The Female Eye & Extraordinary Lives
The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival is a cinematic treasure trove of carefully curated premieres of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi independent films, offering rare glimpses into some of the billion plus lives in the sub-continent. Now in its ninth year it expands out in three cities: London, Birmingham and Manchester.
The programme of dramas, documentaries and shorts explores a compelling slate of controversial, entertaining and thought provoking themes with global resonances. The festival is title sponsored by the Bagri Foundation, which is dedicated to the promotion of Asian arts and culture. The festival also receives grant support from the BFI’s National Lottery Audience Fund.
The festival helmer, with an all star Hollywood and Bollywood cast including Demi Moore, Freida Pinto, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Richa Chadda, Anupam Kher, Adil Hussain, Sunny Parwar and Mrunal Thakur, is the World Premiere of Love Sonia, from the Academy nominated producer of Life Of Pi, David Womark. A compelling story of two loving sisters, who are forced into the sex industry in Mumbai. Main protagonist Sonia, is sustained by a fragile dream that is worth surviving for, her searing journey spans three continents and a lifetime of experiences that no young girl should have. Sonia is determined not to become one of the 800,000 women and children who are victims of the international sex trade industry every year. The director Tabrez Noorani, who was previously line producer on the multiple Academy, BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Slumdog Millionaire, and films like Zero Dark Thirty, and talent, are expected at Cineworld Empire Leicester Square on Thursday 21st June.
The Festival finale red carpet is at BFI Southbank with the UK Premiere of Venus – a feel-good comedy about a Canadian Punjabi transgender person who is about to embark on surgery but suddenly discovers they are the father of a teenage boy who thinks they are the coolest dad on the planet. The director Eisha Marjara and talent are expected, on Friday 29 June.
The Central Gala is T For Taj, an inspiring tale about a roadside eatery owner who lives aside the main road to the Taj Mahal. He embarks on an innovative and risky plan to educate the local illiterate children by offering free food in exchange for tourists teaching the kids. Starring Aki Falkner (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pitobash (Million Dollar Arm). The director Kireet Khuranna and guests, are expected.
‘The Female Eye’ showcases the work of six, exciting female filmmakers who offer very fresh stories and alternative cinematic styles in South Asian cinema. The English Premiere of multi-award-winning Village Rockstars is a joyous mother-daughter story about a freethinking village girl who dreams of being a rock guitarist, with Q&A by director Rima Sen. While Teen Aur Aadha (Three and a Half) is an envelope pushing compilation of three, dramatic tales of modern Mumbai shot in three and a half takes. British Bengali director Sangeeta Datta’s mesmerisingly beautiful Bird of Dusk examines the inner life of the late, great Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh. These and two other women filmmakers highlight some of India’s most original, cutting edge film talents. Alongside, this LIFF will also screen a cinematic tribute to the legendary Bollywood star Sridevi, who died in February, with a special treat for all her fans – a rare, silverscreen showing of Shekhur Kapur’s iconic 1987 blockbuster, Mr India, co-starring Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor.
‘Fathers & Sons’ is also a powerful theme running through this year’s festival, with films that explore Indian father and son relationships, from which boys learn their first lessons about masculinity. This role model has good sides and bad including toxic masculinity, which leads to violence against women. In The Shadows is a dark, agoraphobic debut by Dipesh Jain that depicts a ten-year-old’s story of struggling with a wife-beating father in an old Delhi chawl, starring the versatile Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee (Aligarh), who is expected at the festival. By contrast, the raucous, British comedy Eaten By Lions has Bradford teenager Omar and his half brother searching for his real Asian dad on the streets of Blackpool.
‘Extra-Ordinary Lives’ is a strand of films exploring everyday people in extraordinary circumstances. Kicking off this strand is the must-see English Premiere of Norway’s Oscar nomination, What will People Say, about a Pakistani girl, Nisha, who is forced to go to Pakistan after her father finds her with a white Norwegian lad and her fight for survival and self-determination. Kho Ki Pa Lu is a stunning documentary on the villagers of Nagaland (in Eastern India) and their Blues-like field songs. From South India is the much lauded Tamil drama My Son is Gay, and from Bangladesh, is Doob (No Bed of Roses) starring Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire).
