EXCLUSIVE: The London Indian Film Festival is expanding.
With its 2023 edition, running October 25 to November 4, the festival will, for the first time, run simultaneously across five cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds.
The festival will open with the European Premiere of Berlin. From writer-director Atul Sabharwal, this spy thriller stars Aparshakti Khurana (Jubilee) as a young sign language teacher lured into the dark world of espionage, as he is coerced by undercover security forces to interrogate a young deaf man, played by Ishwak Singh, (Rocket Boys) who has been accused of spying. Veteran actor Kabir Bedi also stars.
With support from the BFI Audience Projects Fund, the festival is also moving into the world of online gaming and XR. In collaboration with Tulsea and FORMAT, Manchester’s gaming and nightlife festival, the fest will showcase new computer games developed by South Asian creatives. The games will be presented on October 26 in Manchester. Games set for the showcase include Zatun Games’ VR thrillers Sniper Rust and Down & Out, and popular titles including Raji: An Ancient Epic, Mumbai Gullies, Kurukshetra: Ascension, and Fishbowl. In Birmingham, the festival has organized a series of panel discussions based around VR, XR, and gaming.
The festival will travel to Bradford’s National Media Museum for the UK premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s thriller Kennedy. The film debuted at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The pic tells the tale of an ex-cop (Rahul Bhat) who is kept on the police payroll as a special services hitman — but as non-criminals become his victims, the police soon realize they have a homicidal maniac on their hands. Sunny Leone also stars. The pic will be the centerpiece of the festival’s new action strand, ‘Death By Any Means.’ The strand will screen a range of classic films, many of which will be shown on UK screens for the very first time, including the first complete screening of the five-hour gangster epic Gangs of Wasseypur, and Oscar winner S. S. Rajamouli’s (RRR and Baahubali) early vengeance drama, Eega (The Fly). On Halloween, the festival will screen the classic Indian zombie comedy, Go Goa Gone, marking it’s tenth anniversary.
Bengali director Srijit Mukherji returns to the festival for the Closing Night Gala in London with his latest film. Released this year as part of Mrinal Sen’s 100th birthday celebrations, Padatik explores the life of one of India’s greatest directors. The biopic follows Sen from his days as a struggling political idealist, unable to feed his family, to his growing obsession with filmmaking in 1950s Calcutta, where, alongside his friend Satyajit Ray, he kickstarted the Indian New Wave cinema movement.
The festival will also host its first special presentation for a web series, ZEE5’s The Pink Shirt. The series is billed as a “modern relationship drama.” It stars Sajal Aly and Wahaj Ali.