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Bittersweet, Sthalpuran, Kayattam are part of London Indian Film Festival line-up


Karan Johar, Asif Kapadia, Hanif Kureishi, Gurinder Chadha, Shruti Haasan and Janhvi Kapoor will be in conversation at the English festival.

Our Correspondent

The London Indian Film Festival, organized by the Bagri Foundation, will take place this year from 17 June to 2 July in London, Birmingham and Manchester in England. It will also be accessible online on the festival’s official website. 

Ananth Mahadevan’s Bittersweet (Marathi), Vinod Kamble’s Kastoori: The Musk (Hindi), the Manju Warrier-starrer Kayattam (Malayalam) and Darshan Trivedi’s Mara Pappa Superhero (Gujarati) are some of the films that will be screened in the Young Rebel section at the festival. Filmmaker Akshay Indikar will have two films, Sthalpuran and Trijya, in the same section.  

The multi-language film WOMB (Women Of My Billions) will be the opening film while Alex Pillai’s English movie Flight will close the festival.

The festival will also celebrate Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham (2002) in the Great British Asians section.

The films that have been chosen in the Extraordinary Lives section include Satyajit Ray’s Abhijaan (1962, Bengali), Mangesh Joshi’s Karkhanisanchi Waari (Marathi), Ramesh Sharma’s Ahimsa: Gandhi — The Power Of The Powerless (Hindi) and Kislay’s Aise Hee (Hindi).

Nila Madhab Panda’s Kalira Atita (Odia) has made it to the Save the Planet category. 

The guests from the film industry who will be having conversations at the festival are Karan Johar, Asif Kapadia, Hanif Kureishi, Gurinder Chadha, Shruti Haasan and Janhvi Kapoor.

The festival will also commemorate K Asif’s magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam (1960) in the Golden Age of Cinema section.

Besides, this year, LIFF will organize a Satyajit Say Short Film Competition.

Expressing his happiness at Bittersweet being selected for screening at the festival, director Ananth Mahadevan said, “Bittersweet has been perhaps the most challenging film to make. The issue of hysterectomy in the sugarcane fields has never been attempted before and it took the foresight of two lady producers making their debut [Quest Films’ Suchhanda Chatterjee and Shubha Shetty] to greenlight such a potent film.”

The film has been to other festivals recently. “We were thrilled on being part of the official selection at Busan where the world premiere got us a great review in Screen International. [This was] followed [by the] Hainan Island and Kolkata international film festivals. Now we are glad to be selected at the highly regarded London Indian film Festival for a European premiere," Ananth said.

On the film’s subject, he said, “The issue tackled in the film is a shocking eye-opener to what I call the ‘blood sugar’ scandal and raises the question of humanity destroying its progeny to further economic progress. Akshaya Gurav makes an impactful debut as the protagonist." The film also features Suresh Vishwakarma, Smita Tambe and Guru Thakur.

Ananth added, “LIFF has played my earlier films Mee Sindhutai Sapkal (2010) and Gour Hari Dastaan (2015) also. So it’s exciting to return to a festival that gets a discerning audience to watch cinema of substance.”

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, executive and programming director at LIFF, said in a statement, “A big personal thanks to all our audiences who stayed with the festival last year and helped make it one of the few success stories in the film industry. This year’s festival is dedicated to you with love.”

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London Indian Film Festival