do this.”
The London Indian Film Festival opens at Cineworld, Haymarket on 15th July with the UK Premiere of the groundbreaking Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, (‘Love, Sex and Betrayal’) by director, Dibakar Banerjee. Through three intertwined tales, this controversial film explores sexuality, voyeurism, love and betrayal in modern India. The film features a cast of unknowns, but it’s radical revision, challenging the romantic Indian fairy-tale romance, was a big Box Office hit when it was released in India in March. Featuring India’s first ever on-screen sex scene, the Premiere will screen the uncensored, international version of the film, rather than the censored India version. The Opening Night screening will be attended by an array of international celebrities and VIP’s.
Other highlights of the festival include the high-impact City of Gold by maverick director, Mahesh Manjrekar, on the forgotten history of mill workers of Mumbai whose livelihoods were crushed when the mills were converted into a development of glitzy shopping malls and five star hotels. Meanwhile, Last Chance Mumbai is a sophisticated multi-strand ensemble exploring the connective lives of the city’s inhabitants over a 24-hour period by acclaimed director, Saeed Akhtar Mirza.
Road to Sangam directed by Amit Rai, explores ideas of Nation India and sometimes conflicting religious identity. It tells the story of one Muslim man’s desire to help take Mahatma Gandhi’s remaining ashes to the holy river and explores the experiences of Muslims living in India 60 years after Independence. The Closing Night Film is the UK Premiere Vihir (‘The Well’) by award winning director Umesh Kulkarni (World Premiered at Berlin Film Festival), which is stunningly filmed against the grandeur of the rolling Indian plains, as two adolescent friends inspire each other’s journey to manhood.
London Indian Film Festival partners from across the industry are supporting the Festival. The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s Short Film Competition has joined the Festival with the winning filmmaker receiving a