By Utpal Borpujari / New Delhi
Films in 12 languages, made by directors from all over the country including 11 female filmmakers, will be showcased in the 16th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) that will begin with Manoj Bajpayee-starrer “In the Shadows” and pay a tribute to Sridevi by screening Yash Chopra’s “Chandni”.
The festival, which will be held during April 11-15, will conclude with Rima Das’ Assamese film “Village Rockstars”, which is one of the biggest festival favourite Indian films of 2017.
Among the other highlights of the festival are “Sairat” fame Marathi director NagrajManjule’s short “An Essay of the Rain”, Ben Rekhi’s“The Ashram” starring Kal Penn, VaishaliSinha’s acclaimed documentary “Ask The Sexpert” about 93-year old sex advice columnist DrMahinderWatsa, “The Hungry” starring Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra,Hansal Mehta’s “Omerta” and NilaMadhab Panda’s “KadviHawa”.
“This year’s lineup is a testament to the rich variety of genre, style and skill that exists within the Indian filmmaking community. We’re enormously proud to present this collection of exciting, inspiring, and challenging stories that are sure to make for a thrilling festival experience,” said Mike Dougherty, IFFLA’s Director of Programming in a statement.
Opening film “In the Shadows”, directed by Dipesh Jain, has a powerful performance as a reclusive shopkeeper who vows to rescue his young neighbor from abuse at the hands of his father. The film premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival and features an impressive cast that also includes RanvirShorey, NeerajKabi, ShahanaGoswami and introduces Om Singh as the young boy.
Closing film “Village Rockstars”, is written, shot, edited and directed by Das, is a touching coming of age story of a ten-year-old girl in a remote Assamese village who dreams of buying a guitar and starting her own rock band.
This year the festival will feature four world premieres, three North American premieres, two U.S. premieres, and 14 Los Angeles premieres.
Other films in the lineup include DevashishMakhija’s festival favourite“Ajji”, a revenge story centered on a woman seeking justice for her 10-year-old granddaughter after a brutal assault, and a pair of Malayalam language features: Bash Mohammed’s comedy “Prakasan” and “Take Off” featuring Parvathy in the true story of courageous Indian nurses who travel to Iraq for work and find themselves thrust into a hostage negotiation with ISIS.
On the non-fiction side, apart from “Ask The Sexpert”, the other films are Ann S. Kim and PriyaGiri Desai’s “Lovesick” about DrSuniti Solomon’s matchmaking service for her HIV-positive patients, and “Up Down and Sideways”, an ethnographic portrait of the Nagasand their remarkable musical traditions.
Competing in the shorts programme will be 13 films including Sundance highlight “Counterfeit Kunkoo” directed by ReemaSengupta.
Now in its 16th year, the IFFLA is a non-profit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.