Hard hitting themes of famine and toilets
Meanwhile, by sharp contrast, a searing new documentary, Bengal Shadows interrogates the little known story of the Bengali Famine, where millions of Bengali’s perished at the British Empire and Churchill’s alleged hand in this calamity with a debate at the LSE including Economist Amartya Sen and Professor Tirthankar Roy. Grand Prix winner at Montreal Film Festival is the charming, family film Halkaa about a slum living boy who, instead of defecating on the rail lines, dreams of having his own private toilet and his eventful mission to try to get one built.
The Song of Scorpions is set in the deep deserts of Rajasthan, where a lone camel herder played by Irrfan Khan (The Lunch Box) is obsessed by a magical, female healer who has the power to sing away scorpion bites, played by Iranian actor Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly).
The Festival’s annual Satyajit Ray Competition, presented in association with the Bagri Foundation, with its £1,000 prize offers a platform for emerging filmmakers and six, shortlisted entries will be screened. The Festival will present its Pure Heaven Icon Award and its Outstanding Achievement Award, supported by Sun Mark Ltd.
BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas, Empire Leicester Square and Wembley, the Barbican, Picturehouses Central, Crouch End and Stratford, Watermans Art Centre, Genesis, LSE and SOAS in London; mac Birmingham, Cineworld Broad Street and The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen in Birmingham; and HOME in Manchester will all host the festival.
Due to popular demand, reaching out to audiences outside London has become a priority for the festival, and with a successful few years in Birmingham, it is back there for a 4th year. The festival now also travels to Manchester for the first time, at HOME, a leading independent arts space. Over the weekend of Sat 30 June and Sun 1 July, there will be screenings of an eye-catching selection of must-watch films: the award winning Village Rockstars, British Asian comedy set in Blackpool – Eaten By Lions and our delightful alternative family values comedy Venus.
Words from the Festival Director
Festival director Cary Rajinder Sawhney says: “One great thing about being in the UK and especially London is that we are culturally intertwined to India and South Asia, not just through our shared history but our living, everyday experience where South Asian communities add so much to UK cultural life, of which cinema is an important aspect. This cutting edge festival showcases indie cinema that entertains but shows the more realistic and sometimes the raw side of South Asian culture but, at the same time, there are always stories of comedy, hope and the inexhaustible energy of over 1.3 Billion South Asian lives from the Indian subcontinent”.
Words from the Title Sponsor
Dr Alka Bagri, Trustee of the Bagri Foundation says: “For the fourth year, the Bagri Foundation is delighted to bring to the UK the best of independent South Asian cinema with LIFF. As a charity dedicated to celebrating the arts and culture of Asia in all its richness and diversity, from the traditional to the contemporary, we are proud to champion independent cinema and give a platform to new voices alongside established artists. The Festival is a key moment in the UK arts calendar and we are thrilled to place a spotlight on South Asian culture through engaging and audacious films that explore universal and topical subject matters such as identity, women’s empowerment and construction of masculinity.”
Press materials, and contact:
Press materials: PAGE TO BE UPDATED WITH 2018 images
Notes to editors:
– Tickets available via cinemas
– Grange Hotels are the official London hotel partner
– The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity working in the fields of education, relief work and culture. Through a multidisciplinary events programme, the Foundation aims to foster understanding of Asian cultures, artistic exchanges and enriching experiences. The Foundation believes in the power of collaboration and works with leading organisations, scholars and artists to encourage critical thinking, disseminate knowledge and offer platforms for creativity to blossom.
OPENING NIGHT GALA
World Premiere, 120 mins, Recommended Cert 15
English, Hindi, Cantonese with English subtitles, India 2018.
Director: Tabrez Noorani.
