Category Archives: London Film Festival

Radhika Apte to attend UK Asian Film Festival

One of the most sought after, new gen Indian actresses, Radhika Apte, will be attending UK Asian Film Festival 2019, the world’s longest running South Asian film festival outside of India. Apte will be discussing the changing face of Indian film and entertainment consumption globally and shifting audience habits on Sunday 7thApril, BAFTA 195, London.

The actress has championed both commercial and arthouse cinema and television, featuring in critically lauded and commercially successful films such as the biographical drama, Pad Man, and black comedy, Andhadhun – among 2018’s most successful Indian films spanning commercial and indie genres. A leading star of the Netflix generation, she has featured in the unanimously lauded thriller series, Sacred Games; as well as horror miniseries, Ghoul; and anthology film, Lust Stories. 

Additional artists attending UK Asian Film Festival will be one of the most revolutionary actresses in the history of Indian cinema, Zeenat Aman. The Opening Gala on Wednesday 27th March, The May Fair Hotel, London will feature the game-changing actress, beauty queen and reigning star of the 1970s and 1980s, sharing her extraordinary journey in Indian cinema onstage. 

Veteran actress, Shabana Azmi, will be presenting the World Premiere of the documentary film Kaifinama on Sunday 7th April, BAFTA 195, London and on Friday 12th April, Glasgow Film Theatre. The film looks at the life and art of Azmi’s father, progressive, Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi, celebrating his birth centenary. Shabana Azmi will also be conducting an Actor’s Masterclass on Saturday 6th April, Phoenix Cinema, Leicester. 

The Closing Flame Awards Gala on Sunday 7th April, BAFTA 195, London will feature an In Conversation with Ramesh Sippy, veteran director and producer, whose film credits include one of Indian cinema’s most iconic films of all time, Sholay. This will be followed by the presentation of the UK Asian Film Festival Awards.  

One of the most celebrated masterpieces of Indian cinema, Pakeezah, will be screened on Monday 1st April,The British Library followed by a Q&A with Tajdar Kamal Amrohi, director, producer, writer and son of the late, legendary Pakeezah filmmaker, Kamal Amrohi.  

At a time of significant change, UK Asian Film Festival this year marks its 21st anniversary with a curation inspired by the theme of Revolution. Historically known as Tongues on Fire and then London Asian Film Festival, the festival is also synonymous with championing South Asian feminist films and supporting pioneering, female artists and auteurs.  

Festival Dates: 
London: 27th March – 7th April
Edinburgh: 29th March – 31st March 
Glasgow: 21st March – 4th April
Leicester: 3rd April – 6th April 
Manchester: 30th April – 4th May

‘Aligarh’ selected for 59th BFI London Film Festival


AligarhHansal Mehta’s ‘Aligarh’ is fast becoming a toast of international film festivals! Close on the heels of the announcement of its World Premiere at the Busan International Film Festival comes the news of its selection at the prestigious 59th BFI London Film Festival (October 7-18, 2015).  

The film will be screened as part of the Festival’s Debate strand: Riveting films that amplify, scrutinise and surprise. 

National award winning filmmaker Hansal Mehta brings a sensitive, humane story from small town India with ‘Aligarh’. Co-starring Manoj Bajpayee & Rajkummar Rao, the film draws from a real incident that took place in Uttar Pradesh. A Professor (Manoj Bajpayee) is suspended by his University for being gay after he is caught on camera in a sting operation. A young journalist (Rajkummar Rao) investigates his first breaking story. Set in the myriad dark lanes of a volatile and decadent society, the two strike an unlikely friendship that will change them forever. 

The invite from Clare Stewart, 59th BFI London Film Festival Director, states, “Our programme team found the film to be daring and strong, telling an incredibly important story that London audience will definitely respond to”. 

The 59th BFI Film Festival is often a precursor for winners & celebrated gems from parallel cinema across the world.  Says Mehta, “I am touched and very grateful that BFI has positioned ‘Aligarh’ in such a relevant discussion. I think the recognition that international film festivals are giving us validates our reasons for making this film.”

Producer Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, said, “At Eros, we take pride in producing films like ‘Aligarh’ that tell a story with a difference. Hansal Mehta has made a relevant & beautiful film and its screenings at the BFI Film Festival & Busan prove that such films will always find an audience.”

