10 Films you cannot miss at the London Indian Film Festival 2019

liff2019filmsWe present a list of 10 films you cannot miss at the London Indian Film Festival which will take place in London from June 20th – 29th.


#Gadhvi by Gaurav Bakshi – India | 2018 – 109 minutes

A retired, nondescript widower Ram Nath Gadhvi inadvertently takes on the establishment and suddenly becomes a social media sensation. He begins to take on Gandhi’s pacifist principles, but is no ordinary Gandhian, believing he is the reincarnation of the Mahatma itself. In the process Gadhvi attracts more and more followers, but also enemies seeking to bring him down, including hired-gun, Omkar, who has been tasked with suppressing the swelling anger against the establishment by shattering Gadhvi’s delusion and crushing his core beliefs. Gaurav Bakshi’s debut feature is a sharp social and political satire that plays out like a thriller where the audience is left guessing about who Gadhvi really is and if he is actually Gandhi’s reincarnation. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 21st | Friday | Barbican | 6:15 pm
June 26th | Wednesday | Cineworld Wembley | 8:00 pm



Bulbul Can Sing

Bulbul Can Sing by Rima Das – India | 2018 – 95 minutes

Assamese director Rima Das returns to LIFF with this groundbreaking coming-of-age tale that has swept up prestigious awards at Berlin, Dublin, Singapore and Mumbai film festivals. Three teenage best friends in rural Assam, northeast India, are forging their distinct personalities, but as the girls secretly meet boys, they soon come face to face with outmoded cultural traditions that challenge their family and place in the community, but most importantly their bonds as loyal friends. Rima Das made a global splash with Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing continues to prove her humane, world-class talent. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 25th | Tuesday | Stratford Picturehouse | 6:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 26th | Wednesday | BFI Southbank | 6:15 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)




Kattumaram (Catamaran) by Swarnavel Eswaran – India | 2018 – 73 minutes

Part of an emerging queer cinema from South India Kattumaram tells of patriarch Singaram and his orphaned niece Anandhi, fisher-folk survivors of the Tsunami. Beautiful Anandhi teaches in the local school and has many fishermen interested in her, but Anandhi instead secretly falls for a new female supply teacher. As Singaram finds out and tries to come to terms with this revelation, gossip about the young women’s relationship quickly spreads. Singaram is left facing the choice of either defending his beloved niece and her partner, or giving sway to the demands of an angry community. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 21st | Friday | BFI Southbank | 8:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 29th | Saturday | Cineworld Leicester Square | 4:00 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)



Mard ko Dard Nahin Hota

Mard ko Dard Nahin Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) by Vasan Bala
India | 2018 – 135 minutes

Winner of the prestigious Midnight Madness audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival, Mard Ko Nahin Hota is a breathtakingly original and imaginative film. Surya is born with the rare condition of Congenital Insensitivity to Pain. Often confined to the four walls of his house to avoid physical injuries, under the tutelage of his eccentric grandfather Abaja, Surya finds an escape through 80s martial arts films on VHS. Inspired by what he sees Surya sets out to become a martial arts expert like his hero, the one-legged Karate master, Mani. Combining fast-paced edge of your seat action with delirious cinematic pop culture references, Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota is an exhilarating crowd pleaser. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 21st | Friday | Cineworld Leicester Square | 8:30 pm
June 22nd | Saturday | Cineworld Wembley | 6:00 pm




Photograph by Ritesh Batra – India, Germany, US | 2019 – 110 minutes

Cannes hit The Lunchbox took the world by storm with box office success in all territories. Its director Ritesh Batra returns to the big screen with this nuanced romance between unlikely lovers. Acting legend Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Rafi, a humble street photographer outside the Gateway of India, Mumbai. He photographs an attractive young wealthy woman Miloni, who disappears without paying. Keeping her photo, he tries to fob off his marriage-peddling granny by sending her the photo to show his success, but impressed, she is soon heading to Mumbai to meet the marriage prospect. Rafi manages to track down Miloni and convince her to pretend to be his fiancée, and, partly intrigued by rough diamond Rafi’s request and partly because she’s looking for something extraordinary, she agrees. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 29th | Saturday | BFI Southbank | 5:15 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)



Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki
Bangladesh, Germany, India | 2019 – 86 minutes

Winner of two jury awards at Moscow International Film Festival Bangladeshi auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (No Bed Of Roses) returns with this tense thriller shot in a single take where terrorists take over an eatery in Dhaka, resulting in a siege scenario and multiple deaths. Loosely based on real events, the riveting film takes a close look at the roots of modern day terrorism through political, social and gender implications. Adding gravitas to this gut-puncher are a plethora of international stars, including India’s Parambrata Chatterjee (Shah Jahan Regency), Bangladesh’s Nusrat Imrose Tisha (Sincerely Yours, Dhaka) and Palestine’s Eyad Hourani (Omar). (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 25th | Tuesday | Barbican | 8:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 27th | Thursday | Genesis Cinema | 8:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 29th | Sunday | Home Cinema Manchester (Manchester) | 6:00 pm


This Shaking Keeps

This Shaking Keeps Me Steady by Shehrezad Maher
Pakistan, USA | 2018 – 60 minutes

In Karachi, three paramedics discuss their recurring nightmares sparked by their experiences at work: disturbing stories that haunt the first responders responsible for tending to violent events. As well their recollections, televised re-enactments with victims, criminals and medical personnel showcase scenarios ranging from the banal to the horrifying. Alternating between reminiscence and fiction, reality and imagination Shehrezad Maher creates a powerful and impactful reflection on trauma and the spectacle of violence in society. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 22nd | Saturday | Bertha DocHouse | 4:00 (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 24th | Monday | Stratford Picturehouse | 8:00 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)



Urojahaj (The Flight) by Buddhadeb Dasgupta – India | 2018 – 82 minutes

Legendary Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta, who has a magic realist style akin to Guillermo del Toro, attends the festival to present one of his finest films. An idealistic villager discovers a wrecked WW2 Japanese warplane deep in a ghostly forest. Seeing passenger planes overhead, his dream has always been to fly. He sets about secretly repairing the plane, but as he starts enquiring about an engine, the military find out and he is soon considered a national threat. Dasgupta’s films are often subtly laced with a pressing politic of the ordinary man pitted against the all-powerful state. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 23rd | Sunday | BFI Southbank | 2:50 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 24th | Monday | Cine Lumiere | 8:40 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)




Vivek (Reason) by Anand Patwardhan – India | 2018 – 240 minutes

India’s greatest documentarian, Anand Patwardhan, returns with a powerful chronicle of contemporary India. Depicting a country that after decades of relatively pro-secular democracy, is now increasingly divided by religion, caste and power. Patwardhan follows activists, rationalists and dissenters, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, he broadens his gaze to look at critical questions of communism, caste and freedom of speech. This is a riveting and sobering film that will inform and frustrate in equal measure. Reason is a must watch, and is perhaps the most important documentary to emerge from India in recent years. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 22nd | Saturday | Bardican | 1:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 23rd | Sunday | Bertha DocHouse | 12:00 pm



Widow of Silence

Widow of Silence by Praveen Morchhale – India | 2018 – 85 minutes

Popular at Busan and Rotterdam Film Festivals, Praveen Morchhale’s drama tells of Aasia who works as a nurse in a hospital to maintain herself, her 11-year-old daughter and her sick mother-in-law. She spends her days working, looking after her family and trying to obtain a death certificate for her husband who had been taken away by the police and presumed dead. With her life in limbo, unable to either re-marry, or settle her considerable financial debt without a death certificate, a conniving government official looks to take advantage, forcing Aasia to make difficult decisions to overcome her absurd plight. Widow of Silence is a gripping and soulful film with breathtaking visuals of the Kashmir landscape. (LIFF 2019 Catalogue)

June 23rd | Sunday | Barbican | 4:00 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 24th | Monday | Cine Lumiere | 6:30 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)
June 26th | Wednesday | Home Cinema Manchester (Manchester) | 6:10 pm (Q&A with Special Guest)


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