Sundance winner “Umrika” will open the London Indian Film Festival on July 16 accompanied by its star, Suraj Sharma.
A BFI master class by Indian director Mani Ratnam, fresh off his retrospective at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image, is on the schedule at the sixth edition of fest, which will be attended by Bollywood actresses Manisha Koirala and Konkona Sen Sharma.
“We’re hoping the film’s nostalgic portrayal of 1980s India, its themes and the many cross-cultural references will resonate with LIFF’s audiences,” said “Umrika” writer-director Prashant Nair.
The festival also hosts the international premiere of Konkani-lingo “Nachom-ia Kumpasar,” the Indian National Award winner. The festival slate covers a gamut of Indian languages from Tamil hit “Kaaka Muttai” to “Tigers,” both of which will have their U.K. premieres. Award-winning fest faves such as “Dhanak,” “Court” and “Monsoon” will also unspool.
Fest closes July 23 with cricket documentary “Death of a Gentleman,” pictured, with Ravi Shastri, Kevin Pietersen, Lalit Modi, N. Srinivasan and Giles Clarke, all top figures associated with the game.
“ ‘Death of a Gentleman’ has been four years in the making, and we are hugely excited to be chosen as the closing film at the 2015 LIFF,” said its helmer, Sam Collins. “This is a very human story about passion, money and power, and we hope to make a persuasive case to cricket fans and non-cricket fans alike that the greatest game in the world needs to change its ways.”
Funded by the British Film Institute and with support from other entities, the fest will unspool films at facilities across the city including Picturehouse Central London, select Cineworld theaters, Institute of Contemporary Arts and BFI. Select theaters in Birmingham will also showcase many of the films.
Fest director Rajinder Sawhney said, “It is wonderful that the festival is expanding so rapidly in stature and reach, proving there is an untapped market for Indian independent cinema with U.K. audiences.”