London Indian Film Fest Expands to Five Cities, Introduces Gaming and XR

This year, the UK and Europe’s largest platform of Indian and South Asian cinema is expanding across the UK. The London Indian Film Festival will take place from 25th October to 4th November simultaneously in five cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds.

The festival in London is supported by the Bagri Foundation, and is launching with the European Premiere of Berlin, likely the most cleverly-constructed Indian film of 2023. From writer and director Atul Sabharwal, this compelling spy thriller stars Aparshakti Khurana (Jubilee) as a young sign language teacher lured into the dark world of espionage, as he is coerced by undercover security forces to interrogate a young deaf man, powerfully played by Ishwak Singh, (Rocket Boys) who has been accused of spying. Veteran actor Kabir Bedi gives a commanding cameo performance.

Thanks to support from the BFI Audience Projects Fund, awarding National Lottery funding, this year LIFF is entering the world of online gaming and XR developed by South Asian creatives in a bid to reach new audiences. Opening in Manchester, in collaboration with Tulsea and FORMAT, the city’s premier gaming and nightlife festival, this will be the UK’s first showcase of new South Asian computer games. The games are set to be presented on 26th October. Showcased games include: Zatun Games’ VR thrillers Sniper Rust and Down & Out, and popular titles including Raji: An Ancient Epic, Mumbai Gullies, Kurukshetra: Ascension, and Fishbowl. In Birmingham, audiences will also be immersing themselves in the worlds of VR, XR and gaming, with panel discussions and a chance to explore Birmingham-made British Asian content.

The festival will open in Birmingham with the Midlands premiere of Berlin. The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford will host the UK premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s thriller Kennedy, which opened in Cannes earlier this year. It tells the grisly tale of an ex-cop (Rahul Bhat) who is kept on the police payroll as a special services hitman – but as non-criminals become his victims, the police soon realise they have a homicidal maniac on their hands. Sunny Leone also gives a firecracker cameo as a gangster’s moll.

To make cinema more accessible to audiences who are deaf and hearing-impaired, the festival will be offering an increased number of screenings with BSL-interpreted Q&As.