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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Bradford and Leeds among cities set to experience a grand celebration of Indian Cinema

The London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) is set to expand its cultural footprint this year by taking its celebration of Indian and South Asian cinema to five cities across the United Kingdom.

From 25 October to 4 November, film enthusiasts in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford, and Leeds will have the opportunity to experience the rich tapestry of Indian cinema.

LIFF, supported by the Bagri Foundation, is set to kick off in style in London with the European Premiere of ‘Berlin.’

Directed by Atul Sabharwal, this spy thriller stars Aparshakti Khurana and Ishwak Singh, promising an enthralling journey into the world of espionage, complete with a commanding cameo by veteran actor Kabir Bedi.

What sets this year’s festival apart is its foray into the world of online gaming and extended reality (XR), thanks to support from the BFI Audience Projects Fund, which awards National Lottery funding.

Image: LIFF

The festival is collaborating with Tulsea and FORMAT to present the UK’s first showcase of new South Asian computer games, set to be unveiled on October 26th. Gamers and enthusiasts can look forward to exploring titles such as ‘Sniper Rust,’ ‘Down & Out,’ ‘Raji: An Ancient Epic,’ ‘Mumbai Gullies,’ ‘Kurukshetra: Ascension,’ and ‘Fishbowl,’ among others.

Birmingham audiences will also have the chance to immerse themselves in the realms of virtual reality (VR), XR, and gaming, with panel discussions and a chance to discover British Asian content produced in Birmingham.

The film festival will open in Birmingham with the Midlands premiere of ‘Berlin.’ Meanwhile, Bradford’s National Media Museum will host the UK premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s thriller, ‘Kennedy,’ a story that explores the chilling world of an ex-cop turned hitman.

For the first time in LIFF’s history, a special web series presentation will be screened, featuring the first three episodes of ZEE5’s ‘The Pink Shirt,’ a modern relationship drama starring Sajal Aly and Wahaj Ali.

Renowned Bengali director Srijit Mukherji returns to the festival for the Closing Night Gala in London, presenting his latest film, ‘Padatik.’ Released as part of Mrinal Sen’s 100th birthday celebrations, the biopic offers cinephiles an opportunity to delve into the life of one of India’s greatest directors.

Furthermore, LIFF introduces its new action strand, ‘Death By Any Means,’ headlined by Anurag Kashyap’s serial killer thriller ‘Kennedy.’ The festival will showcase a range of classic films, some making their UK screen debuts, including the epic ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ and S. S. Rajamouli’s early reincarnation vengeance drama, ‘Eega.’ On Halloween night, horror aficionados can enjoy the Indian zombie comedy ‘Go Goa Gone’ on its tenth anniversary, and the rarely-seen English language version of the cult classic ‘Quick Gun Murugun.’

LIFF’s ‘Extra-Ordinary Lives’ strand promises a diverse selection of premieres, from the noir film ‘Privacy’ to the moving character drama ‘Joram’ and the UK premiere of ‘Pokhar Ke Dunu Paar.’ This tender drama earned a special mention at the San Sebastian Film Festival in 2022.

The ‘Young Rebels’ strand will feature the premiere of ‘Sahela,’ an Australian love story starring British rising star Antonio Aakeel. Additionally, the festival will host the premiere of ‘Runs In The Family,’ a camp South African road trip movie, and ‘Barir Naam Shahana,’ a British Bangladeshi rite-of-passage tale. Also on the lineup is Rajiv Menon’s classic ‘Kandukondain Kandukondain,’ starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Tabu.

LIFF will continue its tradition of promoting emerging filmmakers with ‘Brit-Asian Shorts’ and the ‘Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition’ packages, along with Q&A sessions with the creators.

To make cinema more accessible, LIFF will offer an increased number of screenings with British Sign Language (BSL)-interpreted Q&As.

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