Birmingham Indian Film Festival (BIFF)


Sister to the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, (LIFF) it is regarded as Europe’s largest Indian film festival and will run from Friday 23 June until Sunday 2 July 2017.

“We are delighted to bring Birmingham audiences a carefully curated selection of the very best new Indian and South Asian independent cinema; all films are English subtitled, offering a rare window into over a billion South Asian lives. This year’s selection includes premieres of new comedies, gripping thrillers, shocking horror and insightful true-life documentaries as well as bringing together UK previews of major award-winning films from the world’s greatest film festivals.”

Cary Rajinder Sawhney, LIFF & BIFF Director

Event Programme Listings


BIRMINGHAM Premiere – 118 min
English, Punjabi & Hindi – English Subtitles | India 2017 | Director: Kavi Raz | With: Satinder Sartaaj, Jason Flemyng, Shabana Azmi, Amanda Root, Ameet Chana, David Essex.
Attended by Guest star Satinder Sartaaj

Punjabi music superstar Satinder Sartaaj shines in his film debut as Maharajah Duleep Singh alongside powerful Indian actor Shabana Azmi and Jason Flemyng (Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). The Black Prince is an exquisitely photographed and sumptuously designed period drama with a tiger’s bite as it offers an insight into a controversial chapter of shared British Indian colonial history. After the death of Sikh Maharajah Ranjit Singh, ruler of Punjab, there is a violent war of succession until his youngest son, the five-year-old Duleep Singh is installed as king. The British, however, have other plans, and bundle the boy off to England where he is brought up as a Christian in the lap of luxury under the personal care of Queen Victoria (Amanda Root). In early adulthood Duleep (Satinder Sartaaj) is torn between two cultures and secures begrudging permission from Queen Victoria to meet his real mother (Shabana Azmi). She soon awakens him to his original Sikh faith and culture, which sets him on a dangerous quest to challenge the British Raj and free his people.


Join us to hear one of the finest Indian commercial directors of his generation reflect on his career so far. Known for his sweeping narratives, Ashutosh Gowariker directed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in the Oscar®-nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) and won the Audience Award at Locarno International Film Festival that year. Under his direction, star Shah Rukh Khan delivered one of the finest performances of his career in Gowariker’s Swades (2004), as did Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the Mughal-inspired epic Jodhaa Akbar (2008).


90 min | India 2017
Tamil – English subtitles
Director: Raaghav Ranganathan
With: Raaghav Ranganathan, Karthik Kumar, Lakshmipriyaa Chandramouli, Sanam Shetty.

We present the World Premiere of this laugh-out-loud comedy. Avinash is a young, nutty professor who struggles to be decisive. Grading reports have to be put aside when his hopes for the girl of his dreams collapse and through a series of blunders, he gets on the wrong side of murderous local gangsters. To make matters worse, his eccentric best mate, Athif, is drowned at sea. As Avinash’s future goes into a rollercoaster meltdown, Athif’s ghost returns to help his buddy and things get a whole lot freakier, heading towards a rip-roaring life after death finale. Raaghav Ranganathan, an actor noted for S Shankar’s Enthiran (The Robot) makes his directorial debut.


85 min | Italy 2017
Italian & Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Gigi Roccati
With: Amber Dutta, Rahul Dutta, Nav Ghotra, Renato Carpentieri.
Followed by Q&A with Director Gigi Roccati & Actor Nav Ghotra

Set in the backstreets of Trieste, Italy, this feel-good, song-soaked film
highlights the power of sisterhood. Young Indian immigrant Kamala and her parents have just moved into a tenement with other immigrant families and an old Italian teacher, who accuses them of eating the local cats. As an eviction notice looms, the drastically different women of each family fight together to save their home.
25 JUNE | 14.00 |  mac BIRMINGHAM


84 min | India 2017
Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Soumik Sen
With: Gulshan Grover, Chunky Pandey, Rishi Kapoor, Manisha Koirala, Farah Khan.
Followed by Q&A with Director Soumik Sen

A mad, comic caper where the legendary villain of Bollywood, Gulshan Grover, decides to re-launch himself in the film industry, but this time as a hero! The not so young Grover enlists the help of his dysfunctional sons and begrudging Bollywood stars including Chunky Pandey and Farah Khan to help him achieve his transformation. Guided by his ‘friends’ our hero soon slips into increasingly hilarious and delusional situations as they plan his launch movie. Badman explores the dark yet funny side of Bollywood where almost anything is possible.
Its epic mockumentary style is a first for Indian cinema.


