Lassi with Lavina’s Guide to Upcoming Events – Escape to Cinema!


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NYIFF - Lipstick under my burkha

Lipstick under my burkha

 NYIFF – Escape to Cinema! Escape to Another World!

Admit it – sometimes you just want to run away from mundane real life!

Well, here’s the perfect antidote, the perfect escape route… you get to follow four feisty Indian women and their secret desires, meet a famous sibling pair of filmmakers, encounter the truth about the controversial politico Arvind Kejriwal, come face to face with Satyajit Ray’s fascinating detective Feluda and check out two of your favorite stars  who are picking  up the megaphone and turning director! You even get to see the life story of a porn star turned Bollywood actor!

If that isn’t enough fantasy and drama for you, there’s still more at the much anticipated New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) which opens on April 30 at the Museum of the American Indian in Manhattan with a big bash – red carpet, film screening, post-screening discussion followed by a gala dinner. Did I forget to mention there are over 44 feature films, docs and shorts from four South Asian countries in English, Hindi and seven regional languages, as well as industry panels – and if you’re not too exhausted by it all, daily networking after-parties with equally film crazy fans.

April 30-May 7, 2017

Here’s an overview of what to expect:

The opening night film is ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ which has the distinction of being banned in India so you will get to see a film that your friends in India can’t lay their eyes on yet. It stars an all-star cast of Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra, and Plabita Borthakur and this will be followed by a discussion with director Alankrit Shrivastava. It’s bound to be a loaded interaction!


Who can be more controversial than Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal? You get to see the whole Delhi tamasha in ‘An Insignificant Man’ which gives you an insider look at this polarizing figure and all the issues which keep you guessing as to who’s on top in the power politics of the capital. Yes, you get to see the real life power players Arvind Kejriwal, Yogendra Yadav, Santosh Koli in this real life tale full of cliffhangers.



Another exciting cinematic treat to look forward to is the directorial debut of not one but two noted actors – Konkona Sharma and Rahul Bose. ‘A Death in the Gunj’ is directed by Konkona Sensharma and stars Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Tillotama Shome, Gulshan Devaiah, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja Mukherjee, Om Puri, & Arya Sharma. It will be a tribute to the wonderful  and quite irreplaceable Om Puri whom we lost this year.


Rahul Bose is the other actor who’s turning director with ‘Poorna’ in which he stars with Aditi Inamdar, and  S. Mariya. It’s always a pleasure to see this very natural actor so it’s a double bonus to see him in a powerful role both in front of and behind the camera.

The Oscar nominated director Deepa Mehta brings in her new work, ‘Anatomy of Violence’ which is in a mélange of English, Hindi and Punjabi and  takes us back to the rape of the young Delhi girl by six men. The film stars  Vansh Bhardwaj, Tia Bhatia, Janki Bisht, Seema Biswas, Mukti Das, Suman Jha, Ramanjit Kaur, Debina Rakshit, Mahesh Saini, Jagjeet Sandhu, Zorawar Shukla,  and Davinder Singh

NYIFF - Anatomy of Violence by Deepa Mehta

Anatomy of Violence by Deepa Mehta

In this screening which is billed the Sibling Sidebar, we also get to see the latest film from Deepa’s brother Dilip Mehta – ‘Mostly Sunny’. It’s the New York premiere of this documentary about the life of former porn star turned Bollywood actress Sunny Leone. What makes her tick and who is she really?

Check out this review of the movie  on Lassi with Lavina



And we musn’t forget Feluda the fictional detective created by iconic filmmaker Satyajit Ray. ‘Feluda 50 years of Ray’s Detective’ is having its world premiere at NYIFF and will be a treat for all those who have never been acquainted with this loved character. It stars Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Sandip Ray, and Soumitra Chatterjee

Two Pakistani films by noted filmmakers are also on the playbill: ‘Jeewan Hathi’ by the team of Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi and starring Naseeruddin Shah, Hina Dilpazir, Samiya Mumtaz, Kiran Tabeer, Saifee Hassan, Nazarul Hassan, Adnan Jaffer and Fawad Khan. It’s a black comedy set in Pakistan. The other must-see movie is ‘Lala Begum’ by Mehreen Jabbar with a cast that includes Marina Khan, Sonia Rehman Qureshi, Syed Mohammad Ahmed, Humayun Saeed, Shehryar Zaidi, Jehan Ara Hai, Abeeha Khan.  This emotional family drama about two estranged sisters will get you thoroughly engaged in their lives.


NYIFF - You are my sunday

You are my Sunday

‘You are My Sunday’ – The closing night film will be showcased on May 7th at Mason Hall in Baruch College with a closing night party with the stars, the awards ceremony, and a gala after-party.

After this exciting cinema week, you can definitely face the Monday blues and a routine work week. Your mind can zip off to all the wonderful movies you saw and the alternate lives you lived.

Viva Cinema!

Here’s a full schedule to help you make your plans for your cinematic escape!

 NYIFF2017 Schedule


About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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