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“…Or Die” Review

By |October 30th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

"Attempting to get at truth means rejecting stereotypes and cliches." - Harold Evans Stereotypes exist for all races across the board. Some of them can be true while others are blatantly false. Nearly all of them can be associated with ignorance. Yes, some cab drivers are brown. Yes, a lot of IT guys are also brown. Yes, even many terrorists have brown skin. As it turns out though, there are brown people around the world who also happen to be athletes, artists, writers, actors, teachers, pilots, directors, editors, journalists, bartenders, painters, comedians, zookeepers, train conductors, lawyers, politicians, construction workers, cops, [...]

Kabir Bedi discusses his Hollywood years and the role of South Asian actors in America

By |October 29th, 2012|SAIFF 2012|

Kabir Bedi is quite the accomplished actor. He just recently received the Star Foundation Award during the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF). He's found a form of stardom on three different continents through projects and films like "Octopussy", "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "Sandokan." Kabir Bedi with moderator James Janowsky during the SAIFF Conversation Series Saturday. Bedi recently participated in a conversation series at SAIFF where he discussed his legacy, stardom, family and much more with moderator James Janowsky. IIF managed to participate in the conversation by asking Bedi about the struggles and challenges of making it [...]

“Balak Palak” Review

By |October 27th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

So let's talk about sex. What? You don't want to? What do you mean you're embarrassed? Why? Wait where are you going?! Who the hell is supposed to explain this stuff to me? "Balak Palak" premiered at the South Asian Film Festival Friday night. These are the questions many adolescents face as they grow older and attempt the decipher one of nature's most confounding experiences. Sex. And those kids who grow up in communities (especially India) where such talk and communication is considered taboo, the ramifications can be particularly damaging. This is the premise of "Balak Palak", a film directed by [...]

“Blood Relative” Review

By |October 26th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

"Blood Relative" is a truly moving, gripping documentary by Nimisha Mukerji, director of numerous films including the multiple award-winning documentary 65_RedRoses, set to air soon on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Set in Mumbai, we see a true life story of two brave, young sufferers of thalassemia major, a genetic disease, one variant of which is endemic to South and Southeast Asia where millions are affected with potentially fatal consequences. "Blood Relative" was shown at the South Asian International Film Festival Thursday night. The truest meaning of selflessness and humility defines the contributions of Vinay Shetty, the leader of [...]

“Bureaucracy Sonata” (“Raag Sarkari”) Review

By |October 26th, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, SAIFF 2012|

A long time ago, India went through an "interesting" time to say the least. From June 26, 1975 through March 21, 1977, democracy was suspended in India allowing Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to rule by decree. It became known as the "emergency era" in India. During that time, a lot of political activists and members of the opposition party were arrested without trial. Eventually members of the opposition party started voluntarily going to jail because they were promised a monthly pension if their party successful overthrew Gandhi's government. This is the setting and premise behind Vinay Shukla's short film "Raag [...]

“B.A. Pass” Review

By |October 25th, 2012|movies we loved, NJISACF 2012, reviews|

I've been struggling to write this review ever since I saw "B.A. Pass", directed by Ajay Bahl, nearly three weeks ago at the New Jersey Independent South Asian Cine Fest (NJISACF). In fact I had initially written the review rather quickly because I loved the movie. But then I read the short story it was based on called "The Railway Aunty" by Mohan Sikka (You can read the full story at Brooklyn Rail) After that, I knew my approach had to change, even if my assessment of the film didn't. It's still a fantastic movie and reading the short story [...]

Legendary actor Kabir Bedi accepts Star Foundation Award at SAIFF

By |October 24th, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012|

The South Asian International Film Festival gave this year's Star Foundation Award to the legendary actor Kabir Bedi. It was introduced for the first time last year when it went to filmmaker Shekhar Kapur. Bedi received his award during the South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Tuesday night after he was introduced by SAIFF President and Founder, Shilen Amin. "Kabir has mastered all three entertainment outlets: film, television and theater. He has acted in over 60 Bollywood films [including] hits like 'Khoon Bhari Maang', 'Kurbaan', 'Main Hoon Na', as Emperor Shah Jahan in 'Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story' and a pivotal [...]

South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Recap

By |October 24th, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012|

Before the actual festival kicks off, SAIFF 2012 got started with the  1st Annual South Asian Rising Star Film Awards. Adult film star and emerging Bollywood actress Sunny Leone and Jay Chandrasekhar, director of films like "Beerfest" and "Super Troopers", hosted the event Tuesday night. Jay Chandrasekhar and Sunny Leone hosting the awards ceremony. "With the South Asian Rising Star Film Awards we are taking another massive stride to not only just identify and develop talent, but also to recognize their achievements to the art and craft of cinema," Shilen Amin, President and Founder of SAIFF, said before the awards. [...]

SAIFF 2012 kicks off tonight with the “South Asian Rising Star Film Awards”

By |October 23rd, 2012|Awards, SAIFF 2012, Uncategorized|

The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) kicks off tonight with an awards ceremony celebrating the rising stars of South Asian cinema. IIF will be there all week covering everything we possibly can. Below is a press release  with all the nominees and information. The festival is co-sponsored by HBO. NEW YORK CITY September 25, 2012 – The South Asian International Film Festival; presented by HBO, celebrates its ninth year in 2012 and together announce the nominees for first-ever South Asian Rising Star Film Awards Gala Dinner.   The 2012 Nominees for all Nine (9) Award Categories are: Best Lead [...]

