The London Indian Film Festival is running on 23 June – 3 July and you can find below some of the key highlights to enjoy this year..
Dir: Anurag Kashyap
With: Taapsee Pannu, Saswata Chaterjee, Rahul Bhatt
120 mins | 2022 | India
Hindi with English subtitles
India’s internationally best known director, Anurag Kashyap, returns to the festival with this surreal Sliding Doors style story, telling of a young nurse (Taapsee Pannu), who moves in with her husband and daughter, next to a derelict house. Searching through the new place they come across an old camcorder. Playing it during an electric storm the nurse, freakishly connects live to a little boy who lived in the house decades before, but died. In an attempt to stop the boy’s death she begs him not to go next door to the deserted house. He delays and this not only disrupts time, but her own life story with terrible consequences.
Thursday 23 June, 18:00, BFI Southbank
Q&A with Anurag Kashyap and special guests
SUPERFAN: THE NAV BHATIA STORY
Dir: Amar Wala
50 mins | 2021 | Canada
English with English subtitles
A unique and uplifting documentary focusing on the life of the Toronto Raptors biggest fan, Nav Bhatia and the massive impact he has had on the city’s basketball community. The film charts his journey to Canada as a low income immigrant worker from India and how his relentless passion for life not only built his career, but as he came into contact with basketball for the first time, quickly expanded into supporting a struggling team. Bhatia not only inspired the players, but inspired generations to get into the sport and has brought together the city’s black and South Asian communities. This is a film that is bound to leave everyone who sees it with a smile on their face and in their hearts.
Sunday 3 July, 15:00, BFI NFT1
Sunday 3 July, 16:00, Picturehouse Central
Q&A with Nav Bhatia and Producer Rinku Ghei
Great British Asians Gala
Great British Asians Gala / UK Premiere
Dir: Pravesh Kumar
With: Rameet Rauli, Viraj Juneja, Seema Bowri, Goldy Notay, Ameet Chana, Nikki Patel, Simon Rivers, Shereener Browne and Madhav Sharma
98 mins | 2022 | UK
English with English subtitles
Pravesh Kumar’s debut feature is a laugh-out-loud story of a dysfunctional Punjabi family in the pressure cooker life of a terraced suburban home in West London. Newly arrived from India, naive Simmy has come to marry the family’s eldest son Raj, who shockingly does a runner, leaving Simmy locked in the house by her domineering mother-in-law. However, Simmy is smarter than she appears, and soon enlists the support of the family’s disgruntled in-laws, including a sugar crazed, diabetic grandpa and dangerous, but hot, brother in law, fresh out of jail. Together they plan Simmy’s big escape.
Friday 24 June, 20:30, BFI NFT1
Thursday 30 June, 18:30, Picturehouse Central
Q&A with Pravesh Kumar, cast and crew
Aparna Sen / In Conversation + The Rapist
Dir: Aparna Sen
With: Konkona Sen Sharma, Arjun Rampal, Tanmay Dhania
132 mins | 2021 | India
Join us for a rare talk by India’s greatest and longest standing woman writer director, known for her frank and honest views on women’s experience, filmmaking in Bengal and other matters. Aparna who first came to international attention as a child actor in the legendary director Satyajit Ray’s classic Teen Kanya (Three Girls) (1961), soon established herself as an established filmmaker in Bengal and then internationally with the acclaimed feature 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981), a slew of acclaimed hits followed, making her one of the most famous names in Bengali cinema.
Aparna Sen’s Busan premiered drama tells of a survivor of rape of and the struggles she goes through to reconcile her life and future. Aparna Sen’s powerful drama world premiered at Busan. Naina (Konkona Sen Sharma), a professor in criminal psychology, is married to academic Aftab (Arjun Rampal). Their lives change one night when Naina is raped and her friend killed. She testifies and the rapist is sentenced. Naina deals with her trauma when she finds she is pregnant. Director Aparna Sen examines the psychology of violence and raises disturbing questions about gender, class and legal rights.
Saturday 2 July, 17:00, BFI NFT1
Konkona Sen Sharma In Conversation
Friday 1 July, 18:00, CINÉ LUMIÈRE
One of Bengal’s favourite and multi-award winning actors Konkona made her debut acting role as a child artist in Indira (1983). She won a National Award for Best Actress for her role in Aparna Sen’s critically successful Mr & Mrs Iyer in 2002. Her role in the nationally acclaimed Page 3 took her to wider audiences, with an award winning role in the hit Shakespearean adaptation by Vishal Bhardwaj; Omkara to follow. Her next films won numerous Filmfare and national awards. Konkona’s directorial debut Death In The Gunj (2016), a 1970s period drama was screened at festivals globally and utilised Konkona’s strength of telling enemseble character driven stories. Konkona is an eloquent speaker on mental health and wellbeing and gender politics, based on her own lived experiences.
