The prestigious and brilliant London Indian Film Festival is gearing up for another outstanding line up of films starting in June. This year, UK and Europe’s largest South Asian film festival takes place at the prestigious BFI, Barbican (London), and MAC (Birmingham). The London Indian Film Festival and Birmingham Indian Film Festival presents a selected season of films and shorts premieres in June, with a larger programme returning in September across the UK.
The exciting June season, supported in London by the Bagri Foundation, begins with the the European premiere of the multi-starrer film The Storyteller directed by Ananth Mahadevan on 22nd June at BFI Southbank and 23rd June at MAC Birmingham. This sumptuous film is based on the writings of Satyajit Ray and includes charming performances from Indian arthouse stalwarts Paresh Rawal as a struggling writer with Adil Hussain and Tannistha Chatterjee amongst the glittering cast, presented by Jio Studios. AsCast and crew Q&A is expected.
Also being showcased is the high-impact award winning documentary To Kill A Tiger with the harrowing, but ultimately hopeful story of a village teenager and her loving father, who fearlessly take on their society, demanding justice, when the young woman is attacked by a group of men. A Q&A with director Nisha Pahuja is expected.
There will be special section at the festival of new British Asian movies including a special preview of comedy drama The Effects of Lying prior to its ITVX release, with an all-star British cast including Laila Rouass, Mark Williams, Navin Chowdhry, Ace Bhatti and Bhasker Patel. Following on its heels is our ever popular platform of Brit-Asian shorts showcasing new and emerging film talent from around the UK. Expect a lively panel debate with British filmmakers.
Also on the list is Director N Padmakumar (A Billion Colour Story) who returns to the festival with the super-cute love story Max, Min & Meowzaki (world premiered at Busan). This charming film is a must for all cat lovers and fans of anime.
The European Premiere of US documentary Call Me Dancer directed by Leslie Shampaine and Pip Gilmour is a live-your-dreams film charting the journey of Manish, a charismatic teenage street dancer from Mumbai, who dreams of entering the world of ballet against the wishes of his struggling parents.
The compelling debut feature of director Siddharth Chauhan, Amar Colony uncovers the secretive and connected lives of residents in a dilapidated apartment block in a small hill town in the lower Himalayas, unveiling sexual desires and emotional desperations.
The festival is delighted to present a special classics showcase at Barbican of two award-winning features of director Deepa Mehta and starring actor Nandita Das, Fire and Earth, followed by panel debates.
Completing the June in-cinema season is the festival’s most popular annual shorts programme Too Desi Too Queer, which will include the world premiere of documentary Discovering Kali – 25 years of the Legendary Club, charting the ascent of the British Asian LGBTQIA+ scene.
Alongside the cinema season the festival are presenting a range of shorts packages online on BFI Player from 22 June.
Here is the Full List of the LIFF and BIFF June Mini Season:
The Storyteller (European Premiere)
Dir: Ananth Mahadevan
With: Paresh Rawal, Adil Hussain, Tannistha Chatterjee, Revathy Asha
116 mins | 2022 | India
English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati with English subtitles
Based on a short story (Golpo Boliye Tarini Khuro) by the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, The Storyteller, tells the delightful tale of a wealthy businessman who hires a storyteller to regale him with tales to help get over his insomnia. But as their relationship unfolds, the possibility that both men harbour ulterior motives slowly begins to surface. World premiering at the Busan International Film Festival with a star cast including Paresh Rawal, Adil Hussain, Tannishtha Chatterjee, and Revathy Asha, The Storyteller is a witty and timeless fable celebrating the work of the master storyteller, Satyajit Ray.
Q&A With director Ananth Mahadevan (TBC)
Thursday 22 June, 18:00 – BFI Southbank
Friday 23 June, 19:00 – MAC Birmingham
Too Desi Too Queer
83 mins | India, Pakistan, United Kingdom, USA | 2022, 2023
Various Languages with English subtitles
London Indian Film Festival is delighted to return to BFI Southbank with the pioneering ‘Too Desi Too Queer’ short film programme. Exploring the lives, loves, and experiences of South Asian LGBTQIA+ communities in the subcontinent and diaspora, through a dynamic and thought-provoking selection of recent LGBTQIA+ short films.
