Prakash Jha, Nandita Das to attend DC South Asian Film Festival

Festival to run from September 12-14.

By The American Bazaar Staff

WASHINGTON, DC: Renowned filmmaker Prakash Jha and accomplished actor, director and social activist Nandita Das will be among headliners at the third Washington, DC, South Asian Film Festival, which will be held in Gaithersburg, MD, just outside of the US capital, from September 12 to 14.

Prakash Jha
Prakash Jha

The festival will start on September 12 with a red carpet gala reception, followed by the opening ceremony, which be attended by acclaimed artists from India, according to the organizers.

“The theme of DCSAFF 2014 is ‘Experience different culture through films,’” the festival Executive Director Manoj Singh said in an interview to The American Bazaar. He said the festival will also feature, besides Hindi movies, regional films from India and films from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A prominent feature of the festival, hosted by Ceasar Productions, will be a retrospective of Jha, who is known for socio-political films such as Gangajaal and multi-starrers Rajneeti and Satyagraha.

The veteran director-actor-writer’s two critically acclaimed works, the1985 film Damul and 1997 movie Mrityudund, will be among the main attractions this year.

Damul, set in the Bihar of mid-1980s, depicts bonded labor, exodus of laborers and caste politics. It won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in 1984.

Mrityudund, which deals with social and gender politics in Bihar, featured three celebrated actors, Madhuri Dixit, Shabana Azmi and Om Puri.

“We are very excited that Jha will attend this year’s film festival,” said Singh.

Manoj and Geeta Anand Singh
Manoj and Geeta Anand Singh

Das is known for her performances in classics such as Fire (1996), Earth (1998), Bawandar (2000) and Before the Rains (2007).

Pakistani director Iram Parveen Bilal, whose film Josh will be screened, is another filmmaker from the subcontinent who is scheduled to attend the festival. Singh said names of more directors and actors that will be attending the festival will be announced soon.

In all, more than 15 features films and short films will be screened during the three-day festival.

The DCSAFF will also pay tribute to the late actor Farooq Sheikh by screening his last film Club 60. Sheikh, who died last December, attended the festival in 2013.

Singh, who runs Ceasar Productions, along with his wife, Geeta Anand Singh, said the first and second editions of the festival each attracted more than 3,000 film buffs.

“We received great reviews from our visiting artists and attendees, quotes from them are on our website,” he said. “For the first time, the films will be screened at multiplex theaters.”

Singh said by moving the venue to AMC Loews Rio Cinemas, festival goers can have a true movie experience this year.

The inaugural festival was held at the universities at Shady Grove campus, while the second one was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD.

Film personalities who attended the festival in the first two years include, besides Sheikh, Shyam Benegal, Deepti Naval, Manisha Koirala, Goutam Ghose, Sarita Joshi, Sanjay Suri, Pooja Batra, Avinash Singh, Jaideep Verma and Meher Jaffri.


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