Cineswami gives us all the dope on the London Indian Film Festival 2013
Like a newborn baby who grows up faster than you can say puberty, the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF, July 18-25) is already turning four. In keeping with its practice of opening with edgy yet high profile films, with openers of the past three years being LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Delhi Belly and Gangs of Wasseypur, this year the festival opens with Amit Kumar’s Cannes selection Monsoon Shootout – starring India’s latest indie star Nawazuddin Siddiqui – set in the badlands of rain-drenched Mumbai. The festival will close with Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap’s portmanteau celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema, Bombay Talkies.
Unlike New Delhi’s centenary celebrations that did not look beyond Satyajit Ray and Bollywood, LIFF is celebrating Indian cinema in all her diversity and myriad languages. After shocking the world and earning an India ban for Gandu, Q returns with Rabindranath Tagore adaptation Tasher Desh, a psychedelic Bengali film shot in Sri Lanka. There is Lifeu Ishtene director Pawan Kumar’s world premiere of Kannada film Lucia that blurs the distinction between dreams and reality. Tense detective thriller Pune 52 by Nikhil Mahajan is in Marathi and metaphysical road movie The Good Road by Gyan Correa is in Gujarati.
After putting his leading-man days behind him our own Jaggu Dada Jackie Shroff is enjoying an acting renaissance as evidenced in last year’s LIFF audience award-winning Tamil film Aaranya Kaandam. He returns to the festival this year with the charming Life Is Good, by Ananth Mahadevan. Hansal Mehta’s brilliant courtroom drama will also play as will Ajay Bahl’s erotically charged B.A. Pass, featuring former Chak De! India girl Shilpa Shukla as the sexy aunty every hormonal teen oozes at the thought of.
Nandita Das returns to her native Oriya tongue with Devashish Makhija’s environment cautionary fable Oonga and Mohit Takalkar takes the audience on a journey of self-discovery across India with the Hindi and Marathi The Bright Day. Classics have not been omitted and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Malayalam masterpiece Elippathayam will be shown in a special revival. Gopalakrishnan will be present in London to deliver a masterclass.
India’s biggest international star (eat your heart out Bollywood) Irrfan Khan will be centrestage at the British Film Institute to trace his incredible global cinematic journey with his The Warrior director Asif Kapadia.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director said, “We are delighted that the festival is growing from strength to strength. If you want to find out more about South Asian cinema come and soak yourself in a week of magnificent films in London.”