Eros International presents Aligarh directed by Hansal Mehta and written by Apurva Asrani, produced by Eros International and Karma Pictures. 

Europe’s Largest Asian Film Event Launches in Birmingham!

LIFFEurope’s largest annual Asian film event the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival is expanding this year to serve audiences in the UK’s second largest city with a selection of highlight screenings at Midlands Arts Centre and Cineworld Broad Street. The festival will run in Birmingham from 20 – 26 July.

Highlights include: Berlinale winner Dhanak (Rainbow), Toronto premiere documentary Monsoon, Bengali art-house hit Asha Jaoar Majhe (Labour of Love) and the bold M Cream starring Imaad Shah (son of Nasseeruddin Shah) and Ira Dubey (daughter of Lillette Dubey). UK premieres in Birmingham include Slumdog-like Kakkaa Mattai (The Crow’s Egg) and Khwada (Obstacle).

LIFF’s Executive & Programming Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney says: “Its great that partners in Birmingham have encouraged us to expand to this culturally vibrant city to provide a broader offering of South Asian cinema, well beyond the boundaries of traditional  Bollywood. The films on offer will show more realistic images of modern India, in all its rich diversity, they will make you think, inspire you and maybe even shock you! We hope you enjoy them.”

Ben Luxford, the BFI’s Head of UK-wide Audience says: “Ensuring that audiences across the UK have the opportunity to see a diverse range of films is central to the BFI’s work supported by the Lottery. Film festivals play such an important role in presenting new and exciting filmmakers and talent to new audiences and we are delighted to be supporting the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival as it continues to expand and now brings Indian independent cinema to Birmingham.”

Alka Bagri of the Bagri Foundation said: “Cinema has a vital role to play in exploring lives, sharing emotions, investigating social issues, and expanding horizons. Given the explanatory power of this medium, we are absolutely delighted to be supporting the London Indian Film Festival as title sponsors. The Bagri Foundation is committed to promoting rich cultural endeavours, fostering dialogues and providing platforms for creativity to blossom. In line with this, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival offers a fantastic opportunity for art lovers to embark on an exciting journey and to immerse themselves in South Asian culture.”

LIFF 2015

London Indian Film Festival 2015 kicks off with Sundance winner Umrika

Prashant Nair’s Umrika, winner of the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, starring Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi) and Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), will be the opening night gala of The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (July 16-23).

The festival is now in its 6th edition and firmly established as Europe’s largest showcase for South Asian cinema. Nair’s debut film Delhi in a Day was a great success at the festival’s 2012 edition.

Prashant Nair, writer/director of Umrika, said, “I’m so excited to hear that Umrika will open the London Indian Film Festival this year. We’ve heard such great things about the audiences at LIFF and can’t wait to share our film with them. We’re hoping the film’s nostalgic portrayal of 1980s India, its themes and the many cross-cultural references will resonate with LIFF’s audiences.”

The festival is pleased to announce that the Bagri Foundation, a charity whose aims include the advancement of literacy, education and the arts, with an emphasis on those of India, and the appreciation and understanding of Asian cultures, is on board as the Title Sponsor.

Alka Bagri of the Bagri Foundation said, “Cinema has a vital role to play in exploring lives, sharing emotions, investigating social issues, and expanding horizons. Given the explanatory power of this medium, we are absolutely delighted to be supporting the London Indian Film Festival as title sponsors. The Bagri Foundation is committed to promoting rich cultural endeavours, fostering dialogues and providing platforms for creativity to blossom. In line with this, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival offers a fantastic opportunity for art lovers to embark on an exciting journey and to immerse themselves in South Asian culture.”

This year, the dynamic festival is also expanding to UK’s second largest city Birmingham with a selection of highlight screenings at Midlands Arts Centre and Cineworld Broad Street.

The festival will close with hard-hitting cricket documentary Death of a Gentleman, featuring Ravi Shastri, Kevin Pietersen, Lalit Modi, N Srinivasan and Giles Clarke.

Director Sam Collins said, “Death of a Gentleman has been four years in the making, and we are hugely excited to be chosen as the closing film at the 2015 LIFF. This is a very human story about passion, money and power, and we hope to make a persuasive case to cricket fans and non cricket fans alike that the greatest game in the world needs to change its ways.”

Other programme highlights include: a rare Screen Talk by one of India’s most acclaimed mainstream filmmakers Tamilian giant Mani Ratnam, Berlinale winner Dhanak, Venice winner Court, Toronto doc. Monsoon and also Bengali art-house hit Labour of Love. UK premieres continue with Slumdog-like The Crows Egg and 31st October starring Soha Ali Khan. Nepalese Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala attends to support a charity event for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Actress Konkona Sen Sharma will present her films Saari Raat and Gour Hari Dastaan: The Freedom File, with the latter’s director Ananth Mahadevan also in attendance.

The festival includes the coveted Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition & Award, supported by the Bagri Foundation.

LIFF’s Executive & Programming Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney said, “It is wonderful that the festival is expanding so rapidly in stature and reach, proving there is an un-tapped market for Indian independent cinema with UK audiences.”

LIFF 2015

Closing Gala: ‘Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain’ at London Asian Film Festival 2015

Bhopal-A Prayer for RainIn early December 1984, the town of Bhopal in Central India witnessed the world’s worst industrial disaster when a gas leak at a chemical plant left thousands of people dead.

Some estimates put the total number killed as high as 16,000.  Perhaps even more significantly, more than half a million people – many of whom live in crushing poverty – continue to suffer the ill-effects of chemical poisoning, including birth defects, cardiac problems and a myriad other health problems.  

A harrowing new movie, starring the incomparable Martin Sheen, tells the story of that fateful night and will be screened as part of this year’s London Asian Film Festival.

In ‘Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain’, London-based director Ravi Kumar tells the tale of how the disaster impacted on the lives of the people of Bhopal and the continued suffering it causes. 

The story is told from the viewpoint of Dilip (Rajpal Yadav), a rickshaw driver who lands himself a job at the factory. The job is arduous but presents Dilip with an opportunity to overcome the crippling poverty in which his family lives. 

As a result, he has little choice but to ignore the lax safety measures in place at the factory.  However, Dilip is enlisted by his journalist friend Motwani who is on a mission to expose Union Carbide, the American industrial giant, who shows scant regard for the safety or well-being of an impoverished people. 

Along the way Dilip and Motwani aim to hold to account the man ultimately responsible for the disaster – the head of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson (Sheen).

‘Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain’ is a troubling and deeply moving account of a great, unresolved calamity – one which continues to effect some of the world’s poorest and most helpless.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Ravi Kumar, conducted by the UKAsian’s Editor in Chief Viji Alles.

Exclusive: “Will choreograph for Dilwale if SRK asks me” – Farah Khan

Farah Khan at London Asian Film FestivalChoreographer-turned-director Farah Khan is currently in London for the 17th London Asian Film Festival.

The Happy New Year director today attended a  choreography  master class at the Southbank Centre and a sing-along screening of Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan at Prince Charles Cinema in the West End.   

At the master class earlier today, Khan clarified that it’s a myth that she worked for veteran choreographer Saroj Khan during the making of Aamir Khan starrer Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. In fact, Farah was assisting the director, Mansoor Khan, and only took over as the choreographer once Saroj Khan walked out. 

Farah also recalled how the same almost happened during the making of the iconic Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. “Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan called me from Switzerland and asked me if I can come the following day to shoot a song for them because Saroj Khan had not landed up on set. As much as I wanted to go, I was committed to doing a song with, hold your hearts, Nana Patekar. I couldn’t cancel that shoot as it would have been unethical and told them [SRK and Aditya Chopra] that it would be the same thing that she [Saroj Khan] did to them. I think, she found out that they called me and thought ‘This can’t happen again’ and ended up doing the song in Switzerland. However, Aditya later asked me to choreograph Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane at a set in Mumbai.”

In an interview with Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik, Farah also said that if Shah Rukh Khan asks her, she will go back to choreography for his next home production, Dilwale, directed by Rohit Shetty. 

“I have just seen on Twitter that they have started filming for Dilwale. If Shah Rukh asks me to do a song for the film, I will do it,” said the director who has directed the world-famous actor in Main Hoon Na, Om Shanti Om and most recently in Happy New Year. 