With: Mrunal Thakur, Freida Pinto, Demi Moore, Mark Duplass, Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Richa Chadda, Riya Sisodiya, Anupam Kher, Adil Hussain, Sunny Pawar
Inspired by true events, this is the story of a young Indian village girl, Sonia. Her life changes irrevocably when she is entrapped in the global sex trade while trying to save her beloved sister Preeti. Struggling to free herself from small-time pimps, Sonia does not realise they are merely the foot soldiers of a ruthless, powerful army with its reach around the world. As she becomes aware of the enormity of the odds against her, Sonia is sustained by a fragile dream that is worth surviving for. Battling with the strength she didn’t know she had, her searing journey spans three continents and a lifetime of experiences that no young girl should have. Sonia is determined not to become one of the 800,000 women and children who are victims of the international sex trade industry every year.
Q&A with director Tabrez Noorani and cast and crew
Thur 21 June | 18.15 | Cineworld Leicester Square
Fri 22 June | 19:00 | Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham
Sat 23 June | 20:15 | BFI Southbank
CLOSING NIGHT GALA
UK Premiere, 95mins, Recommended Cert 12A
English. no English subtitles, Canada 2017
Director: Eisha Marjara
With Debargo Sanyal, Jamie Mayers, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Zena Darawalla, Gordon Warnecke
An award-winning, laugh-out-loud comedy about alternative family values, self-empowerment and love. Sid is a Montreal Punjabi, who after years of struggling with his identity has decided to have a sex change. Other than Sid’s mom crying a lot, all seems to be moving in the right direction, that is until a 14-year-old boy turns up and insists that Sid is his long lost dad from a teenage affair. Shocked – obviously, Sid’s world rapidly spirals out of orbit as Sid attempts to nurture this latch-on teenager who thinks having a transgender Dad is “cool”, an in-the-closet partner and an about to combust Punjabi mom.
Q&A with Director Eisha Marjara and others
Fri 29 June | 18:15 | BFI Southbank
Sat 30 June | 18:00 | HOME Cinema Manchester
T For Taj Mahal
World Premiere, 104 mins, Recommended Cert PG
Hindi, English with English Subtitles. India 2018
Director: Kireet Khurana
With: Subrat Dutta, Ali Faulkner, Pitobash, Bidita Bag, Raveena Tandon
In this inspirational charmer, an illiterate villager runs a roadside eatery near the world famous Taj Mahal. He is concerned that another generation of the villagers will also grow up without an education and get ridiculed and duped as he has been. He hatches a unique social enterprise idea of offering tourists who eat his food the option of paying their bill, or teaching the local youngsters. The idea is an initial hit, that is until a big company muscles in. This delightfully eye opening film features an outstanding cast of both international and Indian actors including Ali Faulkner (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Pitobash (Million Dollar Arm) and Subrat Dutta (Talaash).
Q&A With Director Kireet Khurana and guests
Sat 23 June | 18:00 | Cineworld Leicester Square
Sun 24 June | 18:30 | Watermans Arts Centre
Sridevi tribute. Mr India
Hindi with English subtitles India 1987, 179 mins, Cert 12 Director: Shekhar Kapur Presented by: Mr Surinder Kapoor Producer: Mr Boney Kapoor
Written by: Salim-Javed Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal With: Sridevi, Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Satish Kaushik
In December of last year LIFF was in touch with producer Boney Kapoor about Sridevi coming to this year’s festival to receive our Icon Award. Sadly it wasn’t to be, as the effervescent actress was snatched away in the prime of her life, so we are holding this fitting tribute to a great star. Mr. India is an extraordinary showcase of her everlasting talent. Sridevi plays an ebullient journalist who is in love with an invisible man Mr India (Anil Kapoor). They team to thwart the megalomaniac ambitions of the evil Mogambo, played memorably by the late, great Amrish Puri. Packed with chartbusting songs, including Hawa Hawai and Kaate Nahin Kat Te that feature two of Sridevi’s greatest ever dances, Mr India is a rollicking treat for the whole family.
Sat 23 June | 16:00 | Genesis Cinema
We are delighted to screen a special selection of new films by some of the coolest award-winning South Asian women filmmakers on the planet. The festival wouldn’t be complete without a golden memory of one of Indian cinema’s greatest with a screening dedicated to the late Sridevi.
