Europe’s Largest Indian Film Festival returns to Birmingham – 11 Independent Films, 2 Music Documentaries and a host of talent over 10 days in 3 cinemas!
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The Bagri Foundation Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF) returns to the city this summer in partnership with the citywide UTSAV celebration of South Asian culture.
Sister to the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, (LIFF) it is regarded as Europe’s largest Indian film festival and will run from Friday 23 June until Sunday 2 July 2017.
The festival opens on Friday 23 June at Cineworld Birmingham, Broad Street with a glittering red-carpet Birmingham premiere of the historical epic, The Black Prince by Kavi Raz, a powerful UK-produced film launched at Cannes. It stars Punjabi singer Satinder Sartaaj, who will be guest of honour on the opening night, iconic actress Shabana Azmi (The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Fire), Jason Flemyng (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, X-Men:First Class) and Amanda Root (Jane Eyre). The film dramatises the true but little-known story of the last King of Punjab who was abducted by the British Raj to be mentored by Queen Victoria.
Back into the 21st Century for the closing night, on 2 July, mac Birmingham will screen the surreal Malayalam road-movie thriller Sexy Durga directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. Winner of the prestigious Tiger Award for best film at Rotterdam International Film Festival Sexy Durga set in Kerala tells the tale of a hitch-hiking couple who try to escape a road to hell after accidentally getting into a car of deranged gangsters.
The acclaimed festival features new and exciting cinema featuring cutting edge films that reaffirm the festival’s position as the ‘punk-rock of Indian cinema’ and is an edgy tie-in, to UK-India Year of Culture and complementing the BFI’s India on Film programme.
Further screenings include the regional premieres of Tamil comedy, Ticket – The Movie (Raaghav Ranganthan, 2017), anarchic Bollywood comedy Badman (Soumik Sen, 2017) and N Padmakumar’s inspirational Mumbai drama A Billion Colour Story (2016). The festival experiments for the first time with horror with the disturbing Hide and Seek (Vishal Furia, 2016), plus the Regional Premiere of Pakistani gangster thriller, Whirlpool (Harune Massey 2017).
The Bagri Foundation Birmingham Indian Film Festival will also host an exclusive ‘In Conversation With’ including Bollywood Director, Ashutosh Gowariker who directed Bollywood superstar, Aamir Khan in the Oscar nominated Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India (2001) and the epic historical romance Jodhaa Akbar (2008) starring former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, LIFF & BIFF Director, says:
“We are delighted to bring Birmingham audiences a carefully curated selection of the very best new Indian and South Asian independent cinema; all films are English subtitled, offering a rare window into over a billion South Asian lives. This year’s selection includes premieres of new comedies, gripping thrillers, shocking horror and insightful true-life documentaries as well as bringing together UK previews of major award-winning films from the world’s greatest film festivals.”
New venue partners for this evolving festival continue to help it serve a broader diverse audience and this year the festival is delighted to welcome The Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen, based at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. The festival’s long-term venues include Cineworld Birmingham Broad Street and mac Birmingham.
The festival is title sponsored by the Bagri Foundation with major support from Grange Hotels, Sun Mark Ltd, and is funded by the BFI’s National Lottery Film Festivals Fund. This year the festival is proud to be working with new partners; Asian Business Chamber of Commerce and Birmingham City University as well as new Media Partner BBC Radio WM alongside the continued support of Desiblitz, Sampad South Asian Arts and Film Birmingham.
Title Sponsor Dr Alka Bagri of the Bagri Foundation adds:
“We are excited to celebrate with LIFF and BIFF the art of Indian independent cinema in this UK India Year of Culture. This year’s programme is a vibrant and diverse mixture of films which explore all aspects of human experience, tackling hard-hitting issues through fiction and documentary. The films screened are in a wide range of South Asian languages to reflect the linguistic diversity of Birmingham’s Indian and South Asian communities and all films are subtitled in English.”
