In a challenging year for India and South Asia, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival and its sister festivals in Birmingham and Manchester, will be a love letter to the homelands, continuing to premiere the very best of new indie films from the Indian subcontinent and diaspora, from 17th June to 4th July 2021.
Supported by the British Film Institute (BFI) using funds from the National Lottery, this will include the festival’s Opening Night UK Gala Premiere of W.O.M.B. (Women of My Billion), an inspirational feature documentary telling of one woman, Srishti Bakshi, who walks the entire length of India (nearly 4,000 kms), over 240 days to explore the experiences of other women in its billion plus population. Another highlight of the festival is our special focus on British Asian filmmakers and their continued contribution to British cinema’s success, while often depicting realistic stories of British Asian immigrant experience.
Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE says:
“Last year we grew our audiences quite substantially by going online and UK-wide. With the UK scene improving, we are delighted to not only offer a strong high definition online experience on LoveLIFFatHome.com, but to also welcome our audiences back to the big screen in 3 major UK cities, at some of their finest cinemas. We will be showcasing the unstoppable force that is India’s rich and diverse filmmaking, and of course the festival will be helping to highlight and support Covid charities working in South Asia. In this year when ‘Britishness’ is being re-defined, we offer our ‘Great British Asians’ strand which will celebrate British Asian filmmakers and throw a spotlight on exciting emerging talents”.
This year’s highlights include on stage Special In Conversations with The Times 50 greatest British screenwriters Hanif Kureshi (My Beautiful Laundrette), Oscar and BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy, The Warrior) at BFI Southbank, legendary director Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji On The Beach), alongside the 20th anniversary of the making of her Bend It Like Beckham, and British change-maker feminist filmmaker Pratibha Parmar (The Colour of Britain, Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth) at the Barbican. The festival also celebrates epochal Indian heroes with the premiere of feature doc Ahimsa: Gandhi The Power of the Powerless and celebrates India’s greatest director Satyajit Ray on his 100th birth anniversary plus In Conversation events online with Bollywood hitmaker Karan Johar, pan Indian actress Shruti Haasan and young achiever, Janhvi Kapoor.
One of Ray’s greatest actors, the late Soumitra Chatterjee is also profiled in the premiere of Abhijaan, while light-hearted moments are brought with the premieres of Bengali drama Searching For Happiness and black comedy Ashes On A Road Trip. The Tiger Award winner at the 50th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Koozhangal (Pebbles) in Tamil, makes its UK debut at the cinema, as does Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s Kayattam (A’hr) in Malayalam, starring one of South India’s most decorated actresses, Manju Warrier. Iram Parveen Bilal’s Narrative Feature Grand Jury Award nominee at South By Southwest in 2020, I’ll Meet You There, examines the immigrant life of a Pakistani American family in Chicago, USA.
The Festival’s new strand dedicated to ecology-related films, called ‘Save The Planet’, brings stirring features that in different ways reflect lives affected by deforestation and rising sea levels, and how people are meeting the challenge. As Bangladesh marks the 50th anniversary of its independence, LIFF celebrates the country’s giant strides in global cinema with special screenings of the lyrical The Salt in Our Waters. Films are in languages like Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Urdu, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati et al, all with English subtitles. All “In Conversation” events are in English, both on stage and at www.loveliffathome.com
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Wide Audiences at the BFI, said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting the festival again this year. Thanks to National Lottery players we’re able to help bring this exciting programme to cinemas and households across the UK. The focus on British Asian filmmakers this year is a particular highlight.” The National Lottery raises £30 million each week for good causes across the UK.
Title Sponsor, Alka Bagri, trustee of the Bagri Foundation says:
“It has been a difficult year for many these past 12 months, and we are pleased to support a little escape for you via LIFF’s hybrid festival this year. Our seventh year as title sponsor showcases classic films and Q&As, as well as a range of UK premieres from some top British Asian and South Asian talent. Whether you attend in person, or watch from the comfort of your sofa, we hope you feel as excited as we are to see fresh faces and legendary stories from across Asian cinema!”