“Article 15” has scooped the audience award at the London Indian Film Festival. Anubhav Sinha’s movie stars Ayushmann Khurrana and also opened the tenth edition of LIFF, which is Europe’s largest South Asian film festival.
Khurrana stars as a police officer from a privileged background in “Article 15,” which Zee Studios International is distributing. He is posted to rural north India and tasked with investigating the disappearance of three girls. The movie takes its name from the part of the Indian constitution prohibiting discrimination and draws inspiration from several real-life assault and murder cases that highlighted social injustice.
“I am so happy that the film actually connected with Indians abroad and with non-Indians alike, who are not facing this version of inequality on a daily basis,” Sinha said.
LIFF ran across five cities in the U.K. and, in addition to the screenings, the latest edition saw stars talking about the movies and their lives and the industry. Diversity and equality were in the spotlight. “Blinded by the Light” filmmaker Gurinder Chadha was given an Icon award and said that “working as a British Asian woman in the entertainment industry has many struggles, so it feels good to be recognized.”
Mental health was another focus at the festival, which is supported by the Bagri Foundation, the title sponsor, and the British Film Institute. Anurag Kashyap, who won an Icon award, was interviewed by “Girl With a Pearl Earring” director Peter Webber and talked about dealing with depression. Radhika Apte took home an outstanding achievement accolade, and spoke about her battle with anxiety.
“On our tenth Birthday year I’m delighted that we have not only expanded to five cities with 100 screenings, but also showcased our strongest film selection ever, helmed by the world premiere of politically daring film ‘Article 15′,” said LIFF director Cary Rajinder Sawhney.
He added: “Continuing to push the boundaries of diversity, I’m very pleased that our women protagonist led and LGBTQ+ themed films have seen audiences flocking to them, redefining images of Indian and South Asian culture in the media.”
Other LIFF winners included Buddhadeb Dasgupta who scooped an Icon award, Richie Mehta who landed an outstanding achievement accolade, and Harshvardhan Kapoor who won the rising star honor.