BFI Player is currently hosting a selection of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) films, Q&As and Screentalks, making this popular London-based celebration of Indian cinema available UK-wide.
As the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) enjoyed its Closing Night Gala early this week with the world premiere of Toba Tek Singh (Ketan Mehta, 2016) at BFI Southbank, the BFI announced that a selection of the festival’s films, Q&As and Screentalks would be available on its BFI Player service.
Titles available immediately on the on demand service include I Am Not He… She (2014), Jalal’s Story (2015) and Fireflies In The Abyss (2016), with further films to follow. The LIFF Collection will also include Q&A sessions and Screentalks from this and previous years’ festivals, with this brand new content sitting alongside LIFF favourites from previous years that are already on the BFI Player, namely The Lunchbox and Court, with all content accessible via http://player.bfi.org.uk/collections/london-indian-film-festival/.
Naanu Avanalla Avalu (I Am Not He…She)Having received its European premiere at this year’s LIFF, director BS Lingadevaru’s empowering tale, inspired by a true story, follows Madesha, a fearless young boy from rural Karnataka who cherishes his female persona and her collection of gorgeous saris. Thrown out by his father, Madesha embarks on a journey that will change his life forever as he decides to become a woman, supported by the local queens and the underground transgender community with whom he bonds in big city Bangalore.
Jalala Golpo (Jalal’s Story)
This entrancing film follows three chapters in the life of an infant, a child and teen named Jalal. Abandoned as a baby in the river, he is rescued and raised by Miraj. After a series of misfortunes, the villagers consider the baby to be a cursed and Miraj abandons him to the river once more. Aged nine, Jalal is later looked after by Karim and his wife until he is blamed for Karim’s infertility and once again abandoned to the river. Finally, aged 19, Jalal is in the thrall of a local gang leader and aspiring politician, Sajib as director Abu Shahed Emon’s tale examines social issues and rural corruption in Bangladesh.
Fireflies In The AbyssThis absorbing documentary follows Suraj a 11-year-old boy who works in the ‘rat-hole’ mines in the Jaintia Hills of North East India. There are narrow strips of coal requiring children to descend steep, sheer chutes and burrow into narrow horizontal tunnels to scratch coal out of hard rock, armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a head torch. In these hostile pits, every day is a game of death. With Suraj’s story as the primary narrative, the life in the mining camp and the intertwining fates of the miners are explored. Most of the events characterise the choices made under the difficult circumstances that they experience, see around them and have to continually resolve – both internally and externally. Contrasting the various responses elicits drama, irony and humour, while gradually building up a composite picture of lives under unusual and extraordinary circumstances.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, Director of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival said it mirrored the ethos behind the BFI Player: “We are delighted to showcase a diversity of Indian sub-continental film to add to the best of world cinema already available on BFI Player. Our aims are to entertain, challenge and offer our audiences insights into South Asia today in its myriad shades and colours”.
Edward Humphrey, BFI Director of Digital said: “After six years working with the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival to bring the finest new Indian cinema to audiences at BFI Southbank, we’re very pleased to be expanding our partnership to include BFI Player, making the best of the festival available to audiences across the UK.”