Friday night at SAIFF 2013

A few photos from the stellar line-up at SAIFF 2013 last night.

Maliya Friday night at SAIFF 2013

Maliya Scotch Marmo, screenwriter for Good morning, Karachi


When I arrived at the festival yesterday, there was a spillover crowd in the lobby of the NYIT building looking for tickets to Good morning, Karachi, and I think many went home with no joy, because the theater was full to capacity.

That says a lot about the interest for this film, when so many people would come out and get drenched on a cold, rainy autumn night (and a Friday, no less) in an attempt to see this film.  And they were on to something – I really liked it (more later).

NayyareenandHarune Friday night at SAIFF 2013

Nayyareen Chhapra, production designer, and Harune Massey, first assistant director, of Good morning, Karachi

After seeing Good morning, Karachi, I intended to stay only to watch the short by Rodd Rathjen, Tau Seru, set in Ladakh, and purposely planned to exit before Richie Mehta’s Siddharth started, because, frankly, the story of two parents searching for their lost son between Delhi, Ludhiana and Mumbai just seemed like it was going to be a really tough watch, but I got hooked within the first three minutes and stayed.  And I am so glad I did.

RichieMehta Friday night at SAIFF 2013

Richie Mehta, writer and director of Siddharth

There are still some really promising films to be seen today and tomorrow, December 8th, is the closing night of the festival with The Good Road, India’s foreign language entry to the Academy Awards.

Director Q on what came after SAIFF 2010

Q2 Director Q on what came after SAIFF 2010

I had a chance to chat briefly with director Q, whose film eye-opening film Gandu was screened at SAIFF 2010.  He’s in NYC and attending this year’s SAIFF, to which he’s brought his film Tasher Desh.

What can we expect from you this time around at SAIFF 2013?

Well, a surprise…

How has it been with Gandu since you were here with it at SAIFF three years ago?  I see it’s available for sale on Amazon…

It was great because this (SAIFF 2010) started it off and the film went to Berlin after this, which is kind of rare, in terms of being picked up for Berlin, they usually need world premieres.
After that Gandu has been to over 70 festivals so we’ve done quite a bit of work since then and two more films have happened.  So it’s been quite busy.

And it screened in India, which really surprised me…

No, it didn’t.

Wasn’t it shown at one of the festivals?

No, no, it’s still banned.  Only one time, the Bombay festival tried to screen the film, the cops came and shut it down.  Yeah, it’s still underground.

Note:  Q’s Tasher Desh screens tonight at SAIFF 2013 and the director Q will be present for a Q&A afterward.

Vijay Varma talking about Monsoon Shootout

NawazVijayAmit2 1024x893 Vijay Varma talking about Monsoon Shootout

Actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Varma with director Amit Kumar discussing their work on Monsoon Shootout, the opening night film of SAIFF 2013

While in New York to attend the screening of Monsoon Shootout at SAIFF 2013, here’s what Vijay Varma had to say about working on the film- where he plays a young and idealistic police officer new to the job – and what he has coming up next.

What’s one memory from making Monsoon Shootout that comes to mind when you think back on it?

It was a test of memory.

In what way?

There are multiple scenarios that I am witnessing in the film and in each scenario different things happen and there’s slight differences in the way that I’m behaving and I have to remember on which day I’m shooting what and what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future.

It was your first time working with Amit Kumar, what was he like as a director?

I think I’ve found a term for him.  We’ve all heard of method actors, but he’s a method director.

How so?

If there’s a scene in which I’m supposed to be standing and looking at someone and it’s a very close up shot, it’s right there, but he’ll still want my ID to be in my pocket, my gun to be in my back, he would want that on me, to be in  that moment, fully ready.

Monsoon resized 3 Vijay Varma talking about Monsoon Shootout

What have you been doing since Monsoon Shootout and going to Cannes?

I’ve been shooting for a film in India.  It’s a comedy, more of a Bollywood kind of musical.  It’s not been released yet, I think it’s releasing in February.

And what’s the name of it?

It’s called Gang of Ghosts.

And who else is in the film?

There are many, many good actors – there’s Anupam Kher, Saurabh Shukla, Mahie Gill, Sharman Joshi.

How long are you in New York?

I’m here ‘til the 9th, to see some friends.  It’s my first time here, that’s why I want to stay longer.

Photos from the red carpet – SAIFF 2013

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Amit Kumar


The 10th South Asian International Film Festival opened tonight with a screening of Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout.  The director, accompanied by his two leading men (Vijay Varma and Nawazuddin Siddiqui) chatted amiably and enthusiastically prior to screening and at a Q & A after.

Also spotted on the red carpet, Prashant Bhargava, director of the wonderful Patang (in which Nawazuddin Siddiqui starred), and the very mobile Samrat Chakrabarti, who was just over in Kolkata for the release of Sada Kalo Abcha (in which he played the lead).

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(L-R) Prashant Bhargava, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Samrat Chakrabarti


As you would imagine – given the rather jet-propelled apogee Siddiqui’s career has been enjoying recently – the UP native was much in demand tonight, by press and public alike.

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui


One other director I spotted mixing and mingling was Q, he of Gandu fame from SAIFF 2010.

When asked what we could look forward to this year with his Tasher Desh (screening at SAIFF this week), Q replied “A surprise.”  Well, if you want to find out more, come see the film on Thursday, December 5th at 10pm.

Q2 Photos from the red carpet   SAIFF 2013

Q (the man formerly known as Kaushik Mukherjee)


SAIFF 2013 runs through to Sunday, December 8th.  More information about the festival can be found here.

SAIFF 2013 Opens Tonight

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As the South Asian International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the event opens tonight with Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout and will have not just the director but also the lead actors Vijay Verma and is-there-any-recent-or-upcoming-film-this-guy-is-not-appearing-in Nawazuddin Siddiqui present for a post-screening Q&A.  Monsoon Shootout was well received when it premiered at Cannes in May.

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Monsoon Shootout directed by Amit Kumar

SAIFF 2013 closes with The Good Road, India’s official entry to the Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards.

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Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor

Other films being screened include Ankhon Dekhi which was written and directed by Rajat Kapoor (he acts in it as well, and is due to appear for the Q&A afterward), and the always attention-commanding director/rapper/provacateur Q returns to the festival where he opened a lot of eyes three years ago with Gandu.  This time around he brings with him his Tasher Desh, which – to judge by the trailer – certainly looks visually compelling.

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Tasher Desh directed by Q


The festival runs from December 3rd to the 8th in New York City.  More details are here.


Irish Film New York: Series Starts Tomorrow

IFNY bigger Irish Film New York: Series Starts Tomorrow

Tomorrow evening the IFNY weekend series of new Irish films kicks off with a reception at NYU Glucksman Ireland House at 5:30pm, followed by Steph Green’s Run and Jump – with SNL’s Will Forte in a dramatic role – over at the Cantor Film Center, where all the screenings will take place, through Sunday, October 6th.

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The weekend has an interesting mix of a little bit of everything, including the New York premiere of the documentary When Ali Came to Ireland on Sunday evening.  Other films include Made in Belfast, Silence, King of the Travellers and The Hardy Bucks Movie.  The directors of many of the films will be present for post-screening discussions.

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The festival runs from October 4th through the 6th.  All details about IFNY can be found here.