London film fest to show six Indian films

Veteran Bollywood director Shyam Benegal's maiden comedy Welcome to Sajjanpur and critically acclaimed actress Nandita Das' directorial debut Firaaq are among six Indian films to be shown at 52nd London Film Festival, organisers said on Friday.

The festival, organised by the British Film Institute (BIF), will screen over 180 feature films from more than 40 countries from 15 to 30 October.

Starring Shreyas Talpade and Amrita Rao, Welcome to Sajjanpur is the story of an educated village youth who instead of fulfilling his ambition to become a novelist starts writing letters to earn a living.

With Naseeruddin Shah and Deepti Naval in the lead roles, Firaaq is set against a backdrop of 2002 communal riots in Gujarat and its aftermath which alters the lives of its characters. This film has also been nominated for the FIPRESCI Critics Award.

The other Indian films are Satosh Sivan directed Tahaan, Ketan Mehta's Colours of Passion (in the pic), Shashank Ghosh's Quick Gun Murugan and Atul Sabharwal's short film Midnight Lost and Found.

The festival will also screen Mehreen Jabbar's Ramchand Pakistani, a film which depicts a Pakistani Hindu father and son who are arrested as they accidentally cross the border into India.

The Bangladesh entry in the festival is The Last Thakur, directed by Sadik Ahmed. The BFI Director Amanda Nevill said, "Thousands of Londoners and visitors to the city will flock cinemas for premieres and gala screenings of films from around the world - fiction, documentary, shorts, artists' work in moving image and archive restorations.

"The Festival is also a key calendar date for the world film industry, a must-attend event for hundreds of international filmmakers who come to meet their audiences, share inspirations, seek opportunities or develop their skills."

Sandra Hebron, artistic director of the festival, said, "People will enjoy the new work by directors of international reputation, such as Steven Soderbergh, Michael Winterbottom, Haile Gerima, Arnaud Desplechin, Takeshi Kitano and Shyam Benegal".

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