Discovering Kali – 25 years of The Legendary Club
Dir: Matt Mahmood Ogston
40 mins | English
The legendary Club Kali’s 25 year history and heritage is celebrated through the eyes of its founders, performers, and attendees in this roaring documentary.
Dir: Sagar Devram Minde
9 mins | No dialogue
On a cloudy melancholy evening Myra, a visual artist, experiences an overwhelming surge of emotions. Hinged between past and present she tries to make sense of reality around her.
Dir: Ibrahia Rana
10 mins | English, Urdu with English subtitles
A young man comes to meet his dying father for the confrontation of his life.
Look Like You
Dir: Snigdha Kapoor
12 mins | English
While visiting the adoptive family of her eight-year-old biological son, Tara overcomes the hesitation of her child’s parents to relay advice she gathered from growing up as a queer outcast.
Shoot Your Shot
Dir: Mishaal Memon
12 mins | English
An emotional standoff takes flight as two immigrant queer teens navigate that fuzzy feeling in your stomach, all whilst learning how to skateboard.
Friday 23 June, 18:00 – BFI Southbank
Sunday 25 June, 18:00 – The Electric, Birmingham
New Brit-Asian Shorts
93 mins | United Kingdom | 2022, 2023
Various Languages with English subtitles
Support your local filmmaker! A chance to see the work of exciting and diverse emerging filmmakers from across the UK. From award-winning dramas to insightful docs, we see exciting and rarely presented stories of Asian Britain today. Expect a discussion with some of the filmmakers on stage.
Things We Never Said
Dir: Manjinder Virk
16 mins | English
Three British Asian siblings find themselves in remote Bulgaria where their father is suddenly taken ill. Once in this foreign land an unexpected incident forces them to deal with a truth none of them are ready for.
Dir: Matt Ayleigh
10 mins | English
When Nik auditions for a radical retelling of the British Asian classic ‘East is East’, he soon begins to wonder if everyone around him is also stuck in the past.
Dir: Bhulla Beghal
8 mins | English
Kiran, once a happily married, independent business owner, is now the full time carer of her elderly mother who is suffering from dementia. In the throws of routine and repeating calls for help, Kiran breaks.
Dir: Nisha Duggal
7 mins | Bengali, English, Hindi with English subtitles
Tracing a love story through an Indian couple’s migration to Britain in the 1970s. Excerpts from a series of letters exchanged between the pair across continents are performed by the letter-writers themselves.
Dir: Billy Dosanjh
16 mins | English
Set in the mid ’90s, Indi charts the world of emigre mother, Sheeru, and her British born son Indi, who dreams of playing professional football.
Dir: Rory D Bentley
3 mins | English
A young man discovers his Papaji (Grandad) has died watching porn on the eve of his surprise birthday party…
Dir: Elham Ehsas
13 mins | Dari
In Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Laili walks into a Chadari store in Kabul to buy her first full body veil from a Talib shopkeeper and face a new future.
The Pink Pill
Dir: Cassiah Joski Jethi
20 mins | English
Valentine’s Day. Two young people looking for love meet in a ‘Love Hotel’ for their second date. Girl seems nervous. Boy seems forward. We’ve all seen this a million times before, right? Wrong.
Q&A with the filmmakers
Saturday 24 June, 20:20 – BFI Southbank
Thursday 29 June, 20:00 – MAC Birmingham
Premiering at Busan International Film Festival, N Padmakumar’s (A Billion Colour Story) latest is a sweet and charming romantic drama. Max and Min are breaking up, and the future home of their darling cat, Meowzaki (named after Japanese animation titan Hayao Miyazaki), hangs in the balance. While navigating their separation and heartbreak, both embark upon vastly different but equally impactful journeys in this effervescent crowdpleaser that’s catnip for hopeless romantics.
