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Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

The 7th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announces the full schedule of films for the 2009 edition of the popular festival which runs April 21-26, including five feature films making their world premiere, five features making their U.S. premiere, and five features making their L.A. debut.

Celebrating its 7th anniversary in a year where Indian cinema has come to the forefront both in the national and international consciousness, IFFLA has firmly established itself as the first and largest film festival worldwide devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture through showcasing films, honoring entertainment industry performers and business executives, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. The six-day festival is set to open on Tuesday, April 21 at ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas with the World Premiere of Anand Surapurs THE FAKIR OF VENICE, and close on Sunday, April 26 with Megan Donemans YES MADAM, SIR a documentary profiling Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service and a controversial and inspiring figure in India. Dr. Bedi will be in attendance as a guest of honor that evening along with director, Doneman.

Surapurs THE FAKIR OF VENICE is about a hustler who is tasked with finding a fakir - a holy man, known for performing feats of endurance. Instead he finds a poor man who buries himself in sand on the beach to collect money from passersby and tourists. Together, the two con men venture to Venice, finding themselves in a strange land where their culture is commodified and exploited for artistic, political and spiritual purposes. Ultimately, they are forced to examine the course of their individual lives. Produced by Phat Phish Motion Pictures, the film stars noted filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, in his acting debut and Anu Kapoor. Surapur and Akhtar will both be attending the festival.

Regarding the films premiere, Akhtar said, It is an honor to have THE FAKIR OF VENICE open the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. The film is an apt representation of a new kind of Indian cinema and I hope it will serve as a window through which the world can glimpse this evolution. Anand Surapur has been pushing the creative boundaries in television, music and film for years and this opportunity and recognition is truly well deserved. Congratulations to him and the entire team at Phat Phish. An entertainment company on the pulse of contemporary Indian media/entertainment, Phat Phish Motion Pictures also is behind the feature QUICK GUN MURUGUN, screening at IFFLA this year.

Highlights of the 2009 program include high profile films from women including Nandita Dass directorial debut, FIRAAQ, Deepa Mehtas HEAVEN ON EARTH (the follow up to her Academy Award-nominated film, WATER), Sooni Taraporevalas LITTLE ZIZOU (executive produced by Mira Nair), and Nina Paleys animated SITA SINGS THE BLUES. The films lead an impressive list of nine films helmed by female filmmakers at this years festival.

Highly anticipated this year will be the salute to Bollywood legend Anil Kapoor one of Indian cinemas most significant and popular personalities. The salute will include screenings of Kapoors classic films LAMHE (1991) and VIRASAT (1997) as well as the world premiere of the English language version of GANDHI, MY FATHER (2007). Kapoor produced the film which explores the cost Mahatma Gandhis own family bore due to his efforts to free the nation of India.

As part of IFFLAs ongoing commitment to supporting and showcasing restored prints of Indian classic films, the festival will pay homage to BR Chopra by screening his classic, NAYA DAUR. One of the great Indian filmmakers, B.R. Chopra was famous for making hit Bollywood musicals with socially relevant themes. NAYA DAUR is arguably his most famous work, as it tackled the conflict between traditional Gandhian ideals and modern technology. The visually stunning restored colorized print will display the film in all its splendor on ArcLight Hollywoods screen.

CNNs Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Suneel Gupta will officially launch the Kahani Movement at IFFLA. The brothers are co-founders of the film project to capture and share stories from Indians that immigrated to the United States. Kahani accomplishes this by motivating second-generation Indian Americans to pick up a camera, interview their parents, and then post that footage to a central website. These cherished stories are evaporating along with the people who lived them, says co-founder Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It is our generations responsibility to preserve those stories, so that they are never lost. The process of collecting the stories has informally taken place for nearly a year prior to this official unveiling.

Also among IFFLAs featured events will be a dinner to honor those selected for Korn/Ferry Internationals list of 25 Most Influential South Asian executives in the U.S. entertainment and media industry. The list was created to recognize senior executives of South Asian background who have excelled in various roles within the entertainment business community.

