Filmmaker Aparna Sen's debut Hindi film, Saari Raat, will premiere at the 6th London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), which will be held from July 16 to 25.The film, which stars Sen's daughter, National Award-winning actor Konkona Sen Sharma, is based on renowned playwright Badal Sarkar's work. The film also stars Anjan Dutt and Ritwick Chakraborty. The film's premiere will be attended by Konkona.
The festival will also see the premiere of Soha Ali Khan's 31 October, based on the infamous riots after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's death in 1984.The festival this year will open with Prashant Nair's Umrika, which won the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and has Prateik Babbar, Suraj Sharma (of Life of Pi fame) and Tony Revolori (of The Grand Budapest Hotel fame) in lead roles.
"I'm really excited about Umrika opening the London Indian Film Festival this year. We've heard such great things about the audiences at LIFF and can't wait to share our film with them. We're hoping the film's nostalgic portrayal of 1980s India, its themes and the many cross-cultural references will resonate with the audiences," says Nair.Another highlight of the festival this year will be the screening of hard-hitting cricket documentary Death of a Gentleman, which will close the ceremony. It features Ravi Shastri, Kevin Pieterson, Lalit Modi, N Srinivasan and Giles Clarke and is directed by Sam Collins. "Death of a Gentleman has been four years in the making, and we are hugely excited to be chosen as the closing film at the 2015 LIFF. This is a very human story about passion, money and power, and we hope to make a persuasive case to cricket fans and non-cricket fans alike that the greatest game in the world needs to change its ways," says Collins.
Naman Ramachandran, film programmer for the festival, says, "Independent regional language films in India have been witnessing a resurgence in recent years and Bengal as always has been in the vanguard with some of the best examples of work from the state aspiring to the high standards set by Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak. Our mission at the London Indian Film Festival over the past six years has been to find these gems and showcase them to a global audience.
The festival will also host a special screen talk by acclaimed filmmaker Mani Ratnam.