Teen Aur Adha (Three and a Half)
International Premiere. 119 mins, Recommended Cert 12A
Hindi, Marathi with English Subtitles. India 2018
Director: Dar Gai
With: Zoya Hussain, Jim Sarbh, Suhasini Mulay
This beautifully layered, and stylistically groundbreaking saga narrates the story of one house which exists in three different eras. A young boy struggles with the pressures of pre-pubescent school life. Twenty years later the house is now a brothel where a young virgin sex-worker is dealing with her first client. While 30 years later, the place is now a sublime home of an elderly couple that love, laugh and dance together, sharing many secrets of happy companionship. The film has been shot in three takes and a half-take at the end, which exhibits the house under renovation, symbolising the emergence of new stories and the inevitable nature of change in time.
Q&A with Director Dar Gai
Sun 24 June | 20:00 | BFI Southbank
Mon 25 June | 20:45 | Genesis Cinema
Bird Of Dusk
UK Premiere, 92mins, Recommended Cert U
Bengali and English with English subtitles, UK/India/Spain 2018.
Director: Sangeeta Dutta. With: Soumitra Chatterjee, Nandita Das, Aparna Sen, Kaushik Gangully, Dorothee Wenner, Konkona Sen Sharma
A fearless, elegant and poetic insight into the career and private life of the late and legendary director Rituparno Ghosh, who we are proud to say attended our festival in our early days. Sangeeta Datta’s film invites reflections by some of Indian cinemas finest actors and filmmakers who recall Ghosh’s impact on their lives including Sharmila Tagore, Aparna Sen, Arjun Rampal, Nandita Das and Prasenjit Chatterjee. These are montaged with Ghosh’s films and his interviews depicting amongst other things an artist’s relationship to their beloved city Kolkata and a personal crusade to find their non-gender specific identity.
Q&A with Sangeeta Datta and guests.
Sun 24 June | 15:00 | BFI Southbank
Tues 26 June | 20:00 | Watermans Arts Centre
English Premiere, 87mins, Recommended Cert U
Assamese with English subtitles, India 2017.
Director: Rima Das
With: Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Manabendra Das.
Recipient of multiple international awards, Village Rockstars is an instant crowd- pleaser. A single mother and her 10 year old daughter Dhunu live in a remote flood-prone Assamese village. Dhunu is not a shy, submissive girl and with a vibrant spirit and imagination she dreams of setting up her own rock band. She fashions a make-believe guitar out of expanded polystyrene and jams in the rice fields with her boy mates. Noticing an old guitar has come up for sale in the market Dhunu attempts schemes to raise money to buy it, but as the local women complain about Dhunu’s un-girlish behaviour, her mother is forced to make a stand.
Q&A with Director Rima Das (BSL signed at Picturehouse Stratford)
Tues 26 June | 18:30 | Stratford Picturehouse
Weds 27 June | 18:20 | BFI Southbank
Sun 1 July | 16:00 | HOME Cinema Manchester
Hva vil folk si (What Will People Say)
English Premiere, 106 mins, Recommended Cert 12A
Norwegian, Urdu with English Subtitles, Norway/Germany/Sweden 2017
Director: Iram Haq
With: Maria Mozhdah, Adil Hussain, Rohit Saraf, Ali Arfan, Sheeba Chaddha
Director Iram Haq’s compelling tale has been collecting awards worldwide since its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. It tells of a young Pakistani teenager, Nisha whose happy-double-life in Norway is torn apart when her father discovers her with her white Norwegian boyfriend. Outraged and under pressure from the community, he sends her off to Pakistan to ‘learn how to behave properly.’ Trapped in a land she doesn’t know, with a hostile extended family who see her as a shameful westerner Nisha is forced to make hard choices. Maria Mozhdah makes a powerful debut as Nisha with Adil Hussain as her troubled father.
Q&A with Director Iram Haq
Tues 26 June | 20:30 | Barbican
Weds 27 June | 18:30 | Picturehouse Central
Kho Ki Pa Lu (Up Down & Sideways)
UK Premiere, 83 mins, Recommended Cert U
Chokri with English Subtitles, India 2017
Director: Anushka Meenakshi, Iswar Srikumar
Close to the India-Myanmar border is the village of Phek in Nagaland. Nearly all of its 5,000 inhabitants grow rice for their own consumption. As they work in the fields the men and women sing together and as the seasons change so does the music, becoming increasingly hypnotic. The songs have been passed down for generations and tell stories of the land, love and the concerns of everyday life in an area that for many years has been troubled by political unrest. Up Down & Sideways is a stunningly beautiful ethnographic portrait of a community of rice cultivators and their memories of love and loss created from working together on the fields.
