(MENAFN - Arab Times)
Ayushmann Khurranastars as Police Officer in Anubhav Sinha's 'Article 15'
Golding plunges into modern Vietnam in 'Monsoon'
LOS ANGELES, July 1, (RTRS):
'Article 15' has scooped the audience award at the London Indian Film Festival.
Anubhav Sinha's movie stars Ayushmann Khurrana and also opened the tenth
edition of LIFF, which is Europe's largest South Asian film festival.
Khurrana stars as a police officer from a
privileged background in 'Article 15', which Zee Studios International is
distributing. He is posted to rural north India and tasked with investigating
the disappearance of three girls. The movie takes its name from the part of the
Indian constitution prohibiting discrimination and draws inspiration from
several real-life assault and murder cases that highlighted social injustice.
'I am so happy that the film actually
connected with Indians abroad and with non-Indians alike, who are not facing
this version of inequality on a daily basis,' Sinha said.
LIFF ran across five cities in the UK and, in
addition to the screenings, the latest edition saw stars talking about the
movies and their lives and the industry. Diversity and equality were in the
spotlight. 'Blinded by the Light' filmmaker Gurinder Chadha was given an Icon
award and said that 'working as a British Asian woman in the entertainment
industry has many struggles, so it feels good to be recognized.'
Mental health was another focus at the
festival, which is supported by the Bagri Foundation and the British Film
Institute. Anurag Kashyap, who won an Icon award, was interviewed by 'Girl With
a Pearl Earring' director Peter Webber and talked about dealing with
depression. Radhika Apte took home an outstanding achievement accolade, and
spoke about her battle with anxiety.
'On our tenth Birthday year I'm
delighted that we have not only expanded to five cities with 100 screenings,
but also showcased our strongest film selection ever, helmed by the world
premiere of politically daring film 'Article 15',' said LIFF director Cary
He added: 'Continuing to push the boundaries
of diversity, I'm very pleased that our women protagonist led and LGBTQ+ themed
films have seen audiences flocking to them, redefining images of Indian and
South Asian culture in the media.'
Other LIFF winners included Buddhadeb Dasgupta
who scooped an Icon award, Richie Mehta who landed an outstanding achievement
accolade, and Harshvardhan Kapoor who won the rising star honor.
Director Hong Khaou follows
his debut feature, the Sundance critical hit 'Lilting', with 'Monsoon', which
premiered Saturday in competition at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. The film stars
'Crazy Rich Asians' lead Henry Golding and Parker Sawyers. Variety spoke to
Khaou about the film.
'Monsoon' follows a
Vietnamese-born British guy Kit, played by Golding, as he travels with the
ashes of his parents to Vietnam, which they left when he was a child in the
turbulent aftermath of the Vietnam War. In Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling
commercial metropolis, he meets American entrepreneur Lewis, played by Sawyers,
and the two of them tentatively develop a relationship.
Kit spends time exploring the
city, with the assistance of his cousin, Lee, whose parents decided to stay in Vietnam,
and then travels to Hanoi, where he hangs out with Linh (Molly Harris), a
Vietnamese student who embodies the ambitious spirit of the young generation,
despite feeling constrained by her family's traditional values.
The film began to take shape when
'Lilting' played in Sundance, and the prestigious Sundance Screenwriter's Lab
suggested Khaou pitch them an idea for his next project. In the four years that
followed, with the support of the BFI and BBC Films, the pic underwent 'various
incarnations,' Khaou says.
example, the project started out as a two hander between Kit and the character
who ended up as Lewis, an African American, in the finished film, but started
out as Hank, a Caucasian American. 'Along the way, through the various notes
that came from the execs and financiers, it was felt that the Hank character's
voice – the dominant white American, in terms of the subtext of the war – had
been heard before,' Khaou says.
There are slight similarities
between Khaou's experience and Kit's – like Kit's family, Khaou's parents fled
South-East Asia when he was young – in their case from Cambodia – and he too
grew up in Britain, but he wanted to distance himself a little from the film.
'I didn't want to make it so much about me, although I guess it is inevitable
it always comes out,' he says. 'I wanted to hide behind this Vietnamese
character, so to speak, and talk about these feeling and issues I've always had
about having to flee a war-torn country… and the struggle for a sense of
cultural identity,' Khaou says.