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Ashish Pant’s Uljhan to be premiered at the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival


The drama is the only Indian film in the line-up for the American festival.

Sonal Pandya

Ashish Pant’s Uljhan (2021), starring Vikas Kumar and Saloni Batra, is due to have its world premiere at the 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) this week.

The American festival is being held as a hybrid event from 31 March to 10 April due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pant’s debut feature is set in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and follows a wealthy couple, Shirish and Geeta, dealing with the extended ramifications of running over a poor rickshaw driver at the night. When the driver’s brother Manoj (Nehpal Gautam) contacts them later, it further drives a wedge between them.

The drama is the only Indian film in the line-up for the festival. Previously, Indian films like Leena Yadav's Parched (2016), starring Tannishtha Chatterjee and Radhika Apte, and Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Mukti Bhawan (2017), starring Adil Hussain, have played at the festival.

SBIFF will open with the documentary Invisible Valley by Aaron Maurer. The festival is also set to pay to tribute to artistes like Bill Murray, Carey Mulligan, Sacha Baron Cohen and Amanda Seyfried; these events will be available to view online in a livestream.

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Santa Barbara International Film Festival