Sun 24 June | 16:00 | Barbican – Introduced by Soumik Datta
Weds 27 June | 20:00 | Watermans Arts Centre
FATHERS & SONS
A vital relationship which forms the backbone of how men construct their masculinity and their futures is the relationship with the first man in our lives, nearly always our father. He can be an inspiring positive mentor, or at worst a carrier of toxic masculinity that he has in turn inherited. We offer a few films to explore these complex father and son relationships.
International Premiere, 75 mins, Recommended Cert PG
Hindi with English Subtitles, India 2017
Director: Nishil Sheth
With: Trimala Adhikari, Mittal Chouhan, Raghav Dutt, Imran Rasheed, Bhushan Vikas, Ravi Goswami
The former thief Dhaanu is heavily in financial debt, he returns to his Rajasthan village from the city to hide from a moneylender. His back against the wall, he decides to sell the prized family donkey, Bhasmasur, with whom his son, Tipu, shares a special bond. The trio set off by foot on a journey across the arid desert towards the city. Along the way numerous events take place bringing the absent father and his son closer together. As they arrive in the city however their relationship is put to an unexpected test.
Sat 23 June | 20:30 | Cineworld Wembley
Sun 24 June |16:00 | Cineworld Wembley
Eaten By Lions
English Premiere, 99 mins, Recommended Cert 12A
English (no subtitles), UK 2018
Director: Jason Wingard
With: Antonio Aakeel, Jack Carroll, Asim Chaudhry, Johnny Vegas, Nitin Ganatra, Kevin Eldon
A laugh out loud and wryly written British comedy about two half brothers who were brought up by their grandma in Bradford after their parents were accidentally killed by lions in a safari park. On their grandma’s sudden death the teenage boys are looking for family care, but while one brother Pete, of English parentage, gets foisted on his controlling English aunty, the other brother Omar travels to the fabled holiday resort of Blackpool in search of his real Asian dad. Both brothers unable to be separated soon end up together on the riviera of the North, but as Omar discovers his new orthodox Muslim family all mayhem breaks loose.
Q&A with Jason Wingard and special Guests
Mon 25 June | 18:45 | Picturehouse Stratford
Weds 27 June | 20:00 | Cineworld Leicester Square
Sat 30 June | 16:00 | HOME Cinema Manchester
Gali Guliyan (In the Shadows)
UK Premiere, 117 mins, Recommended Cert 15
Hindi with English Subtitles, India/ UK 2017
Director: Dipesh Jain
With: Manoj Bajpayee, Neeraj Kabi, Shahana Goswami, Ranvir Shorey, Om Singh
In the walled city of Old Delhi, a reclusive shopkeeper spends his days obsessively watching people through hidden closed circuit cameras. When he overhears a boy being beaten by a man, he begins to frantically search for the child. As he becomes lost in the labyrinthine alleys of the city, his grasp on reality falters, until he eventually stumbles across a shocking truth about a father and an abused son. Dipesh Jain’s feature film debut is a superbly dark and atmospheric psychological thriller that expertly explores the roots of paranoia.
Q&A with director Dipesh Jain
Fri 22 June | 18:00 | BFI Southbank
Sun 24 June | 18:00 | Barbican
LIFF showcases independent films which celebrate depictions of ordinary lives through fiction and documentaries. This year we screen a selection of films, about the past and present, that show glimpses of real life in the subcontinent, which are sometimes hard, sometimes feel-good, and even comic but always compelling.
Hindi, with English subtitles India 2018 | 114 Mins Director: Nila Madhab Panda With: Tathastu, Ranvir Shorey, Paoli Dam
This lovely family film that addresses social issues in a light-hearted manner follows Pichku, a boy growing up in one of Delhi’s oldest slums, who fights against having to defecate in the open. After failing to convince his family and others to build a toilet, Pichku and his friend Gopi make it their mission to try and get one built. This is the ultimate feel good film that is both charming and heart warming. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Montreal Film Festival, the film also boasts of a terrific soundtrack by virtuoso Bollywood composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.
