One of the most highly anticipated titles of the summer is Anurag Kashyap's Dobaaraa, starring award winning actress Taapsee Pannu. It is Kashyap's reinvention of the 2018 Spanish film Mirage, and the Hindi version is scheduled to hit theatres in July. So the London Indian Film Festival is getting a real scoop, a true-blue world premiere of a science fiction film by one of the masters of modern Indian cinema. Because let's face, Kashyap doesn't do remakes and he's certainly not going to start with Dobaaraa. This film promises to be a whole new kind of wickedly wonderful and tells the story of a young boy who witnesses a murder during a storm, and is then also killed. And the woman who moves into the same apartment 20 years later and through a television set, begins to find herself connected to him, with the opportunity to save his life. The much talked about thriller is produced by Shobha Kapoor & Ektaa R Kapoor (Cult Movies, a new wing under Balaji Telefilms) and Sunir Kheterpal & Gaurav Bose (Athena). The gala opening night screening will be held at the BFI Southbank and will be followed by a Q&A with Kashyap.
Supported by title sponsor Blue Orchid Hotels, Integrity International, the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), Bagri Foundation and Arts Council of England, this year’s LIFF spans 11 days from 23rd June - 3rd July, screening in various cinemas across London as well as regionally in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. BFI Player will host a selection of short films.
Festival Director Cary Rajinder Sawhney MBE said: "It’s wonderful to have director Anurag Kashyap return to the festival with the supernatural thriller Dobaaraa. We have UK-premiered a number of Anurag’s films over the last 12 years -- including That Girl In Yellow Boots and Gangs of Wasseypur. Anurag delivers yet another fresh directorial approach and a compelling twisted story. Actor Taapsee Pannu steals the show as a young woman trapped between two lives in different decades. We are delighted at the exceptionally strong cavalcade of exciting new premieres at this year’s festival in ten different languages and some very rare in person talks headlined by India’s greatest woman filmmaker Aparna Sen."
Producer Ektaa R Kapoor also commented: "Dobaaraa being premiered at the London Film Festival right ahead of its theatrical release is a testament of its new-age, cutting edge narrative being wholly loved and applauded all over the world. Dobaaraa is our first film under Cult Movies, our new film-division which is set to tell compelling, edgy & genre-bending stories. I feel ecstatic for Dobaaraa and its presence amidst various international celebrated films from around the globe and I can’t wait to showcase the film to Indian audiences on 1st July, 2022."
The festival this year also features a considerable number of women filmmakers, including the great Aparna Sen who will present the European premiere of her latest, The Rapist, starring Konkana Sen Sharma and Arjun Rampal. The screening of the powerful, award winning film will be followed by a Q&A with Sen, India’s most prolific female filmmaker. Konkona is also expected to be attending.
Also featured is Rebana Liz John’s documentary Ladies Only which explores feminist themes through observing the women only compartments of Mumbai’s hectic trains.
Among other U.K. premieres are Pan Nalin’s uplifting homage to celluloid Chello Show and Anik Dutta’s Aparajito –- a tribute to legendary director Satyajit Ray’s journey of making his first film, the cult classic Pather Panchali. An intimate look at modern day Calcutta, Once Upon a Time in Calcutta by Aditya Vikram Sengupta also features in the festival line-up. And, set against a score by Academy Award winning A.R. Rahman, who is also the film's Executive Producer, is No Land's Man which stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a man dealing with the complexities of identity. A Q&A with the film’s director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki will follow the film’s premiere.
A favourite of MIME is Pakistani American story Americanish, directed by Iman K. Zawahry and starring Shenaz Treasurywala and Aizzah Fatima -- Fatima also co-wrote the film's script. And wonderful to view once again on the big screen, the festival will feature a special screening of Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi celebrating the 40th anniversary of this multi Oscar winner.
Additional shorts categories include hit LGBTQIA+ programme 'Too Desi Too Queer', the films of Mumbai queer pioneer filmmaker Riyad Vinci Wadia, new British Asian emerging filmmakers and shorts competing in the festival’s annual Satayjit Ray Short Film Competition.
The London Indian Film Festival also announced a new title sponsor -- the Blue Orchid Hotels. With its excellent locations, exceptional standards and commitment to making a difference within communities, the partnership positively demonstrates the support of the arts by private business. The company also pursues a number of charitable endeavours, including raising awareness of child trafficking and women’s rights which are complementary to themes and causes that the festival also platforms.
Tony Matharu, Patron of the London Indian Film Festival and Chairman of Blue Orchid Hotels and Integrity International Trust and Founder and Chairman of the Central London Alliance (C.I.C.) said: “As a long-term supporter and advocate of the festival, I am delighted to announce Blue Orchid Hotels as Title Sponsor. This year’s programme is packed with exciting, entertaining and thought-provoking films, including films which align with Integrity International Trust’s concerns around human rights, particularly relating to children, minorities and women, and environmental issues - depicted in several of the festival’s powerful premieres. We are delighted to host the festival's star-studded red-carpet galas and receptions within Blue Orchid Hotels’ venues. Welcoming people back to the big screen experience is an important part of restoring London’s place as the world’s greatest city in which to be entertained, to be educated and in which to live, work, visit and invest; with arts and culture part of the globally recognised soft power that draws people to the capital and the UK”.
Participating cinemas will include BFI Southbank, Barbican, Ciné Lumière, Rich Mix, Bertha DocHouse, Picturehouse Central, Picturehouse Stratford, Roof East Stratford, MAC Birmingham, Electric Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Everyman Manchester St John’s, Home Manchester. And the films can also be streamed at LoveLIFFathome.
For the full programme and to book tickets, check out the festival's website.