NYIFF 2016 – A Feast of Indian Cinema


Lassi with Lavina Guide to Upcoming Events

NYIFF 2016 – A Feast of Cinema

Bimal Roy's 'Sujata' starring Nutan and Sunil Dutt at NYIFF

Bimal Roy’s ‘Sujata’ starring Nutan and Sunil Dutt at NYIFF

Sujata – Love, Society and Bigotry

‘Sujata’ was one of the most powerful films of the 60’s. Who can forget this emotional tale about love and untouchability as depicted by Nutan and Sunil Dutt in this classic Bimal Roy film? Now is a rare chance to see this black and white gem on the big screen during the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF)

The intriguing  fact about cinema is that talent lives on and sometimes passes down generations. Apart from ‘Sujata’ you will also get to see ‘Anubhav’, directed by Bimal Roy’s son Basu Bhattacharya (starring Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja Samarth) and ‘Raakh Redux’ by Aditya Bhattacharya, Bimal Roy’s grandson, starring Aamir Khan and Supriya Pathak. There will be a post screening Q&A with the late director’s grandson.

A rare treat indeed!

In fact, NYIFF, which is organized by Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) has a treasure chest of past and present cinematic delights from all parts of India, including hot new premieres. The films have been selected by Aroon Shivdasani, founder of IAAC and Aseem Chhabra, Director of the NYIFF.

Let's Dance to the Rhythm

Let’s Dance to the Rhythm

Dancing, Konkoni style

Anyway, who wouldn’t give up real for reel, especially if the opening night film will have you dancing in the aisles? ‘Nachom-ia-Kumpasar’ or ‘Let’s Dance to the Rhythm’ directed by Bardroy Baretto is an offbeat feature in Konkoni (with English subtitles of course) and loads of romance, music and drama. Imagine 20 Konkani songs which bring the 60’s and 70’s alive, a celebration of musicians who never received the recognition they deserved while they lived.

As always, NYIFF has thought-provoking docs and shorts including the world premiere of ‘Kaagaz ki Kashti’ (Paperboat) which showcases the work of Jagjit Singh and is a delight for ghazal lovers. Who can forget the aching beauty of ‘Kaagaz ki Kashti, one of the loveliest ghazals? Another  must-watch from the 70’s is ‘Gaman’ which is directed by Muzaffar Ali and stars Farooq Shaikh, Smita Patel,  Jalal Agha and Nana Patekar.

What’s particularly delightful about the NYIFF is the multidimensional, multicultural India that comes through, with its gaggle of tongues, regions and people. India is all that and more, as these films show with its many regional films in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telegu, Assamese, Haryanavi and Urdu.



Manoj Bajpai in Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh

The closing night film is the stunning “Aligarh” which has touched a nation’s consciousness and raised awareness about LGBT issues. It is directed by the wonderful Hansal Mehta and stars Manoj Bajpai and Rajkumar Rao in powerhouse performances. The added bonus is a post screening Q and A with all three.

It is exciting that so many world-class films can be seen in the span of the festival week – it includes three 2016 National Award winners, ‘A Far Afternoon’, ‘Birds with Large Wings’ and ‘The River of Fables’. Among the shorts, there are two National Award winners, ‘Famous in Ahmedabad’ and ‘Daarvatha’.

NYIFF has many stars on the red carpet, a big gala and several panel discussions. Imagine meeting Salman Rushdie, Mira Nair, Aparna Sen, Kalki Koechlin, Vishal Bharadwaj, Madhur Jaffrey and Sakina Jaffrey – and more.

Predictably, the 16th Annual NYIFF (May 7 -14) is going to play havoc with your sleep cycle and your work life (and maybe even your love life) because you’ll want to sit zombie-like and see all the unexpected  40-plus offerings.  You may as well give up your real life for a week!


Check out the full schedule here



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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