"we have been successfully able to move the festival into a digital offering"
The UK and Europe’s largest showcase of independent cinema, the spectacular Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) 2020 brings a vast selection of films and ‘in conversation’ interviews to the comfort of your home.
Celebrating its eleventh year, LIFF and the Birmingham Indian Film Festival have come together to bring you the finest talent from the Indian subcontinent.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, LIFF has adapted the festival so that it is available online.
The lockdown audiences from the UK will enjoy a free programme of captivating films like Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s award-winning story Uttara (2000), Mira Nair’s Mississippi Masala (1991) and many more.
There are also UK premieres of highly-anticipated films. These include the gangster movie, Moothon (2019), the ‘American Pie’ style comedy, The MisEducation of Bindu (2019) to name a few.
Additionally, the digital phase of the festival features new conversations with some of India’s renowned celebrities including Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana and actor Adil Hussain.
Ayushmann Khurrana speaks about his rise to fame with the hit film, Vicky Donor (2012) and the crime-drama, Article 15 (2019), which was released at the festival in 2019.
Critically acclaimed actor Adil Hussain also gives us a special insight into his amazing craft.
LIFF also includes conversations with Hollywood star Freida Pinto who has starred in Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Love Sonia (2018).
In addition, Canadian director Deepa Mehta and acclaimed American-Indian filmmaker Mira Nair talk about their amazing careers.
The special inclusion of these interactions from across the world will be available online throughout the festival.
The festival also explores worldwide issues concerning the Black Lives Matter Movement and racism.
Mira Nair’s timeless film, Mississippi Masala (1991) starring popular Hollywood actor Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury tackles issues of race, class and privilege.
Sarita essays the role of an Indian woman born in Africa and raised in America. She falls in love with a black African American man in the rural province, Mississippi.
Running online from 25 June to 5 June 2020, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival presents a fantastic line-up of stellar short films.
Directed by Kerala child actress and film star turned director Geetu Mohandas, Moothon (2019) follows a slum gangster.
Produced by Cannes darling Anurag Kashyap, the fast story entails a surprising LGBTQ+ romance.
The film highlights the struggle between the emotions of love and loss.
The coming of age comedy film, The MisEducation of Bindu (2019) tackles issues of bullying, identity and fitting in.
Starring Hollywood actress Megan Suri, indie actor David Arquette and Priyanka Bose, the film focuses on the disordered world of teenage misfits.
Full list of the Festival Programme
The MisEducation of Bindu | Sat 04 July | 18:00 – 00:00
Dir: Prarthana Mohan
Year: 2019 | Country: USA | Runtime: 94 mins | Language: English
When a bullied Indian teen forges her mother’s signature to test out of high school, she discovers she must pay a test fee by the end of the day. This leaves her no choice but to turn to the students she desperately wants to leave.
Starring Megan Suri (The Brink: 2015), Priyanka Bose (Lion 2016) and David Arquette (Scream: 1996), The MisEducation of Bindu is a refreshingly original laugh-out-loud coming of age story.
Moothon (The Elder One) | Fri 26 June | 20:00 – 22:00
Dir: Geethu Mohandas
Year: 2019 | Country: India | Runtime: 110 mins | Language: Malayalam/Hindi with English subtitles
Tired of his mundane existence, fourteen-year-old Mulla sets out in search of his enigmatic long lost brother who was known to heal people through his magical Kuthuratheeb performances.
Mulla’s relentless search leads him to Mumbai, where he falls in with a group of young kids who undertake petty crimes at the behest of a local crime boss.
Breaking Barriers: The Casteless Collective | Sun 05 July | 18:00 – 00:00
Dir: Maja Meiners
Year: 2020 | Country: India/Germany |Runtime: 70 mins | Language: English and Tamil with English subtitles
The Casteless Collective is a protest music band from Chennai playing an exciting mix of folk music and Gaana art coming from North Chennai’s slum area combined with modern musical styles of rap and rock.
Maja Meiners follows the band as they perform across India and use their platform and music to address issues of caste, patriarchy and homophobia.
Mississippi Masala | Thu 02 July | Available all-day
Dir: Mira Nair
Year: 1991 | Country | USA/UK | Runtime: 118 mins | Language: English
After Mina’s Indian family is forced out of Uganda by Idi Amin, they relocate to Mississippi to start a new life.
Mina’s family want her to marry an Indian guy but she falls for Demitrius (Denzel Washington), a handsome young black man.
Their relationship struggles to get off the ground as tensions rise between the two families. Mira Nair’s dazzling romance deftly explores issues of love, race, class and privilege, which are still pertinent today.