The Opening and Closing Night Galas will feature music by DJ Sandeep Kumar and performances by Project Pulse, the popular Indian/Bollywood Fusion dance and drama team that incorporates an eclectic mix of styles. Chakra Cuisine will again delight with its delectable Indian-inspired feast, complimented with libations from Malibu Family Wines, official wine sponsor of IFFLA 2009, and Western Liquors.

IFFLA Festival Director Christina Marouda notes this years festival is very significant due to Hollywoods enthusiastic embrace of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and the recent surge of business taking place between Mumbai and Los Angeles. IFFLA is solidifying itself as a key touchstone in the US for the Indian entertainment industry at a time when the Indian film industry and the film business community in Hollywood are truly coming together.

Five feature-length films will be making their world premiere at IFFLA 2009. Those films include the narrative features BOMBAY SUMMER; THE FAKIR OF VENICE; GANDHI, MY FATHER (English version), 7 DAYS IN SLOW MOTION and the documentary feature LEAVING HOME: THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF INDIAN OCEAN. The short films CURIOUS TODD AND THE MYSTERY DREAM; THE JOURNEY; and MUSIC BINDS ALL will also make their world premiere.

Five feature-length films will be making their U.S. premiere. That group includes the documentaries CHILDREN OF THE PYRE; SUPERMEN OF MALEGAON; the narrative films THE DAMNED RAIN (Gabhricha Paus); QUICK GUN MURUGUN and SIDDHARTH THE PRISONER. The short films DHIN TAK DHA; EYES OF SILENCE; A MANGO TREE IN THE FRONT YARD and THE PASSION OF CRICKET will also make their U.S. debut.

Five feature length films will be making their Los Angeles debut. They include the narrative films FIRAAQ; HEAVEN ON EARTH; KANCHIVARAM; LITTLE ZIZOU; and the documentary YES MADAM, SIR. The short films ANDHERI; BATTLE OF THE ALBUM COVERS, CANADA; EYES OF SILENCE; KAVI; KEY TUMI?; NARMEEN and SUKRITS SUNDAYS will also screen for the first time in Los Angeles.

The IFFLA full festival lineup, curated by a team including esteemed India-based senior programmer Uma Da Cunha, will showcase 20 features (15 narrative and 5 documentary) and 16 shorts for a total of 36 films representing 5 countries.

The 2009 IFFLA films (in alphabetical order) are:


BOMBAY SUMMER DIR/SCR: Joseph Mathew Varghese (USA/India)
Cast: Tannishtha Chatterjee, Samrat Chakrabarti, Jatin Goswami, Gaurav Dwivedi Three young people from very different backgrounds form a fleeting and delicate friendship as they attempt to make their way in modern day Bombay.
English/Hindi (English subtitles)

THE DAMNED RAIN (Gahricha Paus) DIR/SCR: Satish Manwar (India)
Cast: Girish Kulkarni, Sonali Kulkarni, Jyoti Subhash, Veena Jamkar, Ammanul Attar A young wife worries about her husband as farmers commit suicide everyday in a drought ridden village in Maharashtra.
Marathi (English subtitles)

THE FAKIR OF VENICE DIR/ED: Anand Surapur (India)
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Anu Kapoor, Kamal Sidhu A black comedy, where a fakir, a mystic known for performing feats of endurance, is taken to Venice by a con man to be featured in an installation art exhibit.

FIRAAQ DIR: Nandita Das (India)
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Deepti Naval, Raghuveer Yadav The directorial debut of acclaimed actress Nandita Das, FIRAAQ follows the emotional journeys of various people dealing with the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat Riots.

GANDHI, MY FATHER DIR/SCR: Feroz Abbas Khan (India)
Cast: Akshaye Khanna, Bhoomika Chawla, Darshan Jariwala, Shefali Shetty The film is a rare exploration of Gandhis family and the pains they experienced living in his shadow as he struggled to free a nation.

