The 15th London Asian Film Festival Focuses on the Changing Face of Indian Cinema


As part of its tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema, the 15th annual London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) by Tongues on Fire will celebrate Indian cinema’s centenary and will focus on the rise of Indian cinema as well as the journey of women in particular. The festival will be held from 7th to 17th March 2013

The festival will kick off with an opening gala screening of ‘Listen… Amaya’ – written and scripted by Geeta Singh – at the British Film Institute on 7th March. There is a wide selection of mix of new independent films, recent thought-provoking ones and some old classics. As part of its Beyond Borders theme, films from the US, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Britain will also be showcased during the festival.

The highlight in the Pakistani segment is the UK premiere of ‘Seedlings (Lamha)’, with lead actress Aamina Sheikh and producer Meher Jaffri engaging with the audience in a Q&A.

London-based Pakistani plastic surgeon Dr Mohammad Jawad’s journey to Pakistan to perform reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid violence as part of the documentary ‘Saving Face’ takes the debate further to violence against women. Directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Daniel Junge, the film was awarded the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

There will also be a retrospective thread from March at the Nehru Centre that will include a director’s workshop with Gauri Shinde, the debutante director of English Vinglish—a film about a woman who enrolls herself in an English learning course  in order to learn this universal lingua franca and get some respect from her husband and kids. The festival closes on a lighter note on March 17 with filmmaker Anurag Basu’s award-winning ‘Barfi!’

UK has been a firm favourite with many Indian directors who have shot their movies time and again here. For late veteran director Yash Chopra, UK was a home away from home. Although the mass appeal of Indian cinema has increased over the years many still consider it to be a song and dance spectacle. But, a new crop of directors are challenging this notion and changing the face of Indian cinema.

Last year saw many different films like Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor, story of a sperm donor, English Vinglish and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur breaking the set mould. The dark gangland drama, which premiered at Cannes, has been compared with Tarantino-style movies.

By Dhanya Nair



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