Veteran actress, Hema Malini, along with renowned filmmakers Boney Kapoor and actress Konkona Sen Sharma are amongst attendees confirmed to attend this year’s UK Asian Film Festival.
The 22nd annual UK Asian Film Festival, presented by Tongues on Fire, historically showcases South Asian feminist films and the work of pioneering female artists and auteurs. The festival will run from 25th March – 5th April 2020 in venues across London, Manchester, Leicester, Coventry, Glasgow and Stockton.
The Opening Gala Presentation will be critically lauded female filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava’s ‘Dolly Kitty And Those Twinkling Stars’ (India, 2019) on Wednesday 25th March, Vue West End, Leicester Square with director Alankrita Shrivastava; actress Konkana Sen Sharma; and producer Ekta Kapoor in attendance. Additional screenings will take place at Everyman Manchester, Thursday 26th March; and Phoenix Cinema Leicester, Thursday 2nd April.
The Closing Gala on Sunday 5th April, The Mayfair Hotel will present an In Conversation with Boney Kapoor. Acclaimed producer Boney Kapoor joins the festival to share an insight into his cinematic career and to launch the biography of his late wife, silver screen icon Sridevi, written by Satyarth Nayak.
Kapoor is highly regarded for producing commercial and critically acclaimed films. His cult classic, Mr India, is one of the 100 Greatest Indian Films of All Time at the Centenary of Indian Cinema. He has produced over 30 films including Mom starring his late wife, the legendary actress Sridevi, in her 300th film over a 50-year career span in the Indian film industry. The talk will be followed by the UK Asian Film Festival Awards presentation.
Screen legend and the historically-known ‘Dream Girl’ of Indian cinema, Hema Malini, will be In Conversation on Saturday 28th March, Courthouse Shoreditch following a screening of ‘Shimla Mirchi’ (India, 2020). The film reunites Malini with veteran director Ramesh Sippy after her role in the most iconic Indian film of all time, Sippy’s cult classic Sholay. Shimla Mirchi also features two of contemporary Indian cinema’s finest, Rajkummar Rao and Rakul Preet, in the tale of an awkward young man who decides to write a love letter to his crush. The letter winds up in the hands of her mother, who mistakenly thinks she has a secret admirer.
The Closing Film will be the UK Premiere of ‘Lihaaf’ (India, 2019, Dir: Rahat Kazmi) on Sunday 4th April, Regent Street Cinema followed by a Q&A with director Rahat Kazmi and the film team. Based on author Ismat Chugtai’s celebrated story of the same name, Lihaaf is a period drama that powerfully interweaves the book’s plot of a same sex relationship between Begum and her masseuse, and the trial that the author underwent after being charged with obscenity for publishing the story. Lihaaf explores the taboos against homosexuality and restrictions on freedom of speech that society grapples with to this day.
Screening highlights include the European Premiere of ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ (Pakistan, 2019, Dir: Sarmad Khoosat) on Friday 27th March, Manchester Metropolitan University followed by Q&A with director Sarmad Khoosat. Additional screenings will take place on Thursday 2nd April, Belgrade Theatre Coventry; Friday 3rd April, Phoenix Cinema Leicester; Sunday 5th April, The Mayfair Hotel; and Monday 6th April, Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow.
UK Asian Film Festival Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE says, “The films selected for UKAFF this year are based on the theme “Uprooted” to shine a light on the controversial, current issues affecting the South Asian community. We are igniting a discussion to challenge traditional taboos to plant a new vision for the future.I am delighted that we are extending our reach by launching in Coventry and Stockton alongside our touring programme to Glasgow, Leicester and Manchester.”
UK Asian Film Festival Creative Director, Samir Bhamra says, “We are in the 21st century and technology has connected us to the stories taking place in every corner of the world. So this year at UKAFF, we are championing films that talk about the sentiment of this time. These fantastic stories and events will ignite and enchant people from all communities with the energy of the human spirit as they challenge and uproot outdated ideals. Let’s behave like we are in the 21st century by planting new ideas and celebrate our changing culture so that there is a ray of hope for the future.”