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UK Asian Film Festival (March 14-25) – Awards for stars Amy Jackson, Mahira Khan, Meera Syal and Anita Anand among others at launch event

UK Asian Film Festival (March 14-25) – Awards for stars Amy Jackson, Mahira Khan, Meera Syal and Anita Anand among others at launch event

Festival brochure now available – special event and awards ceremony to kick off packed festival, including talks and concerts…

BRITAIN’S oldest South Asian film festival has just released its full programme and will spotlight the role of women in the industry with a glittering awards ceremony.

A galaxy of brilliant women, from both the UK and South Asia, will descend on the May Fair Hotel in London for the launch event of the UK Asian Film Festival and its awards on Wednesday, March 14.

First created up as Tongues on Fire, the festival will hand out Flame Awards to those who “have challenged stereotypes and pushed boundaries”, said the organisers.

Among those to be recognised with Flame Awards, are Bollywood star and now US TV actor (‘Supergirl’), Amy Jackson, who will star in Indian blockbuster ‘2.0’ and has also featured in South Indian films but is originally from Liverpool and had no prior experience or knowledge of Indian cinema; Mahira Khan (pictured right in top picture), actor and rising international star; Meera Syal CBE, actor and novelist; Anita Anand, author and broadcaster; Simi Garewal, former Bollywood actor and talk show host; Nasreen Munni Kabir, UK-based producer, director and author; and Sudha Bhuchar, actor, writer and co-founder of UK theatre group, Tamasha.

All the films are F-rated meaning they have sigificant contributions from women in front of or behind the camera and/or promote gender equality themes. This is an industry standard and recognised by

Jamilla Massey will receive a Golden Flame Award for a lifetime in film, television and theatre and her role as leading the Afro-Asian committee of Equity (the main UK actors’ union).

The UK Asian Film Festival (which was the London Asian Film Festival last year) is also going on tour and will also have programmes in Leicester, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as London.

Highlights of the festival include: –

• A special Q&A with Mahira Khan, who was last seen in a Bollywood film with megastar Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Raees’ last year and played the lead in the more recent controversial Pakistani film, ‘Verna’, which dealt with the subject of rape. Khan will be at the launch event and will travel to Leicester for a Q&A.
Simi Garewal will also talk about her experiences in Bollywood during the 1970s and 1980s and will make special presentation at the launch event, about the late Shashi Kapoor, one of India’s most enduring acting icons and alongside whom she starred in the Hollywood adaptation of Herman Hesse’s global bestselling novel, ‘Siddhartha’. It screens during the fest.
• The London section of the festival opens on March 15 with the gritty and explosive ‘Ajji’.
• The annual short film competition followed by a discussion about India’s wave of more fearless independent filmmakers in ‘Incredible Indies’ and led by Dr Ashvin Devasunderam who wrote ‘India’s New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid’ (2016)
• ‘Shalom Bollywood’ – about the birth of Indian cinema and how many leading lights emerged from India’s Jewish community
• Author Sathnam Sanghera talks about his books, and the TV adaptation of his ‘The Boy with the Top Knot
• Screening of ‘Azmaish’ made by Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar and featuring both herself and Indian actor Kalki Koechlin crossing into India and Pakistan and talking to people about their attitudes towards each other. Last year, Sumar was a special guest at the closing of the festival and talked about why she wanted to make the film and its challenges. Koechlin was scheduled to attend but had to pull out, following illness but did send a video about her part in the making of ‘Azmaish’.
• The premiere of Pakistani film, ‘Cake’ by director Asim Abbasi and featuring stars Sanam Saaed, Aamina Sheikh and Adnan Malik.
• The festival closes with ‘Boogie Man’ and director Andrew Morahan and cast including Amy Jackson talking about the film in which an 18-year-old British Asian dreams of dancing, dressing up and wooing his sweetheart in the London of the 1970s.
• Sri Lankan action epic ‘Light Arose’ (‘Aloko Udapadi’) to premiere
Concerts: Remembering Reshma, A Song for My Daughter, with Channi and Mona Singh.
• Mumbai film festival 2017 hit ‘Village Rockstars’ will screen at festival preview event on Friday, March 2 in Glasgow.

A recent Instagram post by Amy Jackson, who is in the capital city for London Fashion Week and also attended the BAFTAs on Sunday.

Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE and the founder of Tongues on Fire, said the festival had been created to give women a better voice and platform within filmmaking and that 20 years on with the 100th anniversary of the suffragettes, there was a special focus on women and their roles both in front of the camera and behind them.

“We are proudly going back to our toots of a female driven festival with a F rated (this means the films have significant female involvement in front of and behind the camera and/or promote gender progressive ideas) perspective to our films and events.

Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry

“We are enthusiastic to celebrate the centenary of the Suffragettes, focusing on their success and recognising the long road ahead.

“By awarding incredible women in media and film, with the Tongues on Fire Film Awards, we are reflecting on their contributions to the industry and the barriers they have broken to allow the younger generations to rise,” she writes in her UK Asian Film Festival brochure forward. is delighted to be the UK Asian Film Festival’s digital media partner again – look out for more on the festival, its stars and individual films with us. Make sure you’re connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM as we bring you the very best from the fest…(March 14-25).

To see or obtain the full programme (digitally), please visit
Check out the programme and make bookings here:

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture