Anurag Kashyap’s “Dobaaraa” has been set as the opening night film of the London Indian Film Festival. Despite its name, the festival will play at venues across the U.K., and will present 24 features and 18 shorts.
“Dobaaraa” is a supernatural thriller that LIFF describes as involving a young woman trapped between two lives in different decades. Kashyap has previously told Variety that “Dobaaraa” is a Hindi-language adaptation of Oriol Paulo’s 2018 Spanish-language film “Mirage.” It stars Taapsee Pannu, an actor known for her eclectic choice of projects.
In “Mirage,” a 12-year-old boy witnesses a death during a thunderstorm and is killed himself. Twenty-five years later the woman who moves into the same apartment is connected to the boy through a television set during a similar storm and has the opportunity to save his life.
“Dobaaraa” was produced by Shobha Kapoor and Ektaa R Kapoor, through Cult Movies, a new unit under Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms, and Sunir Kheterpal and Gaurav Bose of Athena.
The opening night screening and world premiere on June 23 will be held at the BFI Southbank and be followed by a Q&A by Kashyap. The festival will run to July 3, with presentations in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. BFI Player streaming platform will host a selection of short films.
Canadian Indian documentary “Superfan: The Nav Bhatia Story,” an uplifting tale on basketball team the Toronto Raptors greatest fan, closes the festival. In between, selected films are arranged across multiple thematic strands: Great British Asians, Young Rebels, Save The Planet, Extra-Ordinary Lives and Too Desi Too Queer.
“ ‘Dobaaraa is our first film under Cult Movies, our new film-division which is set to tell compelling, edgy & genre-bending stories. I feel ecstatic for ‘Dobaaraa’ and its presence amidst various international celebrated films from around the globe and I can’t wait to showcase the film to Indian audiences on 1st July, 2022.”
The festival is also a showcase for numerous female-led stories. It will host the European premiere of Aparna Sen’s “The Rapist,” starring Konkana Sen Sharma and Arjun Rampal, which debuted at Busan last year. Rebana Liz John’s documentary “Ladies Only” explores feminist themes through observing the female only compartments of Mumbai’s hectic trains.
LIFF will host the U.K. premiere of Pan Nalin’s homage to celluloid “Chello Show,” and Anik Dutta’s “Aparajito,” a tribute to legendary director Satyajit Ray’s journey in making cult classic “Pather Panchali.”
The line-up includes “Once Upon A Time in Calcutta,” an intimate look at modern day Calcutta, directed by Aditya Vikram Sengupta; and “No Land’s Man,” directed by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and with music by AR Rahman.
The festival’s ‘Save the Planet’ strand explores ecological and climate themes with titles including “The Road To Kuthriyar,” “No Ground Beneath My Feet” and “Hatibondhu.” Its ‘Extraordinary Lives’ strand includes “Dug Dug” and “Paka: The River of Blood.” The ‘Young Rebels’ strand includes “Girls for Future,” and “The Very Fishy Trip.”
Cultures collide in selections from the diaspora including: British Indian comedy “Little English”; the Pakistani-American film “Americanish.”
In addition to an archive section, the short films categories include hit LGBTQIA+ program ‘Too Desi Too Queer,’ the films of Mumbai pioneer filmmaker Riyad Vinci Wadia, new British Asian emerging filmmakers, and shorts competing in the festival’s annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Competition.