New York Indian Film Festival 2012

May 5 - 10, 2014

2014 NYIFF – Eat, Drink, Live Cinema!
By Lavina Melwani   

Lakshmi by Nagesh Kukunoor at NYIFF
2014 NY Indian Film Festival – Feasting on Cinema
Dekh, cinema, dekh! In the old days, people in small towns and villages in India would wait anxiously for the traveling cinema to come to them with surprise offerings and entertainment. In a way, the annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) does the same thing for New Yorkers who are a savvy lot. Yet the festival brings unexpected cinematic treats of found gems, lost stories and glimpses into lives lived.
Ugly by Anurag Kashyap

Star-struck: Meet Aparna, Gurinder, Anurag and Nagesh
This is the 14th year of this film festival, organized by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC). The exciting part is that New Yorkers get to meet noted filmmakers Aparna Sen, Gurinder Chadha, Anurag Kashyap, Nagesh Kukunoor and so many more to hear firsthand about the films made and the back stories behind them. The opening and closing night events are at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and screenings and special events are at Village East Cinema.

Expect the unexpected with 34 screenings – 23 features and 11 documentaries, all having their New York premiere. (May 5 -10) . The opening night film is ‘Ugly’ by Anurag Kashyap. This is followed by a discussion with the noted director, followed by the opening night gala. The Centerpiece film is ‘Liar’s Dice’ starring everyone’s favorite actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and the closing night film is ‘Goynar Baksho’, starring another hot favorite Konkona Sen Sharma, and directed by Aparna Sen who will be at the festival. And yes, there’s the Gurinder Chadha retrospective and the feisty, fun director will be present. It’s all enough to make film aficionados hyperventilate!
Lakshmi by Nagesh Kukunoor
From High Drama to High Adventure
There are emotionally wrenching experiences like Nagesh Kukunoor’s ‘Lakshmi’ which missed its January 17th Indian premiere date due to censorship issues, because of its daring subject matter of child prostitution and human trafficking. The film premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award for Best narrative feature and received much critical acclaim.

Also expect the truly offbeat, little known treasures: ‘An American in Madras’ is a documentary by Karan Bali, tracing the life of American-born filmmaker Ellis R. Dungan who was involved with the Tamil film industry back in the 30′s and 40′s. He spent 15 years in the film industry in Chennai, living there and working – without understanding a word of the language!
An American in Madras
More than just Hindi films…
One strength of the festival is that it doesn’t limit itself to just Hindi films but embraces the regional films too so you get to the best from all parts of India. There are Marathi, Bengali and two films from the Northeast. The festival’s Marathi films include ‘Postcard’ and multiple-award winning films ‘Astu’ and ‘Fandry’ of which Aseem Chhabra, director of the film festival, says, “‘Fandry’ is, in my book, perhaps the best film made in India in 2013.” Directed by Nagraj Manjule, ‘Fandry’ received rave reviews in India. The film, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Mumbai Film Festival, revolves around an ‘untouchable’ or Dalit boy and his love for a girl from a higher caste.

New York Indian Film Festival
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