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London Indian Film Festival Award Winners Announced

13 July 2011

Indian independent cinema’s groundbreaking director Ketan Mehta’s “Rang Rasiya” (Colours of Passion)* has won the Audience Award at the 2nd London Indian Film Festival (June 30 – July 12). Audiences voted for their favourite films across 28 screenings during the festival.

Mehta said: “I am thrilled that my passion project has won the coveted audience award at the London Indian Film Festival. The premiere in the historic surroundings of the Victoria & Albert museum was wonderful and the interaction with London audiences was great. This award is the icing on the cake.”

The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s Short Film Award for 2011 goes to a film that the judges felt was a well crafted, beautifully observed and honest ‘day-in-the-life’ portrait of a poor but aspirational young boy – “Amar” by filmmaker Andrew Hinton. Hinton said that he would share his £1,000 prize money with the boy. Jury member Menhaj Huda (director of “Kidulthood” and “Everywhere and Nowhere”) presented the award.

The festival opened with the World Premiere of Abhinay Deo’s “Delhi Belly”, produced by Aamir Khan Productions and UTV Motion Pictures and closed with the UK premiere of Srijit Mukherji’s hit film “Autograph”, both at the Cineworld Haymarket. The closing night screening was preceded by a performance by chart-topping musician Raghu Dixit and followed by a lively Q&A with “Autograph” star Nandana Sen, who also stars in “Rang Rasiya”.

The festival also hosted the UK premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s “That Girl in Yellow Boots” at the BFI and the film has secured UK distribution on the back of the sold out screening. Other highlights were the premieres of “Memories in March” and “Aarekti Premer Golpo” (Just Another Love Story) with director turned actor Rituparno Ghosh participating in Q&As about the films that explore gay and transgender experience.

Festival Director Cary Sawhney said: “It’s been an amazing year for us, in spite of the recession, many people have got behind our festival and really made it work, including our internationally known team. In just two years we are pleased to have brought to London some of India’s top talent, including the World Premiere of Delhi Belly from the Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan stable, which has become a global hit; to sold out Q&As with leading independent directors Anurag Kashyap, Rituparno Ghosh and the legendary Ketan Mehta, at some of London’s top venues. Excited about next year.”

*Ketan Mehta’s film charts the life of the great Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma (played by Randeep Hooda), from his early days under the patronage of a King of Kerala, moving on to British Bombay in the late 1800s, where he makes his fortune. Here the genius gives birth to Indian modern art and helps inspire the independence movement and the dawning of Indian cinema with his depictions, which bring to life the Hindu gods and goddesses. He must first find his muse who comes in the lavish form of Sugandha (Nandana Sen).  Varma’s fascination for his model turns into a torrid, paint-smeared, love affair, which is reflected in his art. The religious power brokers see his increasingly eroticised work as dangerous and Varma is dragged to the British courts to be tried for blasphemy. Mehta’s homage offers not only a spectacular insight into a turning point in Indian history, but also questions the freedom of the artist in contemporary society.