South Asia punches above its weight at London film festival

THERE will another celebration of global cinema at the annual BFI London Film Festival, which takes place at various venues across the capital from October 4 to 15. Eastern Eye looked ahead at the 2017 lineup to give a preview of the strong south  Asian contingent. 

ShirazA Romance of India: The world premiere of Anoushka Shankar’s new score for Shiraz, which is a spectacular silent Indian film romance. The 1928 classic will be screened with a brand new musical score performed live. The historical revolves around the building of the world’s most beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal. 

Beyond The Clouds: Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi relocates to Mumbai to tell a fastpaced coming-of-age story about a troubled teenager who sets out to save his jailed sister. Ishaan Khattar and Malavika Mohanan play the lead roles in a gritty urban drama, which features a rich musical score from Oscar winner AR Rahman. 

The Hungry: This UK-India co-production inspired by William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus revolves around a ruthless businessman whose world is threatened by an evil act. Naseeruddin Shah, Tisca Chopra and Neeraj Kabi star in the sumptuously shot modern tragedy of vengeance and corruption set in northern India. 

Abu: The kaleidoscopic personal documentary explores family dynamics, emerging sexuality and Pakistani-Canadian identity. Producer, director and writer Arshad Khan looks at a young Pakistani man’s difficulties in coping with migration, the resultant cultural change, his emerging sexuality and an increasingly orthodox father. The moving documentary looks at the journey of a man embracing an identity that is Pakistani, Canadian and gay. 

Om Dar-B-Dar: The underground Indian classic finally reaches the UK screen 25 years after it was made. Writer/director Kamal Swaroop’s fully restored drama is a fantastical portrait of life in a mythical small town and revolves around a young boy attracted to magic and religion. 

The Song Of Scorpions: Direct or Anup Singh teams up with acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan again for the desert-set fantasy about a camel driver falling in love with a strong-minded young woman who can heal scorpion bites. Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani and legendary Bollywood actress Waheeda Rehman also star in the visually striking tale of love, revenge and redemption. 

Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent: Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar and Indian actor Kalki Koechlin team up for an incisive female-centric documentary about the political and cultural landscape of contemporary Pakistan and India, 70 years after partition. They traverse their countries to examine a radically changing political landscape, the rise of intolerance and finding new perspectives on how peace can exist between the two nations. 

The Brawler: The latest film from acclaimed director Anurag Kashyap revolves around a boxer who must make an impossible choice between his two passions. Vineet Kumar Singh, Zoya Hussain and Ravi Kissan star in the knockout drama about a fighter dreaming of becoming champion, who falls in love with the wrong girl. The gritty film has charismatic performances, street fights, bawdy ballads and punchy females.