Fri 22 June | 20:00 | Cineworld Wembley
Sun 24 June | 16:30 | Cineworld Leicester Square
The Song of Scorpions
120 mins, Recommended Cert 15
Hindi with English subtitles, India/Switzerland/France 2017
Director: Anup Singh
Wit:h Irrfan Khan, Golshifteh Farahani, Waheeda Rehman, Shashank Arora.
Mesmerisingly beautiful – this poetic tale is set within the deep desert landscapes of rural Rajasthan. Nooran is a defiantly independent young tribal woman trained by her grandmother in the ancient healing remedy of singing to counteract the deadly poison of scorpion stings. A lone camel herder Aadam (Irrfan Khan) is Nooran’s, admirer, but spurned by her he hatches a twisted plot to win her heart. Director Anup Singh’s meditative direction elicits intense but restrained performances from lead actors Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly) and Irrfan Khan (The Lunchbox) with a cameo by the legendary actress Waheeda Rehman.
Q&A with director Anup Singh
Sat 23 June | 18:30 | Picturehouse Central
Sun 24 June | 15:00 | Crouch End Picturehouse
International Premiere, 101 mins, Recommended Cert U
Marathi with English Subtitles, India 2017
Director: Prakash Kunte
With: Hrishikesh Joshi, Bhau Kaman, Priyadarshan Jadhav, Deepti Lee
In the village of Bhugaon Keshav is a well-known astrologer, with an even more famous yellow bicycle, known as Sunshine. The bicycle, inherited from his grandfather after he passed away. It is Keshav’s most prized possession. One evening two wandering thieves steal his bike and as Keshav pines away for his beloved machine, he is unable to focus on his astrology and his predictions start going wrong. Unable to see Keshav crestfallen, the villagers band together to plan to somehow reunite the two. Cycle is a magical and life affirming story of love, hope and happiness.
Sat 23 June | 16:30 | Watermans Arts Centre Sun 24 June | 18:30 | Cineworld Wembley
UK Premiere, 90mins, Recommended Cert 12A
English, India/USA 2017
Director: Ben Rekhi
With: Sam Keeley, Melissa Leo, Kal Penn, Radhika Apte, Hera Hilmar
After receiving a cryptic message, Jamie journeys deep into the Indian Himalayas to pick up on the trail of his girlfriend who has disappeared. There, he discovers a secretive community led by a guru with alleged mystical powers. As he tries to pry the secrets from the guru’s devotees Jamie becomes more convinced that this mysterious community may know more about his lover’s disappearance than they’re telling him. Ben Rekhi brings together a star-studded cast for a story of mystical intrigue with a twisty plot and startling climax that is sure to provoke discussion.
Fri 22 June | 20:30 | Cineworld Leicester Square
Weds 27 June | 20:30 | Crouch End Picturehouse
Doob (No Bed of Roses)
UK Premiere, 86 mins, Recommended Cert 12A
Bengali with English subtitles, Bangladesh/India 2017
Director: Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
With: Irrfan Khan, Parno Mittra, Nusrat Imroz Tisha, Rokeya Prachy
Successful movie director Javed Hasan finds himself in a midlife crisis, questioning whether marriage and career have demanded too much from him. A tryst with Nitu, his daughter’s childhood friend, turns into a national scandal and his loving family is torn apart. Javed and Nitu marry, but it’s no bed of roses for the couple as they receive the wrath of judgmental Bangladeshi society. The latest film from Bangladesh’s most renowned filmmaker features a powerful central performance from internationally respected Indian actor Irrfan Khan. The film has been festooned with accolades at the Moscow and Shanghai film festivals.
