Three Highlights from Bagri Foundation LIFF 2018

The UK’s most comprehensive festival dedicated to programming contemporary independent South Asian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival, returns for its ninth edition and the fourth festival running that we are excited to support as title sponsor. Here we share three highlights from the forthcoming Festival.



Kho Ki Pa Lu – Up Down & Sideways

Directors: Anushka Meenakshi, Iswar Srikumar | Chokri, Nagamese | 2017

As they work in cooperative groups — preparing the terraced fields, planting saplings, or harvesting the grain and carrying it up impossibly steep slopes — the rice cultivators of Phek sing. The seasons change, and so does the music, transforming the mundane into the hypnotic. The love that they sing of is also a metaphor for the need for the other – the friend, the family, the community, to build a polyphony of voices. Up down and sideways is a musical portrait of a community of rice cultivators and their memories of love and loss, created from working together on the fields.

Directors’ notes on polyphony and storytelling: “Kho-ki-pa-lü is the way that the polyphonic music is described in Chokri, the local language. This idea of polyphony – as a conversation between interlocking voices – exists in the music and in the way people work together, but also in the creative choices that we have made: drawing narrative strands from all around the community, and finding visual metaphors for polyphony, in the sound of the cicadas, in patterns of terraced fields, in dancing shadows.”

View the trailer here.

Bengal Shadows

Directors: Joy Banerjee, Partho Bhattacharya | Bengali, English, French | 2017

This documentary is about the 1943 famine in West Bengal and current day Bangladesh, during which several million people starved to death. Some 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 hold Winston Churchill wholly accountable…


What better a time than now to continue conversations about the impacts of British colonialism? What better a medium than the documentary film to bring into question our understanding of representation, to reexamine the narratives made predominant by the media, to listen to different voices and, in doing so, to present new perspectives on this shocking subject matter?

Here is a vital article about the film. And here is a Guardian article on British misconceptions about empire. The London School of Economics screening will be followed by a discussion with Professors Amartya Sen & Tirthankar Roy.

Hva Vil Folk Si – What Will People Say

Director: Iram Haq | Norwegian, Urdu | 2017

Nisha’s double life — obedient to her traditional Pakistani upbringing at home, typical Norwegian teenager to her friends — comes crashing down when her concerned parents kidnap her and send her to Pakistan, in Iram Haq’s empathetic story of family, community, and culture.


A film that deals with a character caught between cultures, a coming-of-age story in which a daughter’s teenage years in Norway come into conflict with the traditional social values of Pakistani émigré parents. According to TIFF, at which the film had it’s world premiere, few directors dealing with characters torn between very different social values across traditions and cultures, “have reached the level of empathy and understanding Haq does.”

View the trailer here.

In summary – a musical portrait from Northeast India, a documentary on Bengal, and an intimate fiction in both Norway and Pakistan. And all the films have female directors or co-directors! Excellent and culturally diverse programming from LIFF this year!

The festival runs from the 21-29 June in 11 cinemas across London, presenting 21 different films as well as a programme of shorts. See the full programme and book tickets here.

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