The 7th annual London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) kicks off this week spreading ten days of excellent films over two cities in Europe's largest festival dedicated to the films of South Asia. I am fortunate to have seen several of the features on the schedule this year, and can say with confidence that you are in for a treat!
LIFF opens in London this Thursday, 14th July, with a screening of Leena Yadav's amazing tale of rural women taking control over their lives, Parched. Ten days later the festival wraps up with the world premiere of Ketan Mehta's adaptation of Manto's moving Partition-era story, Tobah Tek Singh starring Pankaj Kapur. In between will be a ton of great features well worth checking out.
Below you can read capsules from our reviews of many of the films, and in the last frame of the gallery you can check out the entire festival program to decide what you want to see!
Alex Koehne contributed to this story.
I reviewed opening night film, Parched, as part of the New York Indian Film Festival and came away hugely impressed
Parched is the story of a quartet of women in rural Gujarat who struggle against the oppressively patriarchal power structure in their small town to attempt to gain a bit of autonomy. Tannishtha Chatterjee ( Sunrise , Angry Indian Goddesses , Chauranga , Monsoon Shootout , Siddharth ) plays Rani, the matriarch of a family into whom a woman from a neighboring village is wed. The new bride Janaki, played by Lehar Khan, appears for the wedding having cut off all of her beautiful hair because of lice, setting the entire village a flutter...
Parched is a scathing critique of the intransigence of the patriarchy in rural India, but more than that, it's a celebration of the liberty that comes from smashing said patriarchy. Any film can paint a dour picture and beg for your attention, it takes a special work to reassemble the broken pieces into a thing of beauty, and that is what Parched does.