Indian films in spotlight at SAIF Festival


MUMBAI: The South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) 2007, held from 3-9 October in New York City SAIFF will host over 50 of the latest short, documentary and feature films from the South Asian subcontinent.

The spotlight at the event will be on Loins of Punjab Presents, Dosar, Chaurahen, Rivaaz, Dheevari and Dharm.

The week long film festival is SAIFF’s aim to present the best emerging talent in South Asian cinema from across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This year’s festival will include 17 world premieres and 13 North American premieres.

SAIFF president Shilen Amin stated, “Every year the festival takes shape through various themes, context, and the final work submitted by our filmmakers, and the number of submissions that only continue to grow each year. These filmmakers are going through essential transformations and maturing into unique voices, this process can ultimately make them into some the biggest names we have yet to see within our beloved South Asian film industry and is one of the reasons why we choose Manish Acharya and his new film as the official opening night film for this year.”

SAIFF’s fourth-annual event will kick-off Wednesday, 3 October with the international premiere of Manish Acharya’s Loins of Punjab Presents at the Loews Theater at Lincoln Square.

SAIFF festival director Manjri Srivastava added, “We are excited to have Loins of Punjab Presents as our opening night film with a hilarious cast of characters it is a great way to kick off the festival. I guarantee everyone in the audience will find someone to relate to and they will have a smile on their face long after the curtain closes.”

Acclaimed selections include: Dosar (The Companion) – by director Rituparno Ghosh about a couple whose lives are changed by a tragic car accident, Chaurahen (Crossroads) – which brings together similar disconnected people in search of something to overcome the mundane of reality, Rivaaz (Tradition)  – the first Indian film on prostitution as a family profession, and Dheevari (Fisherman’s Daughter) – a compelling film of the harsh realities of life in a fishing village in Sri Lanka.

Featured documentaries this year include: Pakistan Zindabad – which seeks to come to grips with the puzzling Muslim nation-state on the 60th anniversary of its’ creation, How to Save the World – which explores the effect of globalization on marginal Indian farmers and their revival of arcane forms of agriculture to save their lands, Chukker – Around Polo – which describes the fascinating and ancient sport of Polo in India, and The Sky Below which explores the strained relations and the unresolved crisis in Kashmir.

The festival will close on 9 October with the North American premiere of Bhavna Talwar’s critically acclaimed film, Dharm. The film is about a religious and devout Hindu Priest who discovers that the child he has adopted for four years is Muslim.

Chairman of SAIFF Asifa Tirmizi said, “After her reception at Cannes and the prestigious nomination at the Venice Film Festival this year we are honored to present her film. It is a thought provoking film and the perfect way to end our exciting week of the 2007 festival.”