Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles: 2008 line-up

One of the things I miss most about living in Los Angeles is the IFFLA that takes place at the ArcLight in Hollywood every April. There was just something cool about being one of the first desi kids on the block to be able to see some smart films that are typically overshadowed by the usual Bollywood fare. Granted, there are a few flops but for the most part you can be pretty sure that you will walk away satisfied at having seen one or two memorable flicks. This year’s film festival is THIS WEEK, April 22nd to 27th.

As I pursued the line-up I noticed a few films I’d really like to check out if I was still there. The first one reminds me of my childhood vacation in Ahmedabad where I became a feared kite-killer over the course of several months, Under The Ahmedabad Sky. Eventually, my own kite, with dozens of confirmed kills, went down. I learned an important lesson that day. No matter how bad, powerful, or smart I am, there will be someone “more badder” to eventually take me down:



Another film that caught my eye is titled “The Pool.” It won a special jury prize at Sundance last year:

Venkatesh works as a bell-boy (attendant) in one of Goa’s budget hotels. On his way to work everyday with his friend Jhangir, he peeps over the wall of an empty house, staring at the swimming pool and proudly declaring his aspiration to break in and take a swim. Venkatesh’s dream is short-lived as the owners return. The mysterious and dysfunctional relationship between the homeowner and his daughter peaks Venkatesh’s curiosity as he gradually moves closer to them, finding a job as a gardener on the premises. [Link]




p>A documentary about the partition called The Sky Below also looks interesting. The film-maker Sarah Singh has a blog where she details some of her encounters with the films subjects. I read some of her posts with fascination:

The 1947 Partition of the Northwest region of the Subcontinent ushered in swift and devastating violence for which the aftershocks are still being felt today. The peoples of Pakistan and India while sharing a common culture and history have yet to speak candidly about this volatile period in recent history that divided a nation. Filmmaker Sarah Singh thoroughly explores the personal impact of Partition through first hand accounts by people of many faiths, geographical regions and walks of life that shed new light on the complexities of Partition and its far-reaching impact. [Link]


p>Finally I found this trailer to a film called The Morning Ritual kind of cute. We all have morning rituals, not like this though:



If some of you are able to make it out to the festival, let us know which ones you liked.

12 thoughts on “Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles: 2008 line-up

  1. the glow of white women has been received well at torontoo’s ongoing hotdocs festival. note that there’s a retrospective on hadesi baichwal’s work. [see also]

    Born of Indian parents in South Africa, Vally was raised as a Muslim during the decades of apartheid, and with the onset of puberty developed an obsession with the otherness and seeming inaccessibility of white women. Vally went on to have several “encounters” (his word) with white women and, post-apartheid, his fascination continues. He’s something of a charmer, an articulate, self-deprecating tour guide through South Africa’s thorny sexual and racial landscape, but he’s also courageous enough to show his jerk side here.
  2. “The Morning Ritual” mixes fiction with the reality of India’s largest metropolis – Mumbai, where the new money and foreign investment first reach the new India’s booming shores.

  3. This makes me so nostalgic about the kite flying day in Gujarat. For a while, the tall TV antennas on the top of every house, ruined the experience, but then cable came along and it wasn’t too bad.

    I went to a couple of kite flying events in Houston and they were nice but it lacked the “thousand rainbows in the sky” effect. I have tried to recreate the kite flying by flying home made kites on the beaches of southern California, but without the competition of being able to hold on to and being able to “cut” the kites, it doesn’t have the same aderelin rush.

    I’ll plan my next visit to India to include this day.

  4. Somewhat parantheticial, but for those of you who go to the festival, be sure to stop by Restaurant Tantra (in Silverlake) when they are doing the festival dinner. The chef, Dila, is flying in from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he has a restaurant with great food (I have a house is SMA so eat there often). Also, for the girls, he is a cutie.

  5. The new Harold and Kumar movie is also being shown. Not sure how this fits in the film festival theme.

  6. Just watched a screening of “Shot in Bombay” at the Toronto HotDocs today. Pretty hilarious, realistic, behind the scenes depiction of Bollywood gangster movies. Found Apoorva Lakhia to be much better off playing a director on screen than the real one behind the camera. His spontaneity, humour was a sure treat!

  7. For anyone in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area, the documentary mentioned in the above post “The Sky Below”, (along with 4 others) will be shown at the University of Minnesota this coming weekend (4/26) as part of their Traveling Film South Asia presentation.

  8. 5 · Nina P said

    You can catch Loins of Punjab Presents at the festival too.

    any chance of loins or sita playing in boston or dc? or is it possible to get the dvds for these somewhere? i’d love to watch both of these movies.

  9. Sita might play at the Smithsonian this October – please stay tuned. I don’t know what’s up with Loins, but I hope it gets a US theatrical release soon.

  10. there are quite a few docs’ about Partition and how it impacted the western border. However, the northeastern border also saw lots of sadness and bloodshed. Finally, the East Pakistanis are more similar to the Indian Bengalis than the Punjabi Pakistanis are to Indian Punjabis. The former community has one script and one language. The latter has 3 scripts, about 4.5 languages (punjabi, seraiki, multani, hindko, Hindi/Urdu).

    Why is there more focus on the northwestern border?