The UK Asian Film Festival runs across London, Manchester, Leicester and Edinburgh from March 27 to May 4.
This year’s festival will be a mix of movie premieres, screenings of classics, debates, short films and other interesting events. Eastern Eye looked ahead to the annual festival to select 10 highlights.
Hamid: The opening night gala screening revolves around an eight-year-old boy who learns that 786 is Allah’s number and tries reaching out to god by dialling the number on the telephone to talk to his father, but connects to someone else. It is an emotional tale of two shattered lives trying to complete each other.
Evening Shadows: The story of a young gay man in a small South Indian town coming out to his mother and how her entire world comes crashing down. Although the movie focuses on the challenges the mother faces in a patriarchal society, this drama also explores the theme of mother-son bonding.
Ek Aasha: The UK premiere of a powerful story about a transgender girl’s difficult journey to becoming a teacher in India. Apart from the unique subject matter, what makes this film interesting is that transgender people from Mumbai, Delhi and Surat, who are not actors, play the transgender roles.
Chegu: The UK premiere of the Bengali language drama, which revolves around a young boy from a lower-middle-class family who takes inspiration from Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and begins to fight his own battle. The film addresses social issues through the eyes of the teenager.
Daughter Of Nepal: A free screening of an award-winning documentary film that captures a revolutionary movement. It revolves around the daughter of two formidable political leaders of Nepal being sent across the border as her parents prepared to go underground for a Peoples’ War against the Nepalese monarchy.
Tashi: The European premiere of a drama looking at life through the prism of death. The story of five individuals at a crossroads in their lives explores beautifully flawed humans and how they take a step forward in their journey of self-discovery.
Noblemen: The UK premiere of a drama that revolves around a young boy at a boarding school who is bullied and attempts to rebel as he prepares to star in a production of William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. What follows is a battle between teenagers on a collision course.
Dear Molly: The UK premiere of an English language drama about a woman searching for a father she hasn’t seen since childhood in Sweden. All she has connecting her to him is a series of letters and distant memories. The father-daughter story is filled with plenty of emotions.
Pinky Memsaab: The closing night film of the London edition of the festival is an interesting drama about a girl who moves from Pakistan to Dubai seeking a better life. She finds an unconventional kinship with a beautiful socialite, but soon finds herself on a journey to discover who she truly is.
Pakeezah: There is a chance to revisit a number of classic films at this year’s festival including My Beautiful Launderette, but this Bollywood musical is the pick of the lot. Meena Kumari plays her career-defining role in the greatest courtesan drama ever made. The film is followed by a fascinating Q&A with late director Kamal Amrohi’s filmmaker son.
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