Taapsee Pannu In Conversation
Saturday 25 June, 20:30, CINÉ LUMIÈRE
Born in Delhi, of Punjabi origin, Taapsee had a brief modelling career before making her acting debut in the Telugu film Jhummandi Naadam and went on to act in the 2011 Tamil film Aadukalam. She made her Hindi film debut with David Dhawan’s comedy Chashme Baddoor (2013). Taapsee was then lauded for her roles in the Hindi secret agent film Baby (2015) and legal drama Pink (2016), both of which were critical and commercial successes. She gained prominence in Hindi movies with films such as The Ghazi Attack (2017), Mulk (2018), and the romantic drama Manmarziyaan (2018). As a talented, versatile actor with broad linguistic abilities she is able to command work in Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam language films and won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for playing a homely woman struggling through a divorce in Anubhav Sinha’s drama Thappad in 2020.
Nandita Das In Conversation
Thursday 30 June, 18:00, CINÉ LUMIÈRE
Nandita is one of those actors who seems to be loved everywhere she goes, none less than her roles at Cannes, where she has served twice as a jury member. Highly intelligent, an effortlessly elegant character actor with an ability to speak numerous Indian languages, Nandita has played in over 40 feature films so far directed by some of India’s top indie directors. Her memorable debut being the pioneering love story Fire, directed by Deepa Mehta, which was distributed globally. Nandita was able to utilise her literary background in her two features so far as a director, the subtly political drama Firaaq (2008) and Manto (2018) which premiered at Cannes Un Certain Regard. In 2011, she was made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, for her work in Indo-French co-operation in cinema, and was the first Indian to be inducted into the International Hall of Fame International Women’s Forum in Washington. Nandita is a tireless champion of cinema, human rights and health.
Young people often challenge and change the world with fresh ideas and open hearts. We present a clutch of new films that depict young South Asians, some are joyous while others present youth facing and overcoming real-life challenges in South Asia today.
Dir: Iman Zawahry
With: Aizzah Fatima, Shenaz Treasury, Lillete Dubey
91 mins | 2021 | USA
Set in Jackson Heights NY, a heartwarming comedy about a first generation immigrant Pakistani mom (Lilette Dubey), is still recovering from her husband dumping her and the girls years ago. She is now conflicted by the tradition of getting her grown daughters, Maryam and Sam, hitched to suitable Pakistani boys. None too impressed by the young men who come to dinner at mom’s, they decide to take matters into their own hands.
Sunday 26 June, 15:00, Picturehouse Central
Wednesday 23 June, 18:30, Ciné Lumière
Q&A with Iman Zawahry and guests
LIFF showcases independent films, which celebrate depictions of ordinary lives through fiction and documentaries. This year we screen a selection of films that show glimpses of real life in the sub-continent and Asian diaspora, which are sometimes challenging, sometimes feelgood, even comic, but always compelling.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN CALCUTTA
Dir: Aditya Vikram Sengupta
With: Sreelekha Mitra, Shayak Roy, Bratya Basu
131 mins | 2021 | India, France, Norway
Bengali with English subtitles
World premiered at Venice Film Festival, Sengupta’s gorgeously shot film follows the story of Ela, a failed actress; she has recently lost her daughter – who was the only reason for Ela to stay with her husband. Ela faces various setbacks in her personal, professional and love life, but she doesn’t lose hope and sets out to find a new identity, love and independence in the booming streets of Calcutta. Helmed by beautifully nuanced performance from Sreelekha Mitra, the film captures the hustle and bustle of a city constantly in a state of flux.
Thursday 30 June, 18:00, BFI NFT2
Friday 1 July, 20:00, Ciné Lumière
NO LAND’S MAN
Dir: Mostofa Sawar Farooki
With: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Eisha Chopra, Megan Mitchell
101 mins | 2021 | USA, India, Bangladesh, Australia
English, Hindi, Urdu, French, Bengali with English subtitles
In 2019, a man named Naveen (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) disappears from a memorial
park in Sydney while travelling with his girlfriend Cathy. Flashback to New York two years earlier, Naveen finds a job at a restaurant where he meets Cathy, but he is never able to truly be himself, struggling to forge an identity as a migrant in the city. As their relationship deepens, Naveen’s lies begin to catch up with him and unable to tell the truth about anything including his name and nationality, his relationship with Cathy is put to the test and his own existence questioned. One of leading figures of new Bangladeshi cinema, Farooki’s latest is a stirring tale of a man desperately seeking to manufacture an identity in a new place that will allow him to just exist.
Friday 24 June, 18:00, Ciné Lumière
Saturday 25 June, 20:45, Picturehouse Central
Q&A with Mostofa Sawar Farooki
Notes to Editors:
Participating Cinemas include: BFI Southbank, Barbican, Ciné Lumière, Rich Mix, Bertha DocHouse, Picturehouse Central, Picturehouse Stratford, Roof East Stratford, MAC Birmingham, The Electric, Birmingham, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (part of Birmingham City University), Everyman Manchester St John’s, Home Manchester, Ducie Street Warehouse, The Carlton Club and Manchester Poetry Library, Manchester Metropolitan University and streaming UK wide at www.LoveLIFFatHome.com
Great British Asians
Save The Planet
Too Desi Too Queer