106 min | India 2017
Hindi – English subtitles
Director: Amit Masurkar.
With: Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathy, Anjali Patil.
Followed by Q&A with Director Amit Masurkar

An award-winner at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2017, this delightful black comedy stars one of India’s top young character actors, Rajkummar Rao, as Newton, an everyday clerk who is selected for election duty in the conflict-ridden Indian state of Chhattisgarh. As local police and Maoists harass the locals and the voting process spirals out of control, the morally driven Newton becomes a reluctant hero in his zest to save the day.
26 JUNE | 19.00 |  mac BIRMINGHAM


115 min | India 2016
English, Hindi & Urdu – English subtitles
Director: N Padmakumar
With: Gaurav Sharma, Vauka Sunkavalli, Dhruva Padmakumar.
Followed by Q&A with Director N. Padmakumar

Hari’s father Imran is Muslim, but is untethered by religion, as is his Hindu mother, Parvati. They’re inspirational parents who are struggling to make their first feature film. Imran firmly believes that India is an incredible country, that will always overcome its differences, but as mum and dad run into financial problems, the family has to downsize to rented apartments and come face-to-face with an onslaught of religious prejudices and corruption. As his disillusioned parents discuss whether to stay in the country they love, or leave, Hari hatches his own secret plan to save the day.
27 JUNE | 20.00 |  mac BIRMINGHAM


64 min | India 2016
Hindi & Urdu – English subtitles
Director: Nirmal Chander Dandriyal
With: Raaghav Yatindra Mishra, Saleem Kidwai, Shruti Sadolikar Katkar.

As one of the last great courtesans of India, Begum Akhtar was called Malika-e-Ghazal (Queen of the Ghazal) for her legendary voice. She sang the ghazal, dadra and thumri genres of north Indian Hindustani classical music. This gem of a documentary weaves together rare footage and stories of those who remember her with fondness.


32 min | India 2016
Tamil with English subtitles.
Dir Rajiv Menon. With Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
Overtone traces the origin of South Indian Carnatic classical music with a vivid picture of legendary percussionist Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.
28 JUNE | 19.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM


100 min | UK/India 2016
Bengali – English subtitles
Director: Amit Ranjan Biswas
With: Soumitra Chatterjee, Sandhya Mridul.
Followed by Q&A with Director Amit Ranjan Biswas

Satyajit Ray’s beloved actor Soumitra Chatterjee heads up the cast of this life-affirming tale. On a suicide bridge outside Kolkata, two strangers meet An elderly widower sees a young woman about to jump. Forgetting his own suicide attempt, he stops her from jumping. Taking her into his care, he discovers her story, and what had seemed a dead end to both lives morphs into a crossroads.


110 min | India 2016
Marathi – English subtitles
Director: Vishal Furia
With: Pooja Sawant, Usha Naik, Vikram Gaikwad.

Neha, an eight months pregnant woman and her husband escape goons in the big city seeking shelter in their driver’s house, deep in rural India. But the house and the surrounding eerie, impenetrable maze of sugarcane fields are rustling with secrets of a disturbing past that start appearing rapidly. Neha soon realises she is in a deadly trap, and there is only one way out. This truly scary genre film blends in social concern as it highlights chilling practices still prevalent in India today.
01 JULY | 20.00 |  mac BIRMINGHAM


123 min | India 2017
Kannada – English subtitles
Director: Raj B Shetty
With: Raj B Shetty, Amrutha Naik, Shreya Anchan.

Pawan Kumar, winner of the LIFF 2013 Audience Award for Lucia, returns as a producer with this warm-hearted comic tale of a young bald man Janardhan, trying to find his soulmate, someone who will see the person he really is, beyond the shine on his head. Janardhan is frustrated by the girls that pass him by, but one day in an identity mix-up, his family thinks he is in love with a large girl and much to his horror, bring her into the clan. However, as Janardhan struggles to be free of the girl, he is forced to learn some important lessons on happiness.
1 JULY | 17.45 |  mac BIRMINGHAM


93 min | Pakistan 2017
Urdu – English subtitles
Director: Harune Massey
With: Amna Ilyas, Fawad Khan, Gohar Rasheed.

The Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet in this cleverly spun gangster romance. Amongst the pulsating cityscape of Karachi, Pakistan, a young man brought up to a life of underworld vice and killings attends the wedding of a rival gangster clan. Here he falls for the proud daughter of a rival Don. Their forbidden dangerous liaisons soon escalate to an obsessive love, intensified by the ever-present risk of death. The film is also an intimate portrait of a city where ethnic and class divisions simmer amidst turf wars.


85 min
Malayalam – English subtitles | India 2017 |
Director: Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
With: Rajshri Deshpande, Kannan Nayar, Vishnu Vedh.
Followed by Q&A with Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan

The festival closes with a gripping film noir, white-knuckle ride. Sexy Durga won the prestigious Tiger award for Best Film at this year’s Rotterdam International Film Festival and a host of other accolades worldwide. On a long and lonely midnight highway, North Indian migrant Durga and Kabeer, a Keralite youth, are running away from their past. They hitch a lift, but soon realise that their all-male car hosts are seriously unhinged small-time gangsters, transporting arms. As their journey takes a sharp road bend into a surreal hell, complete with masked and mysterious Durga Puja festivities, the couple must fight to survive the night. One screening only, don’t miss it!
2 JULY | 18.00 | mac BIRMINGHAM


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