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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

UK Asian Film Festival 2019: Bollywood Gold Sparkles at the Closing Night Gala

UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) 2019 draws to a spectacular conclusion at the Closing Night Gala at the prestigious BAFTA Picadilly on 7th April 2019.

Celebrating 21 years, the festival was inspired by the theme of ‘Revolution’ and had over 30 female-directed films this year.

This concept is believed to be universal and can be interpreted in various ways, many of which were depicted through the films which were screened at UKAFF.

Amandeep Dhillon reflects on her first time coordinating the festival this year:

“I feel that we’ve shown various different aspects/variations of revolution throughout the festival.

I’d like to thank Samir, Pushpinder and Minu Bakshