Back for its ninth year, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival returns with an array of films from the subcontinent. The largest South Asian film festival in the UK and Europe, films will be playing in the latter part of June not only in London, but also in cinemas in Manchester and Birmingham.
The festival opens on June 21 with a real coup – the world premiere of Tabrez Noorani’s Love Sonia. Shot across three continents, and featuring a major cast that includes Demi Moore and Slumdog Millionaire star Freida Pinto, the film is produced by Life of Pi’s David Womark.
Inspired by real events, it’s the story of a young Indian village girl’s attempt to rescue her sister from a global sex trafficking network. Making his directorial debut Noorani and cast members will attend and participate in a Q&A after the screening. Given Noorani was involved in real-life rescue mission work, it should make for a fascinating encounter.
Amongst the other films on show is Eaten By Lions, a British comedy about two half brothers Omar (Antonio Aakeel) and Pete (Jack Carroll) who were brought up by their grandma after their parents were accidentally killed by lions in a safari park. Directed by Jason Wingard, the film is a broad comedy of self-discovery as the two lads go on a mission to find Omar’s father. Funny men Johnny Vegas and Kevin Eldon also co-star.
Laughs are also on offer for the closing night film, the Canadian feature Venus, directed by Eisha Marjara (who previously made the documentary feature Desperately Seeking Helen). Debargo Sanyal plays Sid, a Montreal Punjabi who after years of struggling with gender identity decides to come out a woman. Causing mayhem at home, it gets even more complicated when a 14 year-old boy turns up, insisting Sid is his long-last father from a teenage affair.
Venus comes as part of Fathers & Sons, a festival strand exploring this complex dynamic. Other segments include Female Eye, which focuses on female South Asian filmmakers. But the festival also celebrates the short film medium through the Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition. With the shortlisted films screened at London’s SOAS on 27 June, the winner of the 2018 award is announced on the festival’s closing night.
The London Indian Film runs from 21 June to 29 June. For more details, click here.
1. Still from The Song of Scorpions.