The 17th annual New York Indian Film Festival will screen 44 films (features/shorts/documentaries) from across four South Asian countries – Indian, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The festival opens with Alankrita Srivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, which was sadly denied a certificate in India.
Other highlights of the festival include Vikramaditya Motwane’s survival thriller Trapped, actor Rahul Bose’s Poorna and aonkona Sen Sharma’s debut directorial attempt A Death in the Gunj. The week-long extravaganza closes on May 7 with Milind Dhaimade’s You Are My Sunday.
Here are all the films set to screen at the prestigious fest!
Lipstick Under My Burkha (Opening Night)
2016 | India | 116 mins | Hindi
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
Synopsis: Trapped in their own worlds, four women claim their desires through secret acts of rebellion.
2017 | India | 124 mins | Marathi
Director: Ananth Mahadevan
Synopsis: Towards the end of the nineteenth century, around 1880, a revolutionary new force, that surprisingly emanated from the mind of a 20 year old girl, impacted Indian society like a thunderbolt and hasn’t diminished till today.
2017 | India | 104 min | Hindi
Director: Rahul Bose
Synopsis: Poorna(13), who comes from a poor tribal family of agricultural laborers in a village in Telangana, spends most of her time with her older cousin, Priya.
The Narrow Path
2016 | India | 97 mins | Malayalam
Director: Satish Babusenan & Santosh Babusenan
Synopsis: Young Akhil lives with his old and crippled father. The two share a difficult relationship. Akhil has decided to run away with his girlfriend Nina to another city and he is keeping this a secret from the old man. But his last day at home doesn’t turn out the way he had planned it.
2016 | India | 56 mins | English, Hindi, Marathi
Director: Dhananjay Bhawalekar
Synopsis: Born in a remote village in Maharashtra, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay has come a long way. His intimate first hand understanding of real India shaped his career in places as diverse as Tokyo, Damascus, Moscow and New York. As the Consul General in New York, he was the pillar behind the Madison Square Garden event of PM Modi. This is the irresistible journey of the gypsy hidden deep within the man; the gypsy who persisted, propelled and inspired varied accomplishments.
2017 | India | 104 mins | Hindi
Synopsis: Shab is set in the unforgiving and cold city of Delhi where people from all over the country come to fulfill their dreams. For some, these dreams are realized, while others surrender to the city’s overwhelming powers. It is the story of their unrequited love, unfulfilled desires and helplessness at the hands of destiny.
I See You, Patliputra Express, The Stain, The Cobbler, Aaba, The Thief, Zoya
2017 | India | 80 mins | English
Director: Sudhish Kamath
Synopsis: Aiban “Joel” Gogoi, a guitarist and activist who feels strongly about the ground reality in the North East, takes a 44 hour-long train journey to accompany his singer-girlfriend Shivranjani Singh who is moving to Mumbai with their cat to explore a life beyond the mountains, even if it means a nine to five job working for a multi-national corporation.
Recommended: Tête-à-tête: ‘Side A Side B’ Director Sudhish Kamath
A Death in the Gunj
2016 | India | 104 mins | Hindi (w/ English subtitles)
Director: Konkana Sen Sharma
Synopsis: Set in 1979, A Death in the Gunj is a coming of age story, about a shy student Shyamal Chatterjee. He uses a family road trip to McCluskiegunj, an old Anglo-Indian town, as an escape from his failed semester.
With This Ring
Documentary | 2016 | Canada | 91 mins | English
Director: Ameesha Joshi, Anna Sarkissian
Synopsis: Filmed over the course of six years, With This Ring follows the meteoric rise of three Indian women who sidestep traditional roles to become world champion boxers.
Documentary | 2016 | India | 112 mins | English, Bengali
Director: Sagnik Chatterjee
Synopsis: FELUDA, a fictional detective, created by legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, has stepped into his 50th year of existence. The film attempts to visualize this 50 year journey, across generations in India & abroad, traversing the literary journey and to preserve the heritage for future generations to come….
2016 | India | 108 mins | Hindi, Haryanvi
Director: Shanker Raman
Synopsis: Kehri Singh reigns over crime in Gurgaon. Frustrated of constantly being sidelined by his father Nikki Singh, tries to score a major hit but instead finds himself in huge debt to a rival gang. To repay this debt, Nikki hires a hitman to kidnap his own sister – Kehri Singh one and only beloved child and tentatively blackmail his father. But things don’t go as planned.