Following the festival, selected films will be made available on the BFI’s VOD service, BFI Player. For more, visit www.birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk
For Media Enquiries and Interviews please contact: Mandy Rose, M Seven Public Relations
firstname.lastname@example.org // Mobile Phone: 07454 365421
OPENING NIGHT FILM:
THE BLACK PRINCE: BIRMINGHAM Premiere – 118 min
English, Punjabi & Hindi – English Subtitles | India 2017 | Director: Kavi Raz | With: Satinder Sartaaj, Jason Flemyng, Shabana Azmi, Amanda Root, Ameet Chana, David Essex. Attended by Guest star Satinder Sartaaj
Punjabi music superstar Satinder Sartaaj shines in his film debut as Maharajah Duleep Singh alongside powerful Indian actor Shabana Azmi and Jason Flemyng (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). The Black Prince is an exquisitely photographed and sumptuously designed period drama with a tiger’s bite as it offers an insight into a controversial chapter of shared British Indian colonial history. After the death of Sikh Maharajah Ranjit Singh, ruler of Punjab, there is a violent war of succession until his youngest son, the five-year-old Duleep Singh is installed as king. The British, however, have other plans, and bundle the boy off to England where he is brought up as a Christian in the lap of luxury under the personal care of Queen Victoria (Amanda Root). In early adulthood Duleep (Satinder Sartaaj) is torn between two cultures and secures begrudging permission from Queen Victoria to meet his real mother (Shabana Azmi). She soon awakens him to his original Sikh faith and culture, which sets him on a dangerous quest to challenge the British Raj and free his people.
23 JUNE | 18.00 | CINEWORLD BROAD STREET
ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER IN CONVERSATION
Join us to hear one of the finest Indian commercial directors of his generation reflect on his career so far. Known for his sweeping narratives, Ashutosh Gowariker directed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in the Oscar®-nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) and won the Audience Award at Locarno International Film Festival that year. Under his direction, star Shah Rukh Khan delivered one of the finest performances of his career in Gowariker’s Swades (2004), as did Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the Mughal-inspired epic Jodhaa Akbar (2008).
24 JUNE | 17:30 | CINEWORLD BROAD STREET
TICKET – THE MOVIE
90 min | India 2017
Tamil – English subtitles
Director: Raaghav Ranganathan
With: Raaghav Ranganathan, Karthik Kumar, Lakshmipriyaa Chandramouli, Sanam Shetty.
We present the World Premiere of this laugh-out-loud comedy. Avinash is a young, nutty professor who struggles to be decisive. Grading reports have to be put aside when his hopes for the girl of his dreams collapse and through a series of blunders, he gets on the wrong side of murderous local gangsters. To make matters worse, his eccentric best mate, Athif, is drowned at sea. As Avinash’s future goes into a rollercoaster meltdown, Athif’s ghost returns to help his buddy and things get a whole lot freakier, heading towards a rip-roaring life after death finale. Raaghav Ranganathan, an actor noted for S Shankar’s Enthiran (The Robot) makes his directorial debut.
24 JUNE | 20.00 | CINEWORLD BROAD STREET
85 min | Italy 2017
Italian & Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Gigi Roccati
With: Amber Dutta, Rahul Dutta, Nav Ghotra, Renato Carpentieri.
Followed by Q&A with Director Gigi Roccati & Actor Nav Ghotra
Set in the backstreets of Trieste, Italy, this feel-good, song-soaked film
highlights the power of sisterhood. Young Indian immigrant Kamala and her parents have just moved into a tenement with other immigrant families and an old Italian teacher, who accuses them of eating the local cats. As an eviction notice looms, the drastically different women of each family fight together to save their home.
25 JUNE | 14.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
84 min | India 2017
Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Soumik Sen
With: Gulshan Grover, Chunky Pandey, Rishi Kapoor, Manisha Koirala, Farah Khan.
