Mira Nair's The Namesake to open NY festival | india | Hindustan Times
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Mira Nair's The Namesake to open NY festival

india Updated: Sep 27, 2006 14:13 IST

Mira Nair's The Namesake will open a festival of films from South Asia and the Indian diaspora, to be held by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) in New York from November 1-5.

Announcing the Sixth IAAC Film Festival here on Tuesday, festival director Pooja Kohli Taneja said, "This is a product of the tremendous talent and commitment of nascent South Asian filmmakers."

"The IAAC film festival is one of the few platforms in America for filmmakers of South Asian origin. Not only do we provide a showcase for their films but also a tremendous source of support for their work," she added.

Submissions were up an astounding amount, over 300 percent this year, Kohli said of the festival opening with a gala premiere of "The Namesake", based on Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's book of the same title.

The film, starring Kal Penn, Tabu, Irfan Khan, Jacinda Barrett and Zuleikha Robinson, has received rave advance reviews at festival screenings in Telluride and Toronto. It will be released theatrically in America by Fox Searchlight Pictures March 9.

Selections from South Asia include "Podokkhep" (footsteps), Suman Ghosh's story of an unusual bond between a five-year-old girl and a retired man who rediscovers life during his twilight years. The film stars legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee and Nandita Das.

The selections also include "Dubai Return", Aditya Bhattacharya's critically acclaimed and revelatory adaptation of Shakespeare's "King Lear", and "Dansh" by Kanika Verma, a film based on the conflict between the Mizo National Front and the Indian armed forces.

Other selections include "Hiding Divya" by Rehana Mirza, "My Bollywood Bride" by Rajiv Virani and "American Blend" by Varun Khanna.

South Asian films that have received acclaim at international festivals and are poised for crossover success include "Punching at the Sun" by Tanuj Chopra and "I for India", a documentary by Sandhya Suri.

This year there are over 40 shorts and documentaries, including films that have won top prizes at several festivals.

The festival will close November 5 with the screening of Jagmohan Mundhra's "Backwaters", starring Nicholas Irons, Sandra Telles, James Flemyng and Gulshan Grover.