Station, Two Cups of Tea, Sisak, Riff Raff, Water Baby, A Secret Heart, Let Some Clouds Float In, Shanivar Ko Do Bajey
2016 | India | 76 mins | Tamil
Director: V Pradeep Kumar
Synopsis: The central theme of ‘Arunagiri Perumale’ is the most celebrated tamil literary w rk, Thiruppugazh, which in the film, serves as a bridge spanning two different time periods. One era takes us 600 years back in time to explore the life of Arunagiri, a great mystic saint and troubadour from Tamil Nadu who wrote this masterpiece. A contemporary musician whose quest leads to discovering the essence and relevance of Thiruppugazh in our current changing times retells Arunagiri Nathar’s story through a collection f tales.
An Insignificant Man (Centrepiece)
2016 | India | 96 mins | Hindi (w/ English subtitles)
Director: Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla
Post-screening discussion w/Director Khushboo Ranka & Vinay Shukla
Synopsis: At the heart of An Insignificant Man is the most polarising man in India today – Arvind Kejriwal. The film follows Kejriwal and his Common Man’s Party – an insurgent new political party, as they wield basic public issues like water, electricity, and graft against the country’s oldest and most powerful two political establishments.
Recommended: 13 Indian Indie Films You Shouldn’t Miss From 2016
Cowboy and Indian, Urban Nritta, La Lune Folle, Fanny Pack, The Hideout, Arranged, Vegas, Beast, Qalandar
Red Butterfly Dream
2016 | Sri Lanka | 86 mins | Singhalese
Director: Priyantha Kaluarachchi
Bilu – A Demon Within (Bilu Rakkhosh)
2016 | India | 129 mins | Bengali
Director: Indrasis Acharya
Synopsis: The story is a journey of a modern IT executive who has an inclination towards music. Due to the rapid changing scenario of our socio-economic structure along with technology and values, he loses himself into isolation for not fitting himself in this journey.
2016 | Pakistan | 60 mins | Urdu
Director: Meenu Gaur, Farjad Nabi
Synopsis: Jeewan Hathi or ‘Elephant n the Room’ is a black comedy about the topsy-turvy universe of Televisi n in Pakistan. An ideal, loving, lower middle class couple’s marriage is n the brink of collapse when they find themselves part of a TV game show, lured in by the prize of a gigantic flat screen TV!
2016 | Pakistan | 58 mins | Urdu
Director: Mehreen Jabbar
Synopsis: Set in the ‘70s, Lala Begum is a story of two estranged sisters Meher and Seher, who parted ways over personal issues which they never confronted. It’s a story about two peop e coming to terms with the past and trying to move ahead in life.
2017 | India | 97 mins | English, Hindi, Marathi
Director: Sandeep Mohan
Synopsis: SHREE, a freelancer copywriter is battling with self doubts about his artistic abilities. He loves to work out of the cafes in Bangalore, the shining face of the New India. Just like many youngsters in this world, Shree’s worldview is shaped through social media, not having travelled much in the ‘real’ world. As luck would have it, he gets a call to attend an all-expenses paid trip to a college friend’s wedding in the Northern part of India. And what was supposed to be a peaceful getaway trip soon turns into an amusing adventure full of excitement, danger and quirkiness.
Recommended: Don’t Miss These 9 Indian Indie Movies From 2017
Wrong Side Raju
2016 | India | 140 mins | Gujarati
Director: Mikhil Musale
Synopsis: Raju Ambani, a driver by day and bootlegger by night, is a simple and charming guy who dreams of opening up his own travel agency someday. He falls in love with Shaily Asher, a French girl who has come down to Ahmedabad at the behest of her friend Tanmay Shah. Life was seemingly perfect for Raju till he finds himself unwillingly stuck in a hit and run situation involving Tanmay, who happens to be the son of an affluent lawyer, Amitabh Shah.
2016 | India | 143 mins | Marathi
Director: Rajesh Mapuskar
Synopsis: Gaju Kaka who never makes an appearance is breathing his last in the hospital few days before the Ganpati festival. As the news of his illness spreads, the entire extended family gathers to show their support, at the hospital. But as the family gathers and meets after a long time, a lot more happens in the hospital’s waiting room.
Recommended: 4 Marathi Films You Shouldn’t Miss From 2016
When the Woods Bloom
2016 | India | 105 mins | Malayalam
Director: Dr. Biju Damodaran
Synopsis: A police group is deployed by the government to do away with Maoist menace (A banned Left organization) in a tribal village near forest. The police forcibly occupy a tribal primary school for their camp. A policeman follows a person deep into the forest and nabs the person. The person arrested happens to be a woman. He tries to come out of the forest with the arrested person, but he loses his way in the wild.
