Spotlight on Gurinder Chadha at IAAC’s New York Indian Film Festival

Festival will be held in New York from May 5-10.

By The American Bazaar Staff

NEW YORK: The 14th annual New York Indian Film Festival organized by The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) will be held from May 5 – May 10, and will feature a “spotlight” focus on British-Indian film maker Gurinder Chadha (Bend it Like Beckham).

Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Chadha’s breakthrough film, Bhaji on the Beach, which is about “a group of women of Indian descent take a trip together from their home in Birmingham, England to the beach resort of Blackpool.” The film did not perform well at the box office, but was critically praised, nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Award (BAFTA), and launched Chadha’s career

A documentary retrospective focused on Chadha will also be screened, and will consist of the following films: Acting Our Age (1992), I’m British But… (1989), A Nice Arrangement (1990), and What do You Call an Indian Woman Who is Funny? (1994). Each film varies from 11-30 minutes in length, and highlights the esteemed director’s skills in short form filmmaking.

“I have been a fan of Gurinder Chadha, [ever] since I saw her “Bhaji on the Beach” 20 years ago in New York City,” said festival director Aseem Chhabra, in a statement. “In all of [her] works and her subsequent films, including the worldwide hit, Bend it Like Beckham, Gurinder explores the Asian Indian immigrant experiences in Britain, laced with humor, pathos and a lot of introspection. Her works are iconic representation that speak about immigration, living in the Diaspora, and the meaning of loss.”

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Chadha moved to Southall, West London when she was two years old. She holds degrees from the University of Easy Anglia and the London College of Printing. She was in journalism for several years, including the BBC, and it was during this time that she made her famous documentary short films. In addition to Bend it Like Beckham, she directed the Aishwarya Rai-starrers The Mistress of Spices and Bride and Prejudice.

The film festival will also host a screening of One Minute Cell Phone Films, sponsored by New York University’s Tisch Cinema Studies Program.  The festival will take place at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts and the Village East Cinemas in New York City. The festival is the most famous one in the US dedicated to Indian film and filmmakers, and has previously served as a platform for launching films like Monsoon Wedding and Slumdog Millionaire.

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