However, Farah Khan has no interest in choreographing movie songs otherwise. “It has been twenty-three-years. I’ll do a one-off song now and then. But I don’t want to continuously do choreography.”


‘Sold’ wins London Indian Film Festival

Sold  LIFFOscar-winning director Jeffrey D Brown’s hard-hitting child trafficking drama Sold, executive produced by Emma Thompson and starring Gillian Anderson, which opened the 5th edition of the London Indian Film Festival (July 10-17), has won the festival’s Pure Heaven audience award.

Jeffrey D Brown said, “It’s really amazing. I hadn’t really anticipated this at all. I’m really grateful, humbled and speechless. I really hope this galvanises more people to see the film so that we can help the kids who’ve been through this ordeal and we can end this travesty around the globe.”

Brown and producer Jane Charles are in advanced discussions with distributors with a view to securing a global release for Sold in early 2015.

The runner-up for the audience award was Samruddhi Porey’s Hemalkasa, the festival’s closing night film starring Indian cinema icon Nana Patekar. The film is a biopic about a doctor couple that dedicated their lives towards improving the lot of tribal people in Western India with little or no help from the government.

The festival’s popular Satyajit Ray Foundation Short Film Competition was won by Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Kush. The award carries a cash prize of £1000. Kush previously won short film kudos at Venice and was long-listed for the live action short film Oscar. Ananya Kasaravalli’s Devil in the Black Stone (Kappu Kallina Saitana) won a Special Mention.

Shubhashish Bhutiani said, “Thank you so much to the London Indian Film Festival Jury and the Satyajit Ray Foundation for this amazing honour. His dealing with children and the way he told truthful and complex stories in such a simple way are some of the things I’ve learnt from Satyajit Ray. I heard the story for this film in a classroom many years ago, and felt compelled to share it after it resonated with me for all that time. With an incredibly supportive cast and crew, we made the film with the little resources we have, and for it today, to be recognized by our own community in such a culturally diverse part of the world, means a lot to me.”

The London Indian Film Festival has grown exponentially in five years and is now the largest South Asian film festival in Europe. Festival Director Cary Sawhney says, “I think it’s been an amazing festival. We’ve grown by at least 30% this year and we’re getting global films! We’ve got Hollywood films in the festivals, Indian films, British films, Bangladeshi films, Pakistani films and it’s all happening in the heart of London, the only city where this kind of engaging range of cinema is embraced. It’s great!”

Highlights of the festival included the UK premiere of The Walt Disney Company’s Indian-themed Million Dollar Arm, followed by a Q&A by star Madhur Mittal and producer Mark Ciardi, Gillian Anderson who delivered a moving Q&A on opening night along with Jeffrey D Brown and Jane Charles and sold out screen talks and masterclasses at the British Film Institute delivered by Santosh Sivan ASC (The Terrorist) and Farhan Akhtar (Bhaag Milkha Bhaag).

FarhanAkhtar said, “The London Indian Film Festival is run by a group of passionate people and I think it is a great platform to share my experiences with aspiring filmmakers.”

LIFF 2014

‘Lucia’ wins smash hit 4th edition of the London Indian Film Festival!

LIFF Gulshan Grover‘Lucia’ Director Pawan Kumar’s Kannada-language film Lucia has won the coveted Audience Award at the 4th London Indian Film Festival (LIFF, July 18-25). The inventive crowd-funded film, powered by UK-based online outfit Distrify, delighted sold out audiences across the city.

Pawan Kumar said: “To win this award in the face of such powerful competition is a dream come true for me. I thank the London Indian Film Festival for selecting the film for its world premiere and would also like to thank the London audience and the UK Kannada community for supporting the film.” 

Anurag Goswami won the Satyajit Ray Foundation’s short film award, held in conjunction with LIFF, for Kaun Kamleshwar? (Who’s Kamleshwar?). The jury, comprising Atif Ghani (producer – Ill Manors), Kim Longinotto (director – Salma), Sunny Grewal (BBC London), Meghna Gupta (shorts director, Unravel) and Satwant Gill (LIFF), said: “The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s short film award goes to a film which was confident and ambitious in its storytelling, gave us engaging characters and was genuinely cinematic. Using some unforgettable images and off-beat humour the film explores how random decisions have the power to shape our lives.”