Q&A with director N Padmakumar (TBC)
Sunday 25 June, 15:00 – BFI Southbank
Wednesday 28 June, 20:00 – MAC Birmingham
Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi give superb performances as two unhappily married women living in Delhi who fall in love in Deepa Mehta’s powerful melodrama. Radha (Shabana Azmi) is unwavering in her devotion to her husband, Ashok (Kulbushan Kharbanda), despite their passionless arranged marriage. Meanwhile, Ashok’s brother Jatin (Jaaved Jaaferi) has brought home his new wife, Sita (Nandita Das), but is unwilling to give up his relationship with his Chinese girlfriend. Gradually, a slow-burning love blossoms between the two women. Loosely based on Ismat Chughtai’s short story “Lihaaf” (“The Quilt”), which became the subject of an obscenity trial in India in 1942, Fire, the first of Deepa Mehta’s ‘Elements’ trilogy, was the subject of violent protests in India, with extremists hurling Molotov cocktails at the screens. It remains an intensely powerful and beautifully acted romance, which kick-started a national conversation about queer rights in India.
Sunday 25 June, 15:00 – Barbican
Call Me Dancer (European Premiere)
Dir: Leslie Shampaine, Pip Gilmour.
84 mins | 2023 | USA
English, Hindi with English subtitles
This live-your-dream documentary charts the journey of Manish, a charismatic teenage street dancer from Mumbai, who dreams of entering the world of ballet against the wishes of his struggling parents. He gains tutorship from a master Israeli ballet teacher who gives him the determination to keep going. But when he is pitted against another boy who’s got the attention of the Royal Ballet School in London, Manish realises he must push himself to his physical limits if he has any chance to succeed.
Q&A with Cast & Crew (TBC)
Tuesday 27 June, 20:40 – BFI Southbank
Sunday 2 July, 14:00 – MAC Birmingham
Set in a dilapidated apartment block in a small hill town in the lower Himalayas, Amar Colony follows the intersecting lives of six tenants whose mundane lives begin to unravel as they gradually lose sight of the social roles they are supposed to play and give into their sexual desires and emotional desperations. A striking and hypnotic debut feature that premiered at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.
Monday 26 June, 18:10 – BFI Southbank
The Effects of Lying (Special Preview)
Dir: Isher Sahota
With: Ace Bhatti, Laila Rouass, Navin Chowdhry, Lauren Patel
85 mins | 2022 | United Kingdom
Ace Bhatti stars as a dutiful husband and loving father whose life falls apart when decades of festering secrets are exposed, and he’s forced to face up to who he really is. Isher Sahota’s The Effects of Lying is a delightfully chaotic comedic drama about a family trying to hold it together as their world begins to crumble. The stellar British Asian cast also includes Laila Rouass, Navin Chowdhry and Shaheen Khan, as well as the Harry Potter franchise’s Mark Williams.
Q&A with Director Isher Sahota and producer Jon Tarcy
Wednesday 28 June, 18:00 – BFI Southbank
Sunday 2 July, 19:15 – MAC Birmingham
Set during the bloody and violent partition of India in 1947, Deepa Mehta’s second film in her “elemental trilogy” is an extraordinary tale of politics, love , and revenge. As India teeters on the brink of self-rule, Lenny – an eight-year-old, polio-stricken Parsee girl – witnesses the deep divisions that are soon to ravage her country. Part of a wealthy, non-partisan family in Lahore (an Indian city soon to become the capital of Pakistan), Lenny is looked after by her loving nanny, Shanta (Nandita Das), who is caught between the affections of Hasan, a peace advocating Muslim (Rahul Khanna), and Dil Navaz, the charming Ice Candy Man (Aamir Khan). As reports of violence begin to surface in radio broadcasts and the political tensions grow, Shanta’s life is thrown into turmoil as she tries to keep Lenny safe, while the effects of the impending partition bring devastation to communities.
Wednesday 28 June, 18:30 – Barbican
Winning honours at Toronto International Film Festival and Palm Springs Film Festival, To Kill a Tiger follows a fathers uphill battle for justice for his 13 year old daughter who was attacked by three men. A powerful and courageous documentary shows how one family’s strength can overcome the most heinous of injustices and force a social reckoning that will reverberate for years to come.
To Kill a Tiger deals with highly sensitive subject matter and contains depictions of sexual violence, which may be triggering for some viewers.
Q&A with director Nisha Pahuja
Thursday 29 June, 17:50 – BFI Southbank
Friday 30 June, 20:00 – MAC Birmingham
The main film festival in London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds will take place between 7- 14 September and is expected to showcase premieres of features, documentaries and shorts, as well as new South Asian series, gaming and XR. So be sure to watch this space for more!