HEAVEN ON EARTH DIR/SCR: Deepa Mehta (Canada)
Cast: Preity Zinta, Vansh Bhardwaj, Balinder Johal, Rajinder Singh Cheema, Ramanjit Kaur Preity Zinta stars as a young woman who retreats into fantasy to deal with her oppressive marriage into a family of frustrated Punjabi immigrants living in Canada.
Punjabi/English (English subtitles)

KANCHIVARAM DIR/SCR: Priyadarshan (India)
Cast: Prakash Raj, Shriya Reddy, Shammu
When his daughter is born, a silk weaver begins stealing bits of silk every day so he can provide a sari for her eventual wedding day, but his dream collides with his efforts to unionize his fellow weavers in 1940s South India.
Tamil (English subtitles)

LAMHE DIR: Yash Chopra (1991) (India)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Anupam Kher, Waheeda Rehman A Rajasthani prince leaves home and moves to London in an attempt to escape the tragic loss of the woman he loved, only to cross paths with her daughter 18 years later.
Hindi (English subtitles)

LITTLE ZIZOU DIR/SCR: Sooni Taraporevala (India)
Cast: Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Zenobia Shroff, Shernaz Patel, Imaad Shah, John Abraham The Mumbai Parsi community is viewed through the eyes of a soccer-mad eleven-year-old when the lives of its quirky residents are uprooted by the rivalry between a newspaper publisher and a self-proclaimed religious leader.
Hindi (English subtitles)

NAYA DAUR DIR/PROD: B.R. Chopra (1957) (India)
Cast: Dilip Kumar, Vijayanthimala, Ajit, Jeevan When an entrepreneurial man from the city takes over the main business in a small village and attempts to modernize it by replacing the workers with machines, the villagers unite to show the heartless businessman that they can outperform his fancy contraptions.
Hindi (English subtitles)

QUICK GUN MURUGUN DIR: Shashank Ghosh (India)
Cast: Rajendra Prasad, Ramba, Naseer, Raju Sundaram, Vinay Pathak, Anu Menon A hilarious curry western from Southern India in which a gunslinging vegetarian crusader is murdered by a homicidal bandit who wants to force everyone to eat meat, only to be reincarnated in modern day India to face his nemesis once more.

7 DAYS IN SLOW MOTION DIR: Umakanth Thumrugoti (India)
Cast: Teja, Kunal Sharma, Shiva Varma, Rajeshwari Sacdev, Ayesha Jaleel A boy and his friends set out to make a film in seven days after chancing upon a filmmaker's lost camera.
Hindi & English (English subtitles)

Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Sachin Nayak, Praddip Sagar, Pradip Kabra Recently released from prison, a novelists attempts to reconcile with his family are derailed when the briefcase with his latest manuscript is accidentally switched with one filled with a gangsters money.
Hindi (English subtitles)

Cast: Annette Hanshaw, Aseem Chhabra, Manish Acharya, Bhavana Nagulapally, Reena Shah Set to 1920s jazz vocals, this animated film retells the mythological story of Rama and Sita from a hilarious, modern and refreshingly female perspective.

VIRASAT DIR: Priyadarshan (1997) (India)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Pooja Batra, Amrish Puri, Milind Gunaji After finishing college in London, a young man returns home to his village in India to be caught in-between ambition and familial responsibilities as he looks to set right a world torn apart by hatred and violence.
Hindi (English subtitles)


AIR INDIA 182 DIR/SCR: Sturla Gunnarsson (India)
Cast: Gurpreet Chana, Ujjal Dosanjh, Michael Hamper, Baljinder Singh A personal and multilayered examination of one of the most deadly terrorist attacks in history.