Anurag Goswami said: “It’s an honour and a great feeling that our efforts have been recognised at such a prestigious avenue. Short films are finding an audience like never before, courtesy festivals such as LIFF. It’s very encouraging and satisfying that our voices are being heard all over the world. Thank you LIFF!”

Special Jury Mention goes to Vikram Dasgupta for his entertaining, bold and vibrant interweaving of stories in the film Calcutta Taxi.

The London Indian Film Festival opened with Amit Kumar’s Cannes favourite Monsoon Shootout and closed with Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap’s homage to the centenary of Indian cinema, Bombay Talkies. The sold out screening was preceded by a powerful speech by noted Bollywood and Hollywood actor Gulshan Grover, who described the wondrous journey of Indian cinema thus far to a rapt audience. Producer Ashi Dua participated in a lively Q&A after.

Gulshan Grover said: “The London Indian Film Festival makes me proud. As a member of the Indian film fraternity I feel that the festival is doing wonderful things for Indian cinema, especially the cutting edge, progressive cinema that needs a platform for visibility, for reaching out to more people and more hearts. The London Indian Film Festival is exactly doing that.” Gulshan Grover has four new releases coming up including Bullet Raja, Sooper Se Ooper, Yariaan and Baat Bann Gayi.

The festival stretched citywide, opening in the West End at the historic Cineworld Haymarket, and continued at BFI Southbank, Cineworld cinemas, Shaftesbury Avenue, Wood Green, Wandsworth, Staples Corner, and the O2 in Royal Greenwich, the Peckamplex and the ICA. The centrepiece ‘In conversation’ was with actor Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, D-Day), and LIFF also featured a rare ‘Life in Pictures’ Masterclass, by the great South Indian Director Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

The festival’s major sponsors this year included O2 International Sim, and the festival is also grant funded for the first time, by the BFI Film Festival Fund.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director comments: “The Festival has gone from strength to strength. Its great to close with a wonderful fusion between Bollywood and independent films, different energies and ideas crashing into each other in dynamic ways; a perfect finale for audiences in an eclectic city like London.”

Spotted: Irrfan Khan at Cineworld Feltham (London)

Award-winning actor Irrfan Khan made a quick visit to Cineworld Feltham in west-London last week to promote his latest release, D-Day, in association with the London Indian Film Festival.

Speaking to BollyNewsUK, the actor said: “I wish I could keep coming to London. It’s amazing to see the kind of warmth the people here have for me and the kind of hospitality they show. I am asking myself why I didn’t come to London earlier more often.” 

D-Day is out on general release in UK cinemas now. 

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London Indian Film Festival 2013

Akshay Kumar’s regional film ’72 Miles Ek Pravas’ at LIFF

72 Miles Ek Pravas New PosterAfter taking the world by storm with their first Bollywood Film Production Oh My God (OMG), Akshay Kumar and Ashvini Yardi are on a journey of creating milestones in the entertainment industry with their latest venture, 72 Miles Ek Pravas

72 Miles Ek Pravas has been shortlisted to be screened at Europe’s No. 1 Festival for Indian Indie Cinema – The ‘London Indian Film Festival’ (LIFF). LIFF will be attracting international audiences for a screening of the film on 20th July in Central London, with support from partners including the BFI, Cineworld, Grange Hotels, ICA, BAFTA, Satyajit Ray Foundation and ZEE TV.

Other regional film to be screened at the LIFF are Kannada, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu all with English subtitles to connect to an international audience.

72 Miles Ek Pravas, which is the duo’s debut into Regional Film production has been stirring waves with its conceptual excellence and moving screenplay. A hard-hitting, poignant tale of a young boy who makes his journey into self-actualization against the backdrop of a rustic India, 72 Miles Ek Pravas, explores a beautiful, coming of age journey for the 13 year old boy Ashok and the companionable relationships he makes through his journey.

Akshay and Ashvini are confident that their film will touch the hearts of audiences and give them a visual introspect of Ashok Vatkar’s autobiography. Inspired from the novel with the same name, 72 Miles Ek Pravas explores the impact of a woman named Raddhakka, on protagonist Ashok.

