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Indian film personalities at the Zurich Film Festival

Indian film personalities at the Zurich Film Festival

October 14 2014

The Zurich Film Festival (September 25-October 5) celebrated its tenth anniversary and featured a varied and popular Indian selection.
Commentator Ashanti Omkar and photographer Akin Aworan were there. Aworan captured some of the prominent faces of the festival, while Omkar gives us an inside view of the films and personalities.
All the pictures are by Akin Aworan (

AOpicbyline Omkar, soon-to-be-BBC Asian Network radio presenter (with a show focusing on all things South Indian from October 26) and BBC London and BBC West Midlands Indian cinema expert, was a guest of the 10th anniversary Zurich Film Festival and filed this report for

A NUMBER of Indian films were shown in the India New World View section and festival co-directors Nadja Schildknecht and Karl Spoerri were keen to showcase the best from India at the festival.

Georg Bütler - curator of the world view section, with a spotlight on India

There was a huge buzz in the city – film composer and producer Hans Zimmer and actor Diane Keaton were presented with lifetime achievement awards, while stars Benicio Del Toro and Antonio Banderas walked the green carpet (promoting environmental awareness) and the whole town knew about the festival with flags and the festival’s very own distinctive ‘eye-catching’ logo.

Rajeev Masand is one of India's top film critics and has his own show on leading channel IBN7; he reviews both Bollywood and Western movies. He has more than 450,000 followers on Twitter

The India focus was on independent cinema, as opposed to the “woods” of Indian cinema, such as Bollywood and Kollywood, and curated by Georg Bütler, the senior programmer of the festival.

Despite not ever going to India, Georg was able to find 12 of the best films from the subcontinent. The fanfare for the India section began with a Bollywood flash mob, at SihlCity, a vibrant cinema and mall and there was a deliciously catered India party to mark the opening.

Guneet Monga is one of India's top independent producers, responsible for selling the international hits, 'The Lunchbox', 'Gangs of Wasseypur' and the current 'Tigers'. She spoke to us in Cannes this year; please see our film archives

From India’s Oscar entry this year – director Geetu Mohandas’ “Liar’s Dice” (starring Nawazuddin Siddique and Gitanjali Thapa and child actress Manya Gupta stealing the show), to runner-up Nagraj Manjule’s “Fandry” (with teenager Somnath Avghade shining in his very first cinema outing) to regional language films (Marathi, Kannada and Tamil), the selection was astutely done.

Kanu Behl, director of 'Titli', it premiered in Cannes and featured in the London Film Festival (October 8-19) 2014

There were a raft of other impressive films – among them was Kerala director Kamal KM’s “I.D.” starring the same effervescent Thapa and produced by Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty, Nalan Kumarasamy’s Tamil comedic hit “Soodhu Kavvum”, which had a Swiss premiere and played to a full house of mainly Swiss non-resident Indians.

London Indian film festival audience winner “Lucia” (which was crowd-funded and in Kannada) also enjoyed a very popular screening with the Bangalore IT crowd in Zurich coming in throngs to support it.

Amit Masurkar is the man behind 'Sulemani Keeda' (Writers), a delicious comedy satire on the screenwriting life in Mumbai, first shown at the London Indian Film Festival (July 11-18) 2014 and recently screened on Channel 4 in the UK

Often called India’s super producer Guneet Monga was there with “Tigers”, a film by Academy-award winner Bosnian director and screenwriter, Danis Tanovic (“No Man’s Land”, 2001). Last year Monga brought the Indian international hit, “The Lunchbox” to Zurich. “Tigers” stars Bollywood name Emraan Hashmi in his first international role and also features Thappa in a story about one man’s battle against a multinational pharmaceutical company.

Two current films at the London Film Festival(October 8-19), “Titli” and “Court” enthralled audiences as did films that have previously screened in London – among them, “Ship of Theseus”, “Monsoon Shootout” and “Sulemani Keeda” (‘Writers‘), which screened on Channel 4 in early morning today in the UK as part of the broadcaster’s Indian Film Season.

Pawan Kumar is the writer-director behind 'Lucia', the 2013 London Indian Film Festival audience winner. A Hindi version is now in the making of Kumar's originally crowdfunded film, the first Indian feature ever done so
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Written by Asian Culture Vulture

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