Straight shooters, shorts and more at SFISAFF

yesmadam200.jpgquick200.jpg

It’s a good thing that the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reopened this week after freaking out unsuspecting motorists by dropping 5,000 pounds of metal last week. But even if it hadn’t Bay Area indie film fans would have found a way (BART still works, right?) to get to the Seventh Annual 3rd I San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival happening tonight through Sunday, November 5-8. That’s because the festival screenings include some very interesting short films, documentaries, and feature films from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora. (You can view the SFISAFF trailer after the jump and all the film trailers at thirdi.org and at the end of this post.)

If your time this week/weekend is a miserly taskmaster, you might be wondering which of the films to squeeze in. If instead your time is more like a freewheeling and generous friend, the best answer may be “All of them!”

Yes Madam, Sir, the documentary about India’s first female IPS (Indian Police Service) officer Kiran Bedi, narrated by Helen Mirren, caught my interest. After reading one review’s mention of Bedi “single-handedly” fighting back 3,000 militants “with a wooden stick” during riots, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this larger-than-life 5’2″ kickass cop. She is scheduled to show up at SFISAFF.

Bedi leads a busy retired life these days involved with humanitarian foundations and resolving disputes in a people’s court TV show–one viewer describes her as a less-caustic Judge Judy. But she may be most famous for towing the car of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for illegal parking and for reforming Tihar, the largest prison complex in South Asia. During her tenure as Inspector General of Prisons, she introduced Vipassana meditation for staff and inmates (related SM post) among other award-winning reforms. Australian filmmaker Megan Doneman got permission to make Yes Madam, Sir from Bedi after the supercop had been turning down other filmmakers for 15 years.

“Sambar western” Quick Gun Murugun: Misadventures of an Indian Cowboy sounds tasty in its plot and looks colorful too. One-upping those cavemen who got their own TV show, Cowboy Murugun made the jump to movies from mid-90s ads for MTV-competitor Channel V.

In the badlands of South India, a lonesome vegetarian cowboy, Quick Gun Murugun, attempts to save the world from the beef-soaked machinations of Rice Plate Reddy, a scheming capitalist who plans to take over the world with his McDosa franchise. (thirdi.org)

If the movie cowboy looks familiar, maybe you know him as actor Rajendra Prasad from Telugu films. I think I saw some of Prasad’s filmography pantomimed last month at a cousin’s birthday party when my mom and relatives played movie charades. Director Shashank Ghosh plans a sequel for the film tentatively and deliciously titled The Good, The Bad and The Idli.

For those of you who plan on going to SFISAFF, what films are you looking forward to? And if you’ve seen any already, let us know what you think!

Zero Bridge (Kashmir, USA)
Mad, Sad & Bad (UK)
Iron Eaters (Lohakhor/Eissenfresser) (Bangladesh/Germany)
My Heart Goes Hooray! (Dil Bole Hadippa!) (India)
Bombay Summer (India/USA)
Children of the Pyre (India)
Searching for Sandeep (Australia)
Full Moon (Chaudhvin ka Chand) (India)
Love in India (India/Germany)
Warrior Boyz (Canada)
Supermen of Malegaon (India)
Bay Area short films
Flying (India/USA)
Location/Situatedness Through Memory (Canada)
I Cannot Remember My Mother (USA)
and more…

SFISAFF Tickets and information

Previously: Third I’s Third

8 thoughts on “Straight shooters, shorts and more at SFISAFF

  1. Maybe I’ll see you there, Pavani! I’ll be at coming to watch Yes Madam, Sir, and I’m beyond excited to meet Kiran Bedi!

  2. I wonder why “Dil Bole Hadippa!” is in the program- it doesn’t deserve to be there. We found it to be a horrible pastiche (or rojak, as we say in Singapore & Malaysia) of Lagaan, Rang De Basanti, Swadesh, etc – the movie tried to address way too many themes … plus the songs were quite bad.. The only unique thing was having Rani Mukherjee putting on a beard and a topknot (joora), but that wore off after a while…

  3. I am planning to see both Quick Gun Murugan (I am big fan of Rajendra Prasad) and Yes Madam, Sir. Also, there is a 90′s Telugu film loosely based on Kiran Bedi’s life called “karthavyam”.

  4. That would be cool Ocotillo. I’ll keep an eye out for a unique desert plant. And a friendly gigolo too! So far only Murugun is for sure, but I also want to see Yes Sir and maybe Mad, Sad & Bad. I’ll try tweeting from the fest too (only during intermission, of course).

  5. I wonder why “Dil Bole Hadippa!” is in the program- it doesn’t deserve to be there.

    I agree. No offense to Bollywood, and I understand they are probably trying to do this to represent the diversity of Indian cinema, but I usually go to 3rd I, SF Indie, and other film festivals because they show movies that are hard to find anywhere else. I can easily find most Bollywood movies at Naz 8, video stores and even some multiplexes in the South/East Bay, so this seems like a waste of space.

    For example, I would have loved to see “Shot in Bombay” about the making of Sanjay Dutt’s “Shootout in Lokhandwala” movie and aspects of the alleged dark underbelly of Bollywood, including Dutt’s conviction, that were tying up the release. I caught only the last 5 minutes on Sundance and unfortunately they are not scheduled to ever show it again!