“Greater Elephant” Review

By |October 23rd, 2012|movies we loved, reviews, upcoming movies|

The following review was done by Dr. Prabhu Jha, an expert on English literature and storytelling in general. His short stories have been published in the literary magazine "Ink" and he runs a blog called Ephemeral Insights. "Greater Elephant", recently premiered in Pune, is a delightful movie, which defies any attempts to label it. Some people might call it a comedy, bordering on the farcical. However, the label of a farcical comedy flies in the face of a very well-done and subtle search for something deeper. And we’re back to square one! In fact, we’re back to a Mahout, who [...]

In Conversation with Srinivas Sunderrajan, director of “Greater Elephant”

By |October 19th, 2012|Interviews, upcoming movies|

Almost a year after the film won the Jury Award at the 2011 South Asian International Film Festival, "Greater Elephant" is finally getting it's first release in India today. The movie, produced by Enter Guerilla Films and Humara Movie Productions, debuts in Pune today through PVR Cinemas. The film had quite a unique journey to the silver screens. IIF discussed that journey, as well as the state of the independent industry in India with the film's director, Srinivas Sunderrajan. Check out the first edition of India Independent Films' "In Conversation" series below: httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVcb5KQsbUQ Stay tuned for more coverage about "Greater [...]

An interview with Sakti Sengupta, Director of NJISACF

By |October 14th, 2012|Uncategorized|

Similar to the production issues in getting an independent movie made, putting on a festival highlighting these films is no simple task. It involves fundraising, curating and creativity. Which all simply translates to a lot of late nights for Sakti Sengupta, Director of the New Jersey International South Asian Cinefest, and his staff. Mr. Sengupta was kind enough to discuss the process of putting on a festival like this, his attraction to independent films and much more with IIF recently. IIF: How would you describe the success of the festival this year in comparison to previous years? Sakti Sengupta: Every [...]

“Dekh Indian Circus” Review

By |October 10th, 2012|movies we loved, NJISACF 2012, reviews|

There is something more powerful about a message or story if its conveyed through the perspective of children. A filmmaker or storyteller can talk about the issues of money, greed and power but the impact is always greater when you can see the effect on innocence. "Dekh Indian Circus", the opening night film at NJISACF by Mangesh Hadawale, is an example of a story that holds more weight because of the mechanism of its delivery. The story centers around the life of a family in a small Indian village. When the circus comes into town, brother and sister Ghumroo and [...]

IIF Exclusive: An Interview with Imtiaz Ali

By |October 8th, 2012|Interviews, NJISACF 2012, Uncategorized|

Imtiaz Ali, the director of such hits in India like "Rockstar" and "Love Aaj Kal", was in New Jersey for the weekend to introduce an independent film called "Dekh Indian Circus" at NJISACF. While he was there, he graciously took the time to speak to IIF about the definition of independent films, the challenges of a filmmaker and what audiences expect from their movies. Imtiaz Ali and Paresh Jha after the interview. Ali was in New Jersey for the New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest. IIF: Being such a big director in the Indian Film Industry and working [...]

“Listen Amaya” takes home top honors at NJISACF

By |October 8th, 2012|Awards, NJISACF 2012, Uncategorized|

The New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest has come to a close after an eventful weekend full of interesting films and visits from director Imtiaz Ali and actress Deepti Naval. "Listen Amaya", which had its east coast premiere at the festival, took home top honors for Best Feature Film and Best Director Avinash Singh. The film closed to a standing ovation from festival goers. Here is the full list of this year's awards: Best Feature film: "Listen Amaya" produced by Avinash Singh and Geeta Singh Best Director: Avinash singh for "Listen Amaya" Best Actor : Adil Hussain for "Lessons in [...]

Imtiaz Ali introduces “Dekh Indian Circus” on NJISACF’s opening night

By |October 6th, 2012|movies we loved, NJISACF 2012, Uncategorized|

Friday night kicked off the New Jersey Independent South Asian Cinefest in Edison, NJ. The theater was packed as acclaimed director Imtiaz Ali was on hand to introduce the opening night film, "Dekh Indian Circus." Ali spoke fondly of the festival's mission to promote good cinema. He cited festival director Sakti Sengupta's vision and all the volunteers' hard work in organizing the event as crucial in spreading the word about South Asian films and filmmakers. "What they do for us is to help popularize the idea of cinema more and more. And to put it in the desi way, humara [...]

NJISACF begins tonight!

By |October 5th, 2012|NJISACF 2012, Uncategorized|

The New Jersey South Asian Cinefest (NJISACF) begins tonight in Edison, NJ! I am pleased to announce that IIF will be attending and covering all the fun. The festival has been around since 2007 and their mission is to "to promote and recognize the talents of the new,the established, the underrepresented, the best and the brightest Independent South Asian filmmakers from across the globe." This year will kickoff with a Q&A session with Imtiaz Ali, director of films like "Rockstar", "Love Aaj Kal" and "Jab We Met". Ali will also present the opening night film "Dekh Indian Circus", directed by [...]