One Crazy Thing | Sat 4 July | Available all-day
Dir: Amit Gupta
Year: 2015 | Country: UK | Runtime: 90 mins | Language: English
This delightful charmer follows Jay, a former daytime TV star who is haunted by the sex tape that destroyed his life.
As he cowers in obscurity managing his family’s Indian restaurant, he meets his dream girl Hannah. She is a beautiful American music student who hates modern life, and above all, dishonesty.
Jay must now confront the errors of his past, rather than hiding from his future. Filled with warmth, music and delicious Indian food, the film is also a celebration of modern London in all her glory.
Flying with One Wing (Thani Thatuwen Piyabanna) | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Asoka Handagama
Year: 2003 | Country: Sri Lanka | Runtime: 81 mins | Language: Sinhala with English subtitles
Winner of the Best Asian Film at the Tokyo International Film Festival, this audacious drama tells the tale of a woman who decides to pass as a man in order to avoid the gender discrimination prevalent in society.
Song of Lahore | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken
Year: 2015 | Country: Pakistan/ USA | Runtime: 82 mins | Language: English/Punjabi/Urdu with English subtitles
Double oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary follows several Pakistani musicians. She asks if there is still room for them in a society roiled by conflict.
The documentary film features the music of the Sachal Jazz Ensemble, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
Watch our Exclusive Interview with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy here:
The Last Adieu | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Shabnam Sukhdev
Year: 2014 | Country: India | Runtime: 90 mins | Language: English/Hindi with English subtitles
Shabnam Sukhdev brilliantly uses personal memories, archival audio recordings, along with old photographs and clips to construct a portrait of her late father and legendary filmmaker Sukhdev Singh Sandhu.
Monsoon | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Strula Gunnarson
Year: 2015 | Country: Canada | Runtime: 108 mins | Language: English/Malayalam/Assamese/
A stunning journey into the terrain where nature, science, belief and wonder converge in one of the most astonishing and breathtaking landscapes on earth.
Monsoon is a film that captures the timelessness and rich human drama of our engagement with the natural world.
Hank and Asha | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: James E. Duff
Year: 2013 | Country: USA | Runtime: 73 mins | Language: English
An Indian student in Prague and a lonely New Yorker correspond online through video letters. James E. Duff’s debut feature is a beautiful and tender love story about aching for human connection in a hyper-connected world.
Rat-Trap (Elippathayam) | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Year: 1982 | India | Runtime: 121 mins | Language: Malayalam with English subtitles
Set against the backdrop of a crumbling mansion, a family struggle as the feudal way of life they are accustomed to becomes unviable in Kerala in this milestone of Indian cinema.
The Wrestlers (Uttara) | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Buddhadeb Dasgupta
Year: 2000 | Country: India | Runtime: 99 mins | Language: Bengali with English subtitles
Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s seminal film tells the story of two railway signalmen whose passion for wrestling and relationship are put to the test when one of them gets married.
Runway | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Tareque Masud
Year: 2010 | Country: Bangladesh | Runtime: 90 mins | Language: Bangla with English subtitles
Tareque Masud’s final feature film explores how unemployment, disenfranchisement and a hopeless future can draw young men towards radicalisation.
Ship of Theseus | Available from Thu 19 June
Dir: Anand Gandhi
Year: 2012 | Country: India | Runtime: 149 mins | Language: Hindi/English/Arabic/Swedish with English subtitles
A sweeping epic exploring questions of identity, justice and beauty through an experimental photographer, an ailing monk and a young stockbroker.
Ship of Theseus has been hailed “as the most significant film to come out of India in a very long time.”
Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition Thu 25 June – Sun 5 Jul 2020
Showcasing the finest South Asian and Diaspora cinema from aspiring filmmakers, the Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition consists of eight films.
These are from countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Furthermore, this year’s edition also includes the UK premiere of LIFF’s hit Darling (2019).
The film showcases the life of a dreamy trans girl who fights for the spotlight at an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, Pakistan.
The premiere of Roqaia (2019) sees a young girl who gets stuck in the middle of a media frenzy after she survives a terrorist attack.
Then there is also the film, Migratory (2020), which was made during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Full List of Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition
Dir: Diana Saqeb Jamal
Year: 2019 | Country: Afghanistan/Bangladesh | Runtime: 8 mins | Language: Persian with English subtitles
After surviving a terrorist attack, twelve-year-old Roqaia finds herself in a media frenzy as she deals with the trauma all by herself.