A Billion Colour Story
2016 | India | 115 mins | English
Director: N Padmakumar
Synopsis: A Billion Colour Story is a small, intimate story of love, a father-son story, a story about the myriad colours of the world’s most diverse democracy, a story about India’s charming contradictions and superficial differences, a story about storytelling, but above all, a story about humanity that questions what kind of world we want to leave behind for our children.
2016 | India | 97 mins | Tamil
Director: Jagadeesan Subu
Synopsis: On what he expected to be a typical day, Prasad (Raj Bharath), a reluctant pimp, must investigate the sudden disappearance of his network’s most demanded prostitute, Nimmi (Meera Nair).
2016 | India | 116 mins | Punjabi
Director: Karaan Guliani
Synopsis: This is a coming of age story about Mitthu, a Canadian resident who lives his life on his own terms. He is a person who wears his heart on his sleeve. He lives on the edge where he has more enemies than friends.
2017 | India | 105 mins | Hindi
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Synopsis: A man gets stuck in an empty high rise without food, water or electricity.
Colours of Innocence
2016 | India | 86 mins | Bengali
Director: Manas Mukul Pal
Synopsis: Chhotu and Gopal are two brothers of a tender age. Their childhood in their village is disrupted when their father meets with an accident. Circumstances force Gopal to mature rather quickly. Meanwhile, Chhotu comes to learn of the grand Janmastomi (Lord Krishna’s Birthday) feast at the Seth’s house. He is overcome by excitement at the thought of a possible invitation! To ensure that it arrives, Chhotu gives the grandma from the affluent Seth’s house with palmyras. When his brother Gopal discovers this scheme, he is furious: he had plans to sell the palmyra to earn some cash for their mother. The brothers fight over this but Chhotu is still hopeful that they will be invited to the grand feast. He starts counting the hours!
2016 | India | 30 mins | Hindi
Director: Rahul V. Chittella
Synopsis: Set against the socio-political backdrop of present day India, AZAAD unfolds the story of a dysfunctional relationship between a father and his son, within 48 hours of the father going missing. AZAAD is presented by prolific filmmaker, Mira Nair, and has been written and directed by her long-time associate, Rahul V. Chittella. It features the National Award-winning actor Atul Kulkarni (Hey Ram, Chandni Bar, Rang De Basanti) playing the lead along with Sakshi Tanwar (Dangal), Siddharth Menon (Peddlers, Happy Journey) and Nandu Madhav (Harishchandrachi Factory)
2016 | India | 99 mins | Tamil
Director: Lenin Bharathi
Synopsis: Rangasamy (Antony) is one of many “sons of the soil”. Hailing from a long line of laborers who live on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu he yearns to own a piece of land and make a living by farming it himself, instead of toiling in the spice plantations of others forever. After years of dedicated labor and service to the local communist party, led by the passionate Chaako (Abu Valayankulam), who advocates on behalf of the laborers, Rangasamy is finally in a position to purchase his own land. However, buying land is only half the battle for the poor like him.
2016 | India | 173 mins | Malayalam
Director: Rajeev Ravi
Synopsis: Kammatipaadam tells a story of the transformation of a city from its lush green serene past, through bloodshed and violence is tuned into a concrete jungle.
Recommended: 8 Malayalam Films Worth Watching In 2016
Flight of Hope, The Masked Murderer, Vaarasa, The School Bag, Bubbles, Aarsa, Almost, Kaajal, Amber
Kingdom of Clay Subjects
2016 | Bangladesh | 88 mins | Bengali
Director: Imtiaz (Bijon) Ahmed
Synopsis: Set in rural Bangladesh, 10-year-old Jamal is robbed of his innocence when his childhood friend and everyday playmate is forced to become a child bride. With new insight about social norms, Jamal begins to notice his surroundings and realizes his need for a social identity. His search puts his mother into risk, as she has a past she is forced to hide. Faced with the dilemma of losing his mother, Jamal stands up to social oppression to find that all is not lost.
2016 | U S A, India | 23 mins | English
Director: Pallavi Somusetty
Synopsis: Naveen Bhat was trapped in India on summer vacation after their parents took away their passport upon discovering Naveen’s gender and sexual orientation. Indian-born but raised in the United States, Naveen just wants to get back home to life as a UC Davis student, but their parents have other plans for their offspring. As Naveen battles their parents in court, they finds surprising acceptance within the Indian legal system, as the country’s supreme court recognizes transgender people as a legal third gender. “Escaping Agra” follows Naveen’s journey as they make their way home to California and pieces their life back together.
Sent Away Boys
2016 | India | 40 mins | Punjabi
Director: Harjant Gill
Synopsis: What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to communities in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together testaments of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab, India to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration.