Featuring: Ravi, Gagan, Yogi, Ashish, Manish, Sunil, Kapil At the sacred cremation grounds in Varanasi along the Ganges River adolescent boys try to support themselves any way they can.
Hindi (English subtitles)

Featuring: Susmit Sen, Asheem Charkravarty, Rahul Ram, Amit Kilam This music documentary captures the unique sounds and sensibilities of the four men who make music together as Indian Ocean.
English & Hindi (English subtitles)

Featuring: Sheikh Nasir, Akram Khan, Shafique, Farogh Jafri Armed with a small camera, a desktop computer, and their passion for movies, a small group of filmmakers work feverishly on their own project for, by, and of the people.
Hindi (English subtitles)

YES MADAM, SIR DIR/DP/ED: Megan Doneman (Australia/India)
Narrator: Helen Mirren
Featuring: Kiran Bedi
An evocative look at the extraordinary and controversial career of Dr. Kiran Bedi, the first woman to join the Indian Police Service.
Hindi & English (English subtitles)


ABRIDGED DIR/PROD/SCR: Arjun Rihan (USA) The daily commute is disrupted when two Golden Gate bridge supports fall in love with each other.
No Dialogue

ANDHERI DIR/SCR: Sushrut Jain (India/USA) Tragic fate intervenes when a live-in maid decides to run away from her domineering employer in Mumbai.
Hindi (English subtitles)

BATTLE OF THE ALBUM COVERS DIR: Rohitash Rao (USA) Iconic rock-and-roll album covers fight to the death.

CANADA DIR/SCR: Anjali Sundaram (USA)
A teenage girl is forced to cope when her irresponsible mother uproots her and her siblings for a sudden move to Canada.

CURIOUS TODD AND THE MYSTERY DREAM DIR: Ganesh Gothwal, Rahul Jogale (India) When his water tank goes dry, Todd tries to rein in a nearby rain cloud before learning an important environmental lesson.
No dialogue

A DAYS WORK DIR/SCR: Rajeev Dassani (USA) In this Student Academy Award winning short, a simple job escalates into a violent misunderstanding between a family and the immigrant laborers they have hired to help them move.
English/Spanish (English subtitles)

DHIN TAK DHA DIR/SCR: Shraddha Pasi (India) A film-obsessed villager sees the hard work that goes into entertainment while driving a traditional theater troupe around rural India.
Hindi (English subtitles)

EYES OF SILENCE DIR: Avi Sidhu (India)
An explosives expert has a crisis of conscience while carrying out a terrorist mission.
No dialogue

THE JOURNEY DIR/SCR: Ashish R. Shukla (India) A man takes an emotional boat ride on the Ganges River.
No Dialogue

KAVI DIR/PROD/SCR: Gregg Halvey (India) A young boy tries to lead his family out of bonded labor in a brick kiln.
Hindi (English subtitles)

KEY TUMI? DIR/PROD/SCR: Kunal Sen (Canada/India) With a guitar, a catchy tune and an inquisitive mind a young boy tries to combat stage fright.

A MANGO TREE IN THE FRONT YARD DIR/PROD/SCR: Raveendran Pradeepan (France) In war-torn Sri Lanka, even walking home from school proves to be dangerous for three children.
Tamil (English subtitles)

MUSIC BINDS ALL DIR: Pushpendra Prakash Sagar, Sharad Mante (India) Indian tribal art styles come together through the power of music.
No Dialogue

NARMEEN DIR/SCR: Dipti Gogna (India)
During the partition of India, a young Muslim mother tries to cope with the loss of her child by befriending a little Sikh boy.
Hindi/Punjabi (English subtitles)

THE PASSION OF CRICKET DIR/SCR: Shyam A. Salunke (India) The sport of cricket infects the daily lives of everyone in the city of Mumbai.
No Dialogue

SUKRITS SUNDAYS DIR/PROD/SCR: Vasant Nath (India) Young Sukrit (Tanay Chheda from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) learns the importance of his weekly trips to see his grandfather.
No Dialogue

Tickets go on sale on April 1 at ArcLight Hollywood Cinemas box office located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA and online at

Festival passes will be available starting April 1 at

For more information on IFFLA please go to


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