Dir: Saim Sadiq
Year: 2019 | Country: Pakistan/USA | Runtime: 15 mins | Language: Urdu with English subtitles
As a new show is introduced to an erotic dance theatre in Lahore, a dreamy trans woman desperately seeks to become a star, with a naive young boy falling in love.
At Home But Not At Home
Dir: Suneil Sanzigiri
Year: 2019 | Country: India/USA | Runtime: 10 mins | Language: Hindi/English with English subtitles
Sanzgiri’s father was 18 when India ousted the last remaining Portuguese colonists from Goa in 1961.
Sanzgiri utilises various modes of seeing at a distance to question identity, the construction of memory and anti-colonial solidarity across continents.
Dir: Sudarshan Suresh
Year: 2019 | Country: India/USA | Runtime: 17 mins | Language: Hindi with English subtitles
A young couple tries to steal some private moments in a very public place until the “moral” police show up.
Dir: Aarun Falura
Year: 2020 | Country: India | Runtime: 10 mins | Language: Hindi with English subtitles
A middle-aged man takes his weekly pilgrimage to his favourite barbershop in search for a moment of happiness.
The Song We Sang
Dir: Aarti Neharsh
Year: 2019 | Country: India | Runtime: 20 mins | Language – Hindi/English with English subtitles
Romance begins to blossom for Krishna and Alia as they roam the festival streets of Ahmedabad.
Dir: Amithaba Chaterjee
Year: 2020 | Country: India | Runtime: 7 mins | Language: Bengali with English subtitles
A conversation about love and loneliness between a man and a woman on a stormy night during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dir: Dhawal Khadakia
Year: 2019 | Country: India | Runtime: 20 mins | Language – Hindi with English subtitles
When ten-year-old Vani loses two of her teeth in an accident, her family comes together to save money for dental implants before school restarts.
Speaking about the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE, Executive and Programming Director of the festival said:
“We are delighted that we have been successfully able to move the festival into a digital offering during the UK lockdown and especially want to thank the generous film companies, actors and directors who have contributed their time and effort to help us achieve this high-quality free site, which we aim to evolve into the future so that more people across the UK can view Indian indie cinema.
“As well as classic LIFF films, we have some amazing new UK premieres that will continue LIFF’s reputation for showcasing the best of South Asian cinema.”
Head of BFI Audiences, Ben Luxford expressed his delight about LIFF saying:
“We are delighted to support LIFF’s ambitious plans to present the festival online and, by doing so, ensure that this year’s programme of South Asian cinema reaches an even wider audience.”
A trustee of the Bagri Foundation, Alka Bagri also expresses her excitement of LIFF online:
“It is with great excitement that we celebrate the launch of a virtual festival for our sixth year as title sponsor for LIFF.
“In this unusual year, LIFF has responded swiftly and creatively to ensure a wide range of fantastic features, talks and interviews.
“Some are from the archives, with past hit films, whilst others are exciting new releases accessible for only a few hours. We congratulate LIFF on a stellar line-up!”
Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival Complete Schedule
Thu, June 25 – In Conversation with Ayushmann Khurrana – 6pm onwards – GLOBALLY VIEWABLE
Thu, June 25 – Satyajit Ray Short film competition – UK ONLY – ALL DAY from 6pm to end of festival 5th July
Sat, June 27 – In Conversation with Adil Hussain – GLOBALLY VIEWABLE from 6pm
Tue, June 30 – In conversation with Pratibha Parmar GLOBALLY VIEWABLE from 6pm
Tue, June 30 – In conversation with Shabana Azmi – GLOBAL VIEWABLE from 6pm
Wed, July 1 – In conversation with Deepa Mehta – GLOBALLY VIEWABLE from 6pm
Thu, July 2 – Mississippi Masala – UK ONLY – ALL DAY
Thu, July 2 – Mira Nair – GLOBALLY VIEWABLE from 6pm
Thu, July 2 – In Conversation with Mira Nair – GLOBAL
Sat, July 4 – One Crazy Thing – UK ONLY – ALL DAY
Sat, July 4 – The MisEducation of Bindu – UK ONLY – from 6pm till midnight
Sun, July 5 – In conversation with Freida Pinto – GLOBALLY VIEWABLE from 6pm
Sun, July 5- Breaking Barriers: The Casteless Collective – UK ONLY – ALL DAY
The extensive line-up of films is certainly exciting. The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival continues to prove its credibility as one of the UK’s and Europe’s most popular South Asian film festivals.
With this year’s festival online, we look forward to seeing what else is in store for the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival.
For more information about the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival 2020, please visit the website here.