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UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) 2024 preview – star actors Karisma Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, fashion icon Rina Dhaka and singer Kavita Krishnamurthy set to appear…

UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) 2024 preview – star actors Karisma Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, fashion icon Rina Dhaka and singer Kavita Krishnamurthy set to appear…

Top creatives from India and UK gather for world premieres and established classics in ‘cilmate of change’ theme…

HERE are our highlights we’ve picked from this year’s UK Asian Film Festival – and it all starts next week on Thursday (May 2) and runs until May 12.

🎥 Bollywood star Karisma Kapoor (below left) and well-known Indian fashion designer Rina Dhaka and established Bollywood playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy (below right) all sit down together at The Kiln in North London on Sunday, May 12, to discuss their respective careers. The talk begins at 5pm with the UKAFF Film Awards ceremony straight after that. The Red Carpet arrivals start from 3pm – see here for tickets. (More info and ticket links are on each 🎥 with general listings at the bottom).

🎥 There are a series of discussions about the cultural and intellectual import of Indian cinema at the BFI Southbank on Saturday, May 4 – among the contributors is Professor Sunny Singh, academic and author of the popular, ‘A Bollywood State of Mind’ – which looks at the last 50 years of Indian cinema through Singh’s own love of popular Indian cinema and why it continues to exert an influence on the global South Asian diaspora. There will be industry workshops and Oxford University academic Daniel Luther, will be discussing his new work on Indian cinema – ‘Queering Normativity and South Asian Public Culture – Wrong Readings Only’. Dr Ashvin Devasundaram, senior lecturer in world cinema at the Queen Mary University of London, will moderate. Starts at 11.30am and is free but you must still register – it’s currently sold out but check with the BFI Southbank

Shabana Azmi

🎥 There will also be a chance to see producer Behroze Gandhy’s 1997 BBC TV movie, ‘Flight’ written by Tanika Gupta, it was one of the first dramas to have a female British Asian protagonist as the lead. Director Alex Pillai will be present; and there will be a shorts programme highlighting some of the best from India as its Creative Minds of Tomorrow selection, first premiered at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) last year, comes to the UK for the first time, courtesy of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) of India. It’s on Saturday, May 4 at the BFI Southbank…

🎥 One of India’s best known actors and social activists renews her association with UKAFF at this edition. Celebrating The Golden Girl – and marking 50 years in film – is the irrepressible Shabana Azmi. She will grace a post Q&A and dinner, following a screening of the Deepa Mehta’s seminal film ‘Fire’ (1996) in which Azmi stars. It is hosted by Somervile College in Oxford on Tuesday, May 7. There’s also a fundraising dinner for The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development. The screening is at 5pm with the formal felicitations at Somervile College scheduled to start for 6.30pm…

Gosha (Hina Khan) in ‘Country of the Blind

🎥 A director to watch and one who has garnered a lot of attention in the US and India, is Rahhat Shah Kazmi. He brings his latest film, ‘Country of the Blind’ to UKAFF. It was screened extensively in the US and a copy was requested this year to be deposited with the Library of the US Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – more commonly known simply, as the Academy – and the one that is responsible for the Oscars. Kazmi’s film is an adaptation of a work from famous British science fiction writer HG Wells (1866-1946). In Kazmi’s story set in the 18th century Indian Himalayas, an intrepid climber falls into a valley, only to discover a community of blind people. He falls in love with a female member of the community – played by popular TV star Hina Khan – who talked to us about this film at its market premiere in Cannes in 2022. That interview is here – ‘Country of the Blind’ screens on Tuesday May 7 at 8.15pm at Rich Mix in Shoreditch.

Minimum‘ – Opening Film UKAFF – BFI IMAX

🎥 The Opening Film is a story of cross-cultural shenanigans and misunderstandings in ‘Minimum’ – as an Indian bride lands up in Belgium and realises all is not what it seems. In French and Hindi – with English subtitles, writer-director US Belgian-born Rumana Molla will be at the BFI Imax in London, for this Opening Gala film. She also stars alongside Saba Azad and Namit Das – who spoke to us about his role in Mira Nair’s BBC production of ‘A Suitable Boy’ (2020). At the BFI Imax on May 2 from 8.45pm.

🎥 Writer-director Shonali Bose will present her seminal, ‘Amu’ about the Delhi riots in 1984 when Sikhs were set upon in what many call a pogrom. Adapted from Bose’s own novel – the film premiered at the Berlinale in 2005 and went to the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Bose, who is based in the US, centred the story around a 21-year-Indian American visiting Delhi. Bose recently directed Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar in the family drama, ‘The Sky is Pink’ and spoke to acv when it came to London Film Festival in 2019. The screening of ‘Amu’ takes place at the Beck Theatre (Hayes) in west London on Monday, May 6 from 7.30pm.

Kuch Sapney Apne

🎥 One of the leading lights of Queer Cinema in India, Sridhar Rangayan comes to UKAFF to present a world premiere of his latest film, ‘Kuch Sapney Apne’ (2024). The founder of the Kashish Pride Film Festival (May 15-19) gives UKAFF festivalgoers the chance to see his film first. It is on Saturday, May 11 from 1.30pm. See here for tickets.

Samir Bhamra, artistic director of the festival, said: “Our festival provides a vital platform to see amazing films, amplify voices, ignite conversations and make new connections with empathy. Now more than ever, cinema is a conduit for change.”

Dr Chowdhry commented: “Through unique cinematic experiences, we aim to shape their identities, boost self-confidence and encourage learning from diverse perspectives.”

There’s a lot more to the fest and this is just what caught our eye – check the full programme out and ticket availability. Known previously as Tongues on Fire and now 26 years old – and seen as the the UK’s oldest film festival of its type, highlighting works from South Asia, it still aims to be a women and progressive slanted film festival. It is run by Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE, and this year’s theme is ‘climate of change’.

The UK Asian Film Festival May 2-12 – see full programme –

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture