This year, the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) returns for its fourth year, and is more far-reaching than ever. Talk to most people and all they know about Indian independent cinema is Bollywood, but LIFF promises to deliver new and exciting talent from a broad variety of genres from across the Indian subcontinent.
Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout opens the festival, a hard-boiled cop thriller with a parallel narrative twist that’s seen it compared to Sliding Doors, hinging as it does on a split-second decision by a rookie police officer during a shootout with a local gangster. Well-reviewed at Cannes, where it was showing as part of the festival’s Midnight Screenings sidebar, this looks to be one of the most crowd-pleasing films on show this year. Also screened at Cannes and closing this year’s festival is Bombay Talkies, an anthology film featuring four stories from acclaimed directors Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibaker Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap. In one, a young gay man finds himself becoming close to a friend’s husband, whilst in another a young boy has to work hard to follow his dream of becoming a dancer.
This year’s ‘In Conversation’ centrepiece takes place at BFI Southbank, as BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna) talks to acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire) about his experience working in the British, Hollywood and Indian film industries. A familiar supporting player, anyone who’s seen Khan in any of his feature length roles (including Kapadia’s own feature, The Warrior, another BAFTA winner) will know what a fascinating actor he can be when given the right material, so this should be interesting.
The London Indian Film Festival runs from 18-25 July and will take place at various venues across London, including BFI Southbank, Cineworld Haymarket, the O2, ICA and the Peckhamplex. Tickets can be purchased from the official website.