Spearheading investment into quality, subject-driven, film-making, Grazing Goat Pictures is taking Hindi and regional cinema to new heights with a range of innovative and fresh projects. Renowned for thought-provoking, unique and emotive film making across boundaries and genres, Grazing Goat Pictures delves deep to bring the audience films that are cutting edge and high-concept, resonating with multiple audiences domestically and across shores.

Ashvini Yardi & Akshay Kumar Commenting on the film Ashvini said, “We are filled with immense pride and gratification at opportunity to be able to screen 72 Miles Ek Pravas at the London Indian Film Festival. The film is very dear to Grazing Goat Pictures and we have produced a beautiful content driven film. There are no big stars or songs & dances but the films driving factors are the heart wrenching screenplay and the glorious performances. The motive behind bringing this film to London is to make this film available to Global audiences and connect with the masses on an emotional level. We hope that the film is well received and we succeed in creating the impact that we set out to!”

Commenting on the film, Akshay Kumar said, “72 Miles marks our first regional film and we’re delighted to announce the release date. Marathi isn’t my first language but living in Mumbai I picked up the language very quickly and immersed myself in the culture. I’ve seen some really interesting Marathi projects and love the cinema. I am personally touched by the story of 72 Miles and I hope the audience likes it as much as we do.”

72 Miles Ek Pravas releases on the 9th of August, 2013

London Indian Film Festival to launch in July 2013

Now Europe’s largest platform for Indian cinema, the London Indian Film Festival returns to the capital celebrating the exploding movement of Indian Independent cinema.

The fourth annual festival will run from 18–25 July, bringing to UK audiences a rare selection of cutting-edge films from some of India’s hottest independent talents. Going way beyond Bollywood, the festival presents a kaleidoscope of new films that challenge, shock, generate debate and present a more realistic view of the Indian subcontinent today, in all its diversity.

The festival will stretch city-wide, opening in the West End at the Cineworld Haymarket and continue at BFI Southbank, Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue, Wood Green, Wandsworth, the O2 and ICA. For the second time the festival is also teaming up with the Tate Modern.

The London Indian Film Festival also has films and events for a wide range of audiences and includes industry events at BAFTA, exploring Indian/UK co-production and specially commissioned music and performance pieces.

A diverse range of World and UK Premieres will be screened including red carpet opening and closing nights of the hottest previews.

The latest confirmation is a centrepiece master class by actor Irrfan Khan, one of the very few Indians to straddle Hollywood, British and Indian cinema. Khan has come to world attention over the last 25 years with an impressive range of roles from under-dogs to action heroes, long distance runners and corporate megalomaniacs.

His memorable film roles include Oscar winners Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire and Salaam Bombay, BAFTA winner The Warrior, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Bollywood hits Maqbooland Paan Singh Tomar. The festival will be honouring this versatile actor with a dedicated evening at the BFI Southbank on Saturday 20th July.

The London Indian Film Festival’s full programme will be released on 18 June.

The major sponsors of the festival this year will include O2 International Sim, and the festival is also grant supported for the first time with Lottery funding through the BFI’s Film Festival Fund.

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Festival Director says: “It’s great to be working on the zeitgeist of new Indian cinema and we aren’t just showing Indian films for Indian audiences, but kicking open the door to the rich diversity of independent cinema emerging across the Indian subcontinent today.

“These films are accessible to everyone! It’s also exciting to see some of the best of the filmmakers we have helped champion, now starting to be recognised on the world stage, where they belong. We are very proud to be showcasing these new films here, first, in London, surely the world’s number one city of culture, style and innovation.”


London Indian Film Festival 2013



Photos: ‘Chakravyuh’ Gala Premiere in London

The 56th BFI London Film Festival hosted the Gala Premiere of Eros International’s Chakravyuh last week on 11th October 2012. 

Despite the bitterly cold weather and heavy rain, hundreds of Bollywood fans waited for hours at Empire Cinema, Leicester Square to catch a glimpse of the stars.

The Gala Premiere was attended by Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol and director Prakash Jha.

Check out photos from the event here, courtesy of Eros International:

Spotted: Arjun Rampal, Prakash Jha and Abhay Deol in London

National award-winning director Prakakash Jha along with actors Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol interacted with the British Asian press here yesterday ahead of the London Film Festival Gala Premiere of Eros International’s Chakravyuh. 

