Bollywood Returns To Sylvia Park
Following the phenomenal success of the inaugural festival in 2010, the Indian Film Festival: Bollywood & Beyond (IFF) returns in 2011 to celebrate and showcase the best of Indian cinema. This year’s festival features over 30 films of which 17 will be screened in New Zealand with 9 premieres in a program which celebrates the traditional Bollywood sequins and fantasy, and also demonstrates the depth of contemporary Indian film.
The Indian Film Festival is delighted to invite two very special guests to New Zealand- Former Miss India, actor/producer Juhi Chawla and exploratory director Onirban Dhar (My Brother…Nikhil) will both be presenting their controversial new film, I AM and will discuss their careers within the world’s biggest film industry.
IFF Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange says, ‘This year we are proud to present a broad range of films from traditional Bollywood, which show India at its most colourful and wonderful, to those that tackle serious subjects and eloquently express a new sophistication in contemporary Indian cinema – a hugely exciting seismic, cultural shift that must be shared. We are also thrilled to play host to so many of Bollywood’s finest filmmakers and acting talent as they discuss their films and share their passion for cinema with you.’
Opening night audiences will be treated to a Gala of a night complete with Indian culinary delights, a special dance performance, a QnA session with Juhi Chawla and Onirban Dhar and of course the New Zealand premiere of I AM. An innovative exploration of some of the issues facing modern Indian society, I AM consists of four short films based on real-life stories and connected by the central theme of fear. The film was financed by donations from more than 400 people from around the world through social media sites such as Facebook, allowing the creators the freedom to tackle normally taboo subjects.
Other highlights of the festival include box office hits of the past year included NO ONE KILLED JESSICA, a political thriller based on the true story of a murder by the son of a prominent politician and subsequent crusade for justice by the victim’s sister. The brilliantly Bollywood DABANGG starring Bollywood heavyweights Salman Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Arbaaz Khan which was also the highest grossing film in Indian in 2010 and BAND BAJA BAARAAT which gives a whole new meaning to the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’. Beyond Bollywood, there’s the comedy WEST IS WEST, the much anticipated sequel to the loved indie smash hit East is East, tongue-in-cheek comedy TERE BIN LADEN,
the biographical account of an ordinary woman who reaches extraordinary heights in MEE SINDHUTAI SAPKAL and JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY which narrates the life of a fading gay actor in India’s theatre world.
The IFF is keen to foster greater understanding and collaboration between the Australian, New Zealand and Indian film industries. Launched in 2010 the IFF Western Union Short Film Competition is aimed at discovering the future Peter Jacksons, George Millers and RajKumar Hiranis of the film world. Entries for the 2011 competition have been created around the theme of ‘Dreams’. Judges are director Kabir Khan; actor, writer and producer, Mick Molloy; writer/director, RajKumar Hirani; independent producer Robyn Kershaw and director Shimit Amin who will select three winners – one international, one from Australia, and one from New Zealand. Winners will each receive return air fares to either Mumbai. Each of the winning films will be screened at the 2011 Indian Film Festival and on SBS in Australia, Triangle and Stratos in New Zealand, and UTV World Movies in India, which boasts of over 30 million viewers per day.
There were several entries from New Zealand including Ashwini Patel’s charming ‘ All is well ‘ about a young girl who dreams of getting rid of her flat mates, Edith langes ‘ Saif Cracked ‘ about a lonely Indian girls obsession with Bollywood actor Saif Khan. The judges chose the stunning ‘Blank Spaces’ by Rajneel Singh as the stunning winning film from New Zealand. The film will also screen at the Opening night of the festival.
Indian Film Festival – Bollywood & Beyond : Auckland (24 March to 3 April).