Following the phenomenal success of the Opening Night UK Premiere Screening of Love, Sex Aur Dhokha and successive film screenings as part of the first annual London INDIAN Film Festival, showcasing the burgeoning movement of alternative Indian cinema, the critically acclaimed film The Well, has been selected to close the inaugural festival on Tuesday 20th July 2010, 7.00pm at Cineworld Haymarket.
Girish Kulkarni, producer and lead star of The Well, will grace the Red Carpet for the Festival’s closing film. He will be joined by an array of luminaries spanning industry stalwarts, VIP’s and film celebrities.
The Well, by Umesh Kulkarni, has been feted globally following its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Stunningly filmed amongst the grandeur of the rolling Indian plains The Well is a moving “coming of age” tale that boldly captures the very essence of adolescence and the moments that define it. At its core is a meditation on how children deal with grief and loss. The Well tells the story of young Sameer as he leaves the city with his parents to visit their family in the countryside, who are preparing for a wedding. Sameer, however, has only one aim, to meet his cousin and best friend Nachiket. The two adolescent boys are inseparable and Sameer looks up to his older, free thinking cousin, who teaches him many truths as they stand at the cross-roads of their lives, with the innocence of childhood slipping away. This change is echoed by the fate of Sameer’s female cousin, who is being forced into a marriage for the family’s petty gains. Nachiket becomes increasingly distraught by this marriage, until he can take it no longer, leading to an action that will change Sameer’s young life forever.
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. Showcasing a repertoire of cutting edge films from some of India’s hottest independent talents and a new wave of avant-garde filmmakers, London INDIAN Film Festival’s programme of films has been screened across London, in venues such as Cineworld, Haymarket, Barbican, Nehru Centre, Watermans and Genesis cinemas. The Festival has covered 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.
In commenting on the feedback received on the festival, Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director says, “We have been delighted with the response we have received thus far at the festival. UK is the largest consumer of Bollywood outside of India and we were fully aware of its relevance and significance here. Following the feedback we have received on the festival which has showcased a carefully selected repertoire of parallel Indian cinema, it’s great to see the increasing appetite for independent Indian films and we do hope in time great movies such as The Well will be screened and talked about more broadly in the UK.”
Other highlights of the festival included the UK Premiere of Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, (‘Love, Sex and Betrayal’) by 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 its 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 explicit on-screen sex scene, the Premiere screened the uncensored, international version of the film, rather than the censored India version.
Screenings have included 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.
London INDIAN Film Festival partners from across the industry have supported the Festival. The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s Short Film Competition has joined the Festival with the winning filmmaker receiving a