Q&A with director Mostofa Farooki
Sun 24 June | 18:30 | Genesis
Documentary. 48 mins, Recommended Cert 12A
Bengali, English, French with English subtitles. France/India 2017
Director: Joy Banerjee & Partho Bhattacharya
With: Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhushree Mukerjee, Richard Toye
This hard-hitting documentary brings to light a lesser-known episode of the Second World War – the 1943 famine, during which time several million people starved to death in Bengal. Today, numerous historians, researchers and writers, from both India and Britain, blame the British Empire for the famine that occurred whilst the subcontinent was under its rule. Some historians allege that Winston Churchill was accountable for the famine and even refer to it as a crime against humanity. The film gives a voice to historians, researchers and survivors, who were witness to these tragic events.
Fri 22 June – Post screening discussion with Professors Amartya Sen & Tirthankar Roy
Fri 22 June | 18:30 | London School of Economics (LSE)
Mon 25 June | 18:45 | Genesis Cinema
My Son is Gay
UK Premiere, 105 mins, Cert 12A
Tamil with English Subtitles, India 2017
Director: Lokesh Kumar
With: Anupama Kumar, Ashwinjith, Abhishek Joseph George, Kishore Kumar G.
Varun is a happy-go-lucky, handsome young man who is the apple of his mother Lakshmi’s eye. He believes his mother would be by his side no matter what. When Lakshmi discovers Varun is gay, she is shocked and vows it is something she will never accept. As he decides to move on with his life and find love, Lakshmi decides to seek out her lost son. My Son is Gay is a poignant tale of a multilayered mother son relationship, that sensitively tackles universal themes of tolerance and acceptance.
Mon 25 June | 18:30 | SOAS – Khalil Lecture Theatre
In partnership with Queer Asia
European Premiere. 148 mins, Recommended Cert PG
Bengali with English Subtitles. India 2018
Director: Srijit Mukherji
With: Jisshu Sengupta, Sara Sengupta, Anjan Dutt
Uma, a young girl who lives with her father in Switzerland, is diagnosed with a disease that could be terminal. Her greatest desire in life is to participate in the Durga Puja, the annual joyous celebrations which take place in October. The trouble is that Uma may not have until October and her father, with the help of an award-winning filmmaker and the entire city of Kolkata, undertakes to recreate the festival in the summer as a special treat for his beloved daughter. Based on a true story, ace filmmaker Srijit Mukherji crafts a life affirming emotional tale that is a celebration of the human spirit.
Sun 24 June | 18:30 | Cineworld Leicester Square
Tues 26 June | 18:30 | Cineworld Leicester Square
SATYAJIT RAY SHORT FILM AWARD
The festival’s annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition and Award is a rare chance to see the works of talented, emerging filmmakers, who are exploring themes of South Asian experience. The competition’s final shortlist films are screened at SOAS on 27 June and the winner of the 2018 award is announced on the festival’s Closing Night.
In association with the Bagri Foundation.
THE PEANUT SELLER 19 mins. Hindi, 2017 Germany/ India Director: Etienne Sievers. An orphaned young ragpicker battling isolation and poverty in the streets of New Delhi tries to locate the one man capable of helping him find his mother.
MAUN 11 mins. Hindi, 2017 IndiaDirector: Priyanka Singh. A couple are shocked and distraught to find out their daughter has been sexually molested by their neighbour and struggle to decide on a course of action.
THE FISH CURRY 12 mins. Hindi, 2017 India Director: Abhishek Verma. In this beautifully realised animation a young man prepares his fathers favourite fish curry as he decides to come-out to his parents over the dinner table.
CIRCLE 14 mins. Hindi, 2017 India/ UK
Director: Jayisha Patel.
A haunting portrait of a rape survivor, caught in the devious ploys of her family.
PARO 20mins. Hindi, 2017 India Director: Vijay Kumar. A powerful drama about a young girl sold to Haryanvi family as a bride.
JAAN JIGAR 19 mins. Hindi, 2017 India Director: Ranjan Chandel. A sweet and charming tale of two teenagers in the throws of first love meeting to have their first kiss.
DREAMS 10mins. Tamil, 2017 India
Director: Athithya Kanagarajan.
Dilip, a twelve year old paper boy is overjoyed at the prospect of his idol, Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam attending his school annual day celebration.
Weds 27 June | 18:45 | SOAS
Recommended cert 15