Followed by Q&A with Director Soumik Sen
A mad, comic caper where the legendary villain of Bollywood, Gulshan Grover, decides to re-launch himself in the film industry, but this time as a hero! The not so young Grover enlists the help of his dysfunctional sons and begrudging Bollywood stars including Chunky Pandey and Farah Khan to help him achieve his transformation. Guided by his ‘friends’ our hero soon slips into increasingly hilarious and delusional situations as they plan his launch movie. Badman explores the dark yet funny side of Bollywood where almost anything is possible.
Its epic mockumentary style is a first for Indian cinema.
25 JUNE | 18.00 | CINEWORLD BROAD STREET
106 min | India 2017
Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Amit Masurkar.
With: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathy, Anjali Patil.
Followed by Q&A with Director Amit Masurkar
An award-winner at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2017, this delightful black comedy stars one of India’s top young character actors, Rajkummar Rao, as Newton, an everyday clerk who is selected for election duty in the conflict-ridden Indian state of Chhattisgarh. As local police and Maoists harass the locals and the voting process spirals out of control, the morally driven Newton becomes a reluctant hero in his zest to save the day.
26 JUNE | 19.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
A BILLION COLOUR STORY
115 min | India 2016
English, Hindi & Urdu – English subtitles
Director: N Padmakumar
With: Gaurav Sharma, Vauka Sunkavalli, Dhruva Padmakumar.
Followed by Q&A with Director N. Padmakumar
Hari’s father Imran is Muslim, but is untethered by religion, as is his Hindu mother, Parvati. They’re inspirational parents who are struggling to make their first feature film. Imran firmly believes that India is an incredible country, that will always overcome its differences, but as mum and dad run into financial problems, the family has to downsize to rented apartments and come face-to-face with an onslaught of religious prejudices and corruption. As his disillusioned parents discuss whether to stay in the country they love, or leave, Hari hatches his own secret plan to save the day.
27 JUNE | 20.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
ZIKR US PARIVASH KA (IN PRAISE OF THAT ANGEL FACE)
DOUBLE BILL WITH: OVERTONE
64 min | India 2016
Hindi & Urdu – English subtitles
Director: Nirmal Chander Dandriyal
With: Raaghav Yatindra Mishra, Saleem Kidwai, Shruti Sadolikar Katkar.
As one of the last great courtesans of India, Begum Akhtar was called Malika-e-Ghazal (Queen of the Ghazal) for her legendary voice. She sang the ghazal, dadra and thumri genres of north Indian Hindustani classical music. This gem of a documentary weaves together rare footage and stories of those who remember her with fondness.
32 min | India 2016
Tamil with English subtitles.
Dir Rajiv Menon. With Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
Overtone traces the origin of South Indian Carnatic classical music with a vivid picture of legendary percussionist Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
28 JUNE | 19.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
100 min | UK/India 2016
Bengali – English subtitles
Director: Amit Ranjan Biswas
With: Soumitra Chatterjee, Sandhya Mridul.
Followed by Q&A with Director Amit Ranjan Biswas
Satyajit Ray’s beloved actor Soumitra Chatterjee heads up the cast of this life-affirming tale. On a suicide bridge outside Kolkata, two strangers meet An elderly widower sees a young woman about to jump. Forgetting his own suicide attempt, he stops her from jumping. Taking her into his care, he discovers her story, and what had seemed a dead end to both lives morphs into a crossroads.
28 JUNE | 19.30 | THE MOCKINGBIRD CINEMA
LAPACHHAPI (HIDE AND SEEK)
110 min | India 2016
Marathi – English subtitles
Director: Vishal Furia
With: Pooja Sawant, Usha Naik, Vikram Gaikwad.
Neha, an eight months pregnant woman and her husband escape goons in the big city seeking shelter in their driver’s house, deep in rural India. But the house and the surrounding eerie, impenetrable maze of sugarcane fields are rustling with secrets of a disturbing past that start appearing rapidly. Neha soon realises she is in a deadly trap, and there is only one way out. This truly scary genre film blends in social concern as it highlights chilling practices still prevalent in India today.
30 JUNE | 20.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
ONDU MOTTEYA KATHE (EGGHEAD)
123 min | India 2017
Kannada – English subtitles
Director: Raj B Shetty
With: Raj B Shetty, Amrutha Naik, Shreya Anchan.
Pawan Kumar, winner of the LIFF 2013 Audience Award for Lucia, returns as a producer with this warm-hearted comic tale of a young bald man Janardhan, trying to find his soulmate, someone who will see the person he really is, beyond the shine on his head. Janardhan is frustrated by the girls that pass him by, but one day in an identity mix-up, his family thinks he is in love with a large girl and much to his horror, bring her into the clan. However, as Janardhan struggles to be free of the girl, he is forced to learn some important lessons on happiness.
1 JULY | 17.45 | mac BIRMINGHAM
93 min | Pakistan 2017
Urdu – English subtitles
Director: Harune Massey
With: Amna Ilyas, Fawad Khan, Gohar Rasheed.
The Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet in this cleverly spun gangster romance. Amongst the pulsating cityscape of Karachi, Pakistan, a young man brought up to a life of underworld vice and killings attends the wedding of a rival gangster clan. Here he falls for the proud daughter of a rival Don. Their forbidden dangerous liaisons soon escalate to an obsessive love, intensified by the ever-present risk of death. The film is also an intimate portrait of a city where ethnic and class divisions simmer amidst turf wars.
1 JULY | 19.00 | CINEWORLD BROAD STREET
CLOSING NIGHT: SEXY DURGA
Malayalam – English subtitles | India 2017 |
Director: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
With: Rajshri Deshpande, Kannan Nayar, Vishnu Vedh.
Followed by Q&A with Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
The festival closes with a gripping film noir, white-knuckle ride. Sexy Durga won the prestigious Tiger award for Best Film at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival and a host of other accolades worldwide. On a long and lonely midnight highway, North Indian migrant Durga and Kabeer, a Keralite youth, are running away from their past. They hitch a lift, but soon realise that their all-male car hosts are seriously unhinged small-time gangsters, transporting arms. As their journey takes a sharp road bend into a surreal hell, complete with masked and mysterious Durga Puja festivities, the couple must fight to survive the night. One screening only, don’t miss it!
2 JULY | 18.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM
Notes to Editors
Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF)
Formerly known as the London Indian Film Festival in Birmingham, the festival takes place in Birmingham for a third year, with a rebrand as the Birmingham Indian Film Festival, marking the Festival’s permanent commitment to the region.
The Bagri Foundation
The Bagri Foundation, is a UK registered charity established in 1990. It was set up to provide philanthropic assistance through education, relief-work, the advancement of health and the preservation of Asia’s cultural heritage.
The foundation’s aim is to make Asian art and culture more accessible through multiple media including art, film, music, dance and literature to excite, inspire, engage and inform.
Since 2012, the foundation has further developed the cultural arm of the Foundation through its own signature educational art programmes, courses and events.
UTSAV Festival of South Asian culture.
Birmingham City Council has nominated 2017 as Utsav: Year of South Asian Culture. Utsav is an old Sanskrit word meaning festival or celebration.
2017 marks an important milestone in South Asian history with the 70th anniversary of independence of India and formation of Pakistan as a nation. Activities will be taking place in Birmingham and across the country to mark the UK’s longstanding cultural ties with the Indian subcontinent.
Utsav 2017 will celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity of Birmingham with plenty of colourful and exciting activities for all the city’s communities to participate in and enjoy throughout the year, featuring a mix of local talent and established international artists.
UK/India Year of Culture
In 2017, the UK and India are celebrating a major bilateral year of cultural exchange.
India and the UK have a long and rich history. UK/India 2017 will enrich relationships at all levels of society, their institutions and government, building a shared future for generations to come.
2017 will see an incredible programme of cultural events and activities in India organised by the British Council, and a similar programme in the UK organised by the Government of India. We believe that by experiencing the most innovative and exciting creative work from both countries and exploring our joint history, people will want to know more about each other’s countries and build deeper connections.