NYIFF – Star Encounters & a Week of Cinema

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Opening Night at the New York Indian Film festival 2017

Rahul Bose and Aahana Kumra

Rahul Bose and Aahana Kumra

Film fans came out in full force for the opening night of the New York Indian Film Festival, the oldest and most reputed South Asian cinema events. They were drawn by the tantalizing prospect of being the first (and only) people to see ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. This was the New York premiere of a controversial film which has been banned in India, and hence was doubly enticing.

Alankrita Shrivastava, the outspoken director of the film was there, along with one of the actors of the movie, Aahana Kumra. The film also stars Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah and Plabita Borthakur as four women who each have secret desires and dreams which are stymied in a patriarchal culture. (Watch out soon for my review on Lassi with Lavina.)

The evening had a lot of filmmakers on the red carpet including Rahul Bose, everyone’s most admired actor – now in a new role, as director of the new film ‘Poorna’, a real-life saga of a young Adivasi girl who climbs Mt. Everest.

Salman Rushdie with Kiran Desai at NYIFF

Salman Rushdie with Kiran Desai at NYIFF

The other celebrity names at the premiere and gala dinner included Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, writers Salman Rushdie and Kiran Desai, actor and cooking icon Madhur Jaffrey, tabla player Suphala, directors Onir, Umesh Kulkarni, Sudhish Kamat and Pakistani filmmaker Meenu Gaur, among many others. There were several young filmmakers and local actors and I hope to write about their work in upcoming posts.

Aseem Chhabra interviews Aahana Kumra and Alankrita Shrivastava

Aseem Chhabra, director of the festival,  interviews Aahana Kumra and Alankrita Shrivastava

Through the  festival I managed to see some strong films including Konkona Sen Sharma’s ‘A Death in the Gunj’ and Rahul Bose’s inspirational film ‘Poorna.’ Watch out for my reviews soon.

As the NYIFF with incredible features, docs and shorts winds down, you can still make it to the delightful, feel good closing film ‘You are My Sunday’ which is tomorrow at Mason Hall, Baruch College, followed by the awards ceremony, and gala dinner.  More details at www.iaac.us

IAAC director Aroon Shivdasani with Aahana Kumra at NYIFF

IAAC director Aroon Shivdasani with Aahana Kumra

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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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