Indian Film Fest unspools with 'Mr. and Mrs. Ilyer'

Opening night for the inaugural Indian Film Fest of Los Angeles turned out to be a real Bolly-buster.

Festgoers stressed the “rich curry” of Indian filmmaking beyond the signature Bollywood style during the April 23 kickoff festivities. It all began with a screening of “Mr. and Mrs. Ilyer” and continued with an after-party at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater. The fest is the first ever in the U.S. to focus solely on Indian film.

“This is the film capital of the world — why ever would we not want to have this here?” said Rahul Bose, who was pulling double duty at the fest with “Ilyer,” which he starred in, and his equally non-Bollywood directorial debut, “Everybody Says I’m Fine!” “But more than that, I think this festival will show that there is more to Indian cinema than Bollywood.”

“People consider Bollywood Indian film, but it is not, ” said fest director Christina Marouda. “We’re trying to educate people about that,” added Marouda, who’s Greek.

A fire in the ArcLight kitchen caused an unplanned half-hour intermission at the screening, leading to an interesting culture clash between attendees of the ongoing Russian Film Fest at the ArcLight. Undeterred revelers journeyed to the Henry Fonda reception, where thesp Sulekha Naidu introduced a troupe of Indian dancers.

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