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The Blue Orchid Hotels London Indian Film Festival Encourages UK Asian Audiences Back Into UK Cinemas

The Blue Orchid Hotels London Indian Film Festival Encourages UK Asian Audiences Back Into UK Cinemas



12th July 2022 

 Running over two weeks and 4 cities – London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – The Blue Orchid Hotels London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) delivered a record year in terms of cinema partners, visiting top international talent and its largest in cinema UK South Asian festival audience to date, via an eclectic mix of premieres, special events and live Q&As.

Resonating with the festival’s audiences around the UK, LIFF is proud to announce Director Pan Nalin’s poignantode to cinema Last Film Show (aka Chhello Show) as the winner of its audience voted Best Film Award. It follows the Gujarati Indian filmmaker’s success with other award winning films including Samsara, Valley of the Flowers, Angry Indian Goddess.Pan Nalin, Director of LAST FILM SHOW, LIFF Best Film Award Winner 2022

Pan Nalin says: “This is truly inspiring, uplifting, and enlightening! As a filmmaker the only dream I cherish is to be loved by the audience. And all credits goes to passionate Cary Sawhney and his excellent team at the London Indian Film Festival along with Birmingham, and Manchester, they work so hard to bring the best of Indian cinema to people in the UK that too in amazing venues with in-person shows.”

Supported by title sponsor Blue Orchid Hotels, Integrity International, the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), Bagri Foundation and Arts Council of England, this year’s London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) ran over two weeks from 23rd June -8th July. Selection of the programme is also available on BFI Player and the LoveLiffatHome Online Player.

Ben Luxford, BFI’s Head of UK Audiences, said: “Another great edition of LIFF – a Festival with wonderful programming – and it’s been so great to see a strong return to in person screenings. We awarded National Lottery funding through the BFI Audience Fund to enable the Festival to have a wider footprint across the UK and to raise the profile of South Asian cinema, and it is brilliant to see it achieve that and more.”

An exciting line-up of strong female filmmakers and talent featured at this year’s festival  with In Conversations including India’s most prolific female director Aparna Sen, critically acclaimed actor/filmmaker and two time Cannes jury member Nandita Das and dynamic Indian acting talent Konkona Sen Sharma who received LIFF awards respectively.

Aparna Sen says: “It was a rare honour and pleasure to receive the Icon Award from LIFF. Making films on my own terms without commercial compromise for 40 years, has often seemed a thankless job, but now, after the Icon Award from LIFF I feel vindicated. Thank you LIFF for continuing to believe in meaningful cinema.

Nandita Das says: “I am grateful for the LIFF ICON Award. I have seen LIFF grow from strength to strength and I am touched by their appreciation of my choices and my work. It means a lot to me.”

In the Satayjit Ray short film category Jaagran, co-directed by Ritviq Joshi & Hardik Sadhwani,wins the LIFF Jury Prize. Jury judges awarded the film for its “engaging, relatable and witty exploration of a serious issue everyone can identify with” and found it “socially and politically astute, brilliantly acted and hilariously funny.”

Ritviq Joshi & Hardik Sadhwani say: “Jaagran was an over-ambitious 20 page dream that we saw together. Miraculously, we put together an experienced team who believed in the script and helped us learn and turn our dream into reality. Today, after getting the honour of receiving an award with Satyajit Ray’s name on it, we’re back to square one. We’re back in a dream. Only this time, it’s not limited to the two of us. This one belongs to twenty more dreamers. Thank you team Jaagran and Thank you LIFF.”

LIFF Competition Winners:

–          Last Film Show, Pan Nalin: Audience Award

–          Jaagran, Ritviq Joshi & Hardik Sadhwani: Jury Prize

–          Taapsee Pannu: Outstanding Achievement Award

–          Konkona Sen Sharma: Outstanding Achievement Award

–          Nandita Das: Outstanding Achievement Award

–          Aparna Sen: Icon Award

See Also

LIFF Women Make Movies Panel with Konkona Sen Sharma, Aparna Sen, Nandita Das and Sangeeta Dutta

Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE says: “We are delighted that the festival’s drive to return fully to cinemas in UK cities London, Birmingham and Manchester has been responded to by record audiences. Certain cinemas, such as the BFI Southbank, described the festival as their best seller over the period. There is clearly an appetite to return to the big screen, especially with a festival cocktail of high quality premieres  with frequent guest appearances. What is notable this year is that comedies such as A Fishy Trip, Little English and Americanish have been particularly well attended, and frequently sold out. By contrast certain challenging debate provoking films like Sen’s The Rapist also attracted good audiences.

This year, we have had a march of high level Indian talent to the festival which has been difficult to ignore, helmed by our world premiere of enfant terrible director Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaaraa with Bollywood stars Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati on the red carpet. The tour de force of female indie actor-director greats Aparna Sen, Nandita Das and Konkona Sen Sharma, plus British icon Meera Syal, strongly cemented the image of the festival as the sole destination for intellectually, stimulating but entertaining debate, with young women in particular stating that the Q&As and In Conversations had deeply inspired them. All in all we have had a record year.”

This year’s LIFF was supported by a new title sponsor – Blue Orchid Hotels. With its excellent locations, exceptional standards and commitment to making a difference within communities, the partnership positively demonstrates the support of the arts by private business. The company also pursues a number of charitable endeavours, including raising awareness of child trafficking and women’s rights which are complementary to themes and causes that the festival also platforms.

Title Sponsor Tony Matharu, Patron of the London Indian Film Festival, Chairman of Blue Orchid Hotels and Integrity International Trust and Founder and Chairman of the Central London Alliance (C.I.C.) says: “There has never been a more important time to demonstrate support for London and the UK’s culture and arts sector and, whilst a Patron since the very first London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) 13 years ago, I am personally delighted to have Blue Orchid Hotels as the title sponsor this year. The creative and arts sectors and cities, particularly London, have been disastrously and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and government and other restrictions on mobility of communal gatherings.  The importance of sharing experiences, human contact and the need to witness diversity have all been highlighted in recent times.  Moreover as the regrettable war in Ukraine continues causing energy price rises and food poverty across the globe there has never been a more important time for us to garner information and through that understanding of the world around us.

Films such as No Land’s Man, The Rapist and Ladies Only put the spotlight on difficult subjects or feel-good movies like Little English, Americanish and Superfan: The Nav BhatiaStory has the ability to reach the emotions, hearts and minds in a way that no other form of media can. We at Blue Orchid Hotels are both delighted and proud to ensure that LIFF continues to thrive, revealing a diverse range of talent to packed audiences and keeping them entertained, informed, shocked and thrilled whilst placing the spotlight on the arts sector and its importance, particularly in these times.  All of this in London – the world’s greatest city in which to live, work, learn, invest, visit and to be entertained.”

The festival drew to a close with the European premiere of inspirational and uplifting sports documentary Superfan: The Nav Bhatia Story with Nav Bhatia and members from the world of sports, music and entertainment in attendance.

Closing Gala Premiere Superfan: The Nav Bhatia Story – Producer Rinku Ghei, LIFF Director Cary Sawhney, Nav Bhatia and Blue Orchid Hotels CEO Tony Matharu

Opening Gala World Premiere Dobaaraa – Shay Grewal, LIFF Festival Director Cary Sawhney, Lead Actor Pavail Gulati, Lead Actor Taapsee Pannu, Producer Sunir Kheterpal, Director Anurag Kashyup,  Blue Orchid Hotels CEO Tony Matharu