A Film Festival for Every Fancy

Kal Penn in The Namesake.

Last week I attended the press conference for the upcoming Sixth Annual Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, and judging by the filmmakers who spoke, this festival promises to be one good show, so to speak. If you don’t already know that Mira Nair’s much-awaited film The Namesake is premiering at the festival’s first night, where have you been? Seriously, opening night is going to be quite the event—there will be the requisite red carpet, of course, followed by speeches from a line-up of South Asian gliteratti: Aroon Shivdasani (IAAC executive director), Salman Rushdie and Mira Nair herself. Word on the street is that Padma Lakshmi and Kal Penn will be there, too. And here’s what is making my mouth water: After the show, Jhumpa Lahiri herself will be part of a discussion with Mira Nair (led by Premiere magazine editor-in-chief Peter Herbst). Don’t have your tickets yet? What are you waiting for? (Sadly, the gala dinner after the screening and discussion is already sold out.)

It’s obvious that The Namesake is getting a lot of press, and for good reason—it seems to be the holy trinity of South Asian who’s who (Nair, Penn, Lahiri). But that’s not the only reason you should check out the festival (which runs November 1–5 in New York City). There are some other great gems that are going to be showcased. Besides the popular favorites such Aishwarya’s Umrao Jaan and Rehana Mirza’s Hiding Divya, here are my picks for must-see movies:

Kabaddi Cops

Kabaddi Cops: Um, can anyone say hilarious? This short film is about Toronto cops who decide to take up the ancient sport of kabaddi so they can bond with the South Asian community. I am not going to miss this one.

My Bollywood Bride: I want to see this if only because it stars “Smith Jerrod” from Sex and the City! But seriously, this film is about an American guy who meets an Indian woman on vacation. Turns out she’s—wait for it—a Bollywood star! Hilarity, I’m sure, ensues.

Sita Sings the Blues: Nina Paley’s interpretation of the Ramayana set to American jazz classics isn’t nearly done, but you can catch two episodes from the animated feature at the festival.

American Blend: If Anupam Kher isn’t enough reason to see this film, check it out for Sunkrish Bala, a rising Indian American actor whom will profile next month.

Riding Solo to the Top of the World

Riding Solo to the Top of the World: This flick won the best documentary award at the Mumbai International Film Festival. It’s about a guy who rides his motorcycle all the way to the remote Changthang Plateau, in Ladakh, bordering China. Bonus: Our esteemed photo editor, Vikram Tank, knows the filmmaker.

Of course, this is just a sampling. There are tons of other films that deserve our attention, so check out the complete schedule online, and get your tickets at MeraTicket.com.

October 30, 2006
Comments are closed.
  1. October 31, 2006, 12:37 am Deepa

    Oh, sounds like fun! I wish I could go….

    Plus, how funny is “meraticket.com” ?

  2. October 31, 2006, 6:01 am Ismat

    I wish you could join me, too, Depo! I get to see The Namesake on Wednesday and am so excited.

  3. November 3, 2006, 12:06 am Hilal

    kal penn is so dreamy. although i hear he’s shorter in real life than one might expect 😉