Speaking at the press conference, Jha said: ” I try to present realistic content in my films, weave them into popular grammar and make them engaging because everyone has to see them. They have to be released in  the same cinemas where Karan Johar’s and Yash Raj’s films will release and I have to compete with them. It is a big battle for me to package my stories for a commercial audience.”

Talking about the London Film Festival premiere, Abhay Deol told BollyNewsUK: “I am excited and have never been to this festival before. It is nice to be part of a festival. I hope it reaches to a wider audience through this. I am just curious where this would lead to. I just hope it reaches the right audience.”

“This is my first UK premiere as most of my films don’t release here. Channel 4 has shown some of my films in the UK but distributors usually don’t release my films here,” added Doel whose last release here was Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara.

Commenting on the popularity of commercial cinema that is accepted by UK audiences, Prakash Jha said:” The UK audience is not growing up. They are stuck. People here still want their children to be like what they see in Bollywood films. They want the ideal daughter-in-law they see in the movies.”

“UK audiences come out a film and talk about how beautiful Rani Mukherji’s  ‘saree’ was,” said Abhay.

“People here also touch our feet much more than people back home in India,” said the Rajneeti director speaking about the traditional values that are seen in the UK diaspora. 

“If films can instill that in an audience who is far way from home and want something to connect with, then it is great,” explained Arjun Rampal. 


Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol and Prakash Jha will be attending the  London Film Festival Gala Premiere of Chakravyuh at Empire Cinema, Leicester Square later today. 



Win tickets to the LFF Premiere of ‘Chakravyuh’

BollyNewsUK has teamed up with the 56th BFI London Film Festival to give fans a chance to attend the World Premiere of Chakravyuh.

A lucky fan will have the chance to win a pair of tickets to walk down the red carpet and watch the film at its World Premiere in London’s Leicester Square on Thursday, 11th October 2012.

Speaking to BollyNewsUK about the London Film Festival Premiere, director Prakash Jha said: “I am in fact surprised that my film has been selected for a gala premiere at the BFI London Film Festival 2012. My films don’t fall into the typical Bollywood ‘masala’ category. It’s a matter of pride and I am happy that Chakravyuh will premiere in London on the 11th October at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square.”

Leading actor Arjun Rampal added: “I am super thrilled. I have wonderful fans in London and I am very proud that a film like Chakravyuh will have a Gala Premiere at the London Film Festival. We are showing it first here in London. The film is very close to my heart and I would love to show it to my London fans first.”

The Gala Premiere of Chakravyuh will be attended by Prakash Jha, Arjun Rampal and Abhay Deol.

To win a pair of tickets, answer the following question and fill out the form below (UK residents only):

What is the name of Arjun Rampal in the film?

This competition is now closed!


Don’t worry if you don’t win tickets, you can buy them from here.

Rani Mukherji imitates actresses in ‘Aiyyaa’


A Bengali brought up in Mumbai, Rani Mukherjee says essaying a Maharashtrian girl in Aiyyaa made it all the more special.

The role of a Maharashtrian girl named Meenakshi Deshpande in the movie was like a dream come true for her, says Rani.

“I have always said that I am actually a Maharashtrian girl because I have been born and brought up in Maharashtra. Being a Mumbaikar, Marathi language is not alien to me. It was my dream or wish that some day I should play a Marathi girl’s role and with Aiyyaa, this dream has come true,” the 34-year-old said at a promotional event.

An Anurag Kashyap production, Aiyyaa also stars southern actor Prithviraj.

In the movie, Rani has imitated screen divas Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Juhi Chawla and says being a fan of them all, helped her in emulating their dance moves.

Rani says she and director Sachin Kundalkar are equally big fans of the three actresses.

“He (Sachin) has been a huge fan of Juhi, Madhuri and Sri-ji, so when he discussed the idea with me, I told him that it’s unbelievable that even I am similarly a fan of theirs. I have grown up loving them,” said Rani.

“So it was a great fit, and I think because the fit was so good, selecting those songs that we loved of theirs and paying a tribute, came naturally,” she added.

Aiyyaa is set to release in UK cinemas on 12th October and will also be screened at the London Film Festival next month. 

Watch the trailer of the film here: