Full list of screenings for Birmingham Indian Film Festival 2018

Screenings at Midlands Arts Centre/Cineworld Broad Street/Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen

Birmingham Indian Film Festival is Europe’s largest Indian film showcase and runs from 22 June – 1 July 2018. Here's the full list of everything you can expect to see.

Friday 22 June

Love Sonia – Opening Night Gala
Cineworld Broad Street, 7:00 pm

Inspired by true events, this is the story of a young Indian village girl, Sonia. Her life changes irrevocably when she is entrapped in the global sex trade while trying to save her beloved sister Preeti. Struggling to free herself from small-time pimps, Sonia does not realise they are merely the foot soldiers of a ruthless, powerful army with its reach around the world. As she becomes aware of the enormity of the odds against her, Sonia is sustained by a fragile dream that is worth surviving for. Battling with a strength she didn’t know she had, her searing journey spans three continents and a lifetime of experiences that no young girl should have. Sonia is determined not to become one of the 800,000 women and children who are victims of the international sex trade industry every year.

Followed by Q&A with director Tabrez Noorani and cast and crew.

Saturday 23 June

Gali Guliyan (In the Shadows)
Cineworld Broad Street, 7:00 pm

In the walled city of Old Delhi, a reclusive shopkeeper spends his days obsessively watching people through hidden closed circuit cameras. When he overhears a boy being beaten by a man, he begins to frantically search for the child. As he becomes lost in the labyrinthine alleys of the city, his grasp on reality falters, until he eventually stumbles across a shocking truth about a father and an abused son. Dipesh Jain’s feature film debut is a superbly dark and atmospheric psychological thriller that expertly explores the roots of paranoia.

Followed by Q&A with director Dipesh Jain

My Son is Gay
Midlands Arts Centre, 8:00 pm

Varun is a happy-go-lucky, handsome young man who is the apple of his mother Lakshmi’s eye. He believes his mother would be by his side no matter what. When Lakshmi discovers Varun is gay, she is shocked and vows it is something she will never accept.  As he decides to move on with his life and find love, Lakshmi decides to seek out her lost son. My Son is Gay is a poignant tale of a multilayered mother son relationship, that sensitively tackles universal themes of tolerance and acceptance.

Sunday 24 June

Midlands Arts Centre, 2:00 pm

Uma, a young girl who lives with her father in Switzerland, is diagnosed with a disease that could be terminal. Her greatest desire in life is to participate in the Durga Puja, the annual joyous celebrations which take place in October. The trouble is that Uma may not have until October and her father, with the help of an award-winning filmmaker and the entire city of Kolkata, undertakes to recreate the festival in the summer as a special treat for his beloved daughter. Based on a true story, ace filmmaker Srijit Mukherji crafts a life affirming emotional tale that is a celebration of the human spirit.

Cineworld Broad Street, 4:00 pm

In the village of Bhugaon Keshav is a well-known astrologer, with an even more famous yellow cycle, known as Sunshine. The cycle, inherited from his grandfather after he passed away, is Keshav’s most prized possession. One evening two wandering thieves  steal his bike and as Keshav pines away for his beloved machine, he is unable to focus on his astrology and his predictions start going wrong. Unable to see Keshav crestfallen, the villagers band together to plan to somehow reunite the two. Cycle is a magical and life affirming story of love, hope and happiness.

Monday 25 June

Doob (No Bed of Roses)
Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, 8:30 pm

Successful movie director Javed Hasan finds himself in a midlife crisis, questioning whether marriage and career have demanded too much from him. A tryst with Nitu, his daughter’s childhood friend, turns into a national scandal and his loving family is torn apart. Javed and Nitu marry, but it’s no bed of roses for the couple as they receive the wrath of judgmental Bangladeshi society. The latest film from Bangladesh’s most renowned filmmaker features a powerful central performance from internationally respected Indian actor Irrfan Khan. The film has been festooned with accolades at the Moscow and Shanghai film festivals.

Followed by Q&A with director Mostofa Farooki

Tuesday 26 June

Teen Aur Aadha (Three and a Half)
Midlands Arts Centre, 8:00 pm

This beautifully layered, and stylistically groundbreaking saga narrates the story of one house which exists in three different eras. A young boy struggles with the pressures of pre-pubescent school life. Twenty years later the house is now a brothel where a young virgin sex-worker is dealing with her first client. While 30 years later, the place is now a sublime home of an elderly couple that love, laugh and dance together, sharing many secrets of happy companionship. The film has been shot in three takes and a half-take at the end, which exhibits the house under renovation, symbolising the emergence of new stories and the inevitable nature of change in time.

Wednesday 27 June

Bird of Dusk
Midlands Arts Centre, 7:00 pm

A fearless, elegant and poetic insight into the career and private life of the late and legendary director Rituparno Ghosh, who we are proud to say attended our festival in our early days. Sangeeta Datta’s film invites reflections by some of Indian cinemas finest actors and filmmakers who recall Ghosh’s impact on their lives including Sharmila Tagore, Aparna Sen, Arjun Rampal, Nandita Das and Prasenjit Chatterjee. These are montaged with Ghosh’s films and his interviews depicting amongst other things an artist’s relationship to their beloved city Kolkata and a personal crusade to find their non-gender specific identity.

Followed by Q&A with Sangeeta Datta and guests

Thursday 28 June

Village Rockstars
Midlands Arts Centre, 7:00 pm

Recipient of multiple international awards, Village Rockstars is an instant crowd-pleaser. A single mother and her 10 year old daughter Dhunu live in a remote flood-prone Assamese village. Dhunu is not a shy, submissive girl and with a vibrant spirit and imagination she dreams of setting up her own rock band. She fashions a make-believe guitar out of expanded polystyrene and jams in the rice fields with her boy mates. Noticing an old guitar has come up for sale in the market Dhunu attempts schemes to raise money to buy it, but as the local women complain about Dhunu’s un-girlish behaviour, her mother is forced to make a stand.

Followed by Q&A with Director Rima Das

Friday 29 June

Eaten By Lions
Midlands Arts Cente, 6:00 pm

A laugh out loud and wryly written British comedy about two half brothers who were brought up by their grandma in Bradford after their parents were accidentally killed by lions in a safari park. On their grandma’s sudden death the teenage boys are looking for family care, but while one brother Pete, of English parentage, gets foisted on his controlling English aunty, the other brother Omar travels to the fabled holiday resort of Blackpool in search of his real Asian dad. Both brothers unable to cope with being separated soon end up together on the riviera of the North, but as Omar discovers his new orthodox Muslim family all mayhem breaks loose.

Followed by Q&A with Jason Wingard and special guests

Saturday 30 June

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award
Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, 4:00 pm

This is the first time Birmingham will screen the annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition and Award which offers a rare chance to see the works of talented, emerging filmmakers, who are exploring themes of South Asian experience. The competition’s final shortlist films are screened at SOAS on 27 June and the winner of the 2018 award is announced at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival’s Closing Night.

In association with the Bagri Foundation.

Midlands Arts Centre, 6:00 pm

This lovely family film that addresses social issues in a light-hearted manner follows Pichku, a boy growing up in one of Delhi’s oldest slums, who fights against having to defecate in the open. After failing to convince his family and others to build a toilet, Pichku and his friend Gopi make it their mission to try and get one built. This is the ultimate feel good film that is both charming and heart warming. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Montreal Film Festival, the film also boasts of a terrific soundtrack by virtuoso Bollywood composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

The Song of Scorpions
Cineworld Broad Street, 7:00 pm

Mesmerisingly beautiful – this poetic tale is set within the deep desert landscapes of rural Rajasthan. Nooran is a defiantly independent young tribal woman trained by her grandmother in the ancient healing remedy of singing to counteract the deadly poison of scorpion stings. A lone camel herder Aadam (Irrfan Khan) is Nooran’s admirer, but spurned by her he hatches a twisted plot to win her heart. Director Anup Singh’s meditative direction elicits intense but restrained performances from lead actors Golshifteh Farahani (About Elly) and Irrfan Khan (The Lunchbox) with a cameo by the legendary actress Waheeda Rehman.

Followed by Q&A with director Anup Singh

Sunday 1 July

T for Taj Mahal
Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, 2:15 pm

In this inspirational charmer, an illiterate villager runs a roadside eatery near the world famous Taj Mahal. He is concerned that another generation of the villagers will also grow up without an education and get ridiculed and duped as he has been. He hatches a unique social enterprise idea of offering tourists who eat his food the option of paying their bill, or teaching the local youngsters. The idea is an initial hit, that is until a big company muscles in. This delightfully eye opening  film features an outstanding cast of both international and Indian actors including Ali Faulkner  (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Pitobash (Million Dollar Arm) and Subrat Dutta (Talaash).

Venus – Closing Night Gala
Midlands Arts Centre, 6:00 pm

An award-winning, laugh-out-loud comedy about alternative family values, self-empowerment and love. Sid is a Montreal Punjabi, who after years of struggling with their gender identity has decided to come out as a woman. Other than Sid’s mom crying a lot, all seems to be moving in the right direction, that is until a 14-year-old boy turns up and insists that Sid is his long lost dad from a teenage affair. Shocked – obviously, Sid’s world rapidly spirals out of orbit as Sid attempts to nurture this latch-on teenager who thinks having a transgender Dad is “cool”, an in-the-closet partner and an about to combust Punjabi mom.

Followed by Q&A with Director Eisha Marjara, and then a celebratory reception in MAC’s bar.

Check out BIFF’s website here.

Find the full list of BIFF 2018 screenings in the programme below:


Sampad are proud sponsors of Birmingham Indian Film Festival.
The festival showcases the newest and most cutting-edge independent films, guaranteed to entertain and offer fascinating insights into a billion South Asian lives.

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