The Love Commandos
2016 | India | 52 mins | English
Director: Miriam Lyons
Synopsis: Imagine you’re 21, in India and in love. The law says you have the right to marry the person of your choice but your parents say you don’t. To avoid a forced marriage to someone else, you decide to elope. Your parents call the police. Rather than upholding the law, the police side with your parents who threaten to kill you. Who do you call? -The Love Commandos.
A Tongue Untied
12:30 pm – Free screening
2016 | India | 104 mins | Marathi
Director: Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar
Synopsis: Janaki, a divorcee trying to find meaning of life in sea-turtle conservation project run in a coastal village; during travel accidentally meets an anonymous young man Manav who has escaped from the hospital where he was in for attempted suicide. Janaki tries to create a non-judgmental, non-intrusive, warm atmosphere to help him bloom. Janaki herself, her driver-assistant Yadu, conservationist Dattabhau, servant Bablya and street-kid Parshu-become the vulnerable young Manav’s support system.
OM: Old Man, Sakharam, Fact/Fiction, Facing The Mountain, Life on the Ganges, The Red Box, Farewell Goddess
2017 | India | 131 mins | Hindi
Director: Dakxinkumar Bajrange
Synopsis: The film discusses politics of perception by gripping narratives of economy of violence. When one after another serial bomb blasts shakes southern city of Hyderabad, a special ATS team lead by officer Desai to track down suspect Yasin Darji behind the blast. Will they able to stop him and save innocent lives or again Yasin will be two steps ahead of them to take his final revenge from the state?
Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan)
2016 | India | 99 mins | Hindi
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
Synopsis: Faced with his father’s untimely and bizarre demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi and attain Salvation, a son is left with no choice but to embark on this journey.
Anatomy of Violence
2016 | India | 93 mins | English, Hindi, Punjabi
Director: Deepa Mehta
Synopsis: Anatomy Of Violence mixes fiction and fact in an improvised exploration of the events leading up to, and following, the notorious gang rape of a young woman by six men in a moving bus in New Delhi, December 16th 2012.
The Argumentative Indian
Documentary | 2017 | India, USA | 60 mins | English, Bengali
Director: Suman Ghosh
Synopsis: This documentary traces the life and work of India’s Renaissance man and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen.
Ondu Motteya Kathe
2017 | India | 123 mins | Kannada
Director: Raj B Shetty
Synopsis: Ondu Motteya Kathe (EGGHEAD) is simple tale of a young bald man trying to find his soulmate, who would see the person he is and not the shine up his forehead. And in this journey of finding his true love, he discovers more about himself. Not only does he have a shiny head, he also has a dark spot in his heart. Will he find the girl of his dreams? Will he make his heart shine brighter than his head?
2016 | India | 84 min | Hindi, English
Director: Dilip Mehta
Synopsis: MOSTLY SUNNY, a feature documentary that tells the bizarre life-trajectory of Sunny Leone (Karanjit Kaur Vohra), an Indo-Canadian-American born into a conservative Sikh family who at 18 eschewed traditionalism and her parents wishes and transformed into a raging porn star and who for the past few years has been pursuing her dreams of stardom as a Bollywood actress in hyper-conservative India.
One Goat’s Mercy Petition (Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu)
2017 | India | 125 mins | Tamil
Director: Suresh Sangaiah
Synopsis: Days after their wedding, Ramamurthy (Vidhaarth) and Seetha (Raveena Ravi) gather the young and old of their village of Naduvapatti for a holy pilgrimage. They must sacrifice a goat carefully raised by Rama’s no-nonsense grandmother, to fulfill her vow made to their family deity. But when Rama takes the wheel of the truck, carrying all their guests, and fatally runs over a young man, the people of Naduvapatti are torn on if they should hide the body and continue on their way, as a means of protecting the newlyweds, or suffer the consequences of reporting it to the police – even though there are no witnesses besides themselves, their goat, and God.
You Are My Sunday (Tu Hai Mera Sunday)
2016 | India | 119 mins | English, Hindi, Konkani
Director: Milind Dhaimade
Synopsis:In the maddening congestion of Mumbai five young men living disparate lives, share a common goal: to play football at Juhu Beach every Sunday. While each one has their reason to look forward to the Sunday morning, there’s no doubt it’s a high point of their week. One Sunday, as a result of the actions of a senile old stranger who joins their game, a ban is issued on playing games at Juhu Beach. The group now has to look for a new place to play in the crowded city of Mumbai. More than just football, the film is about each of their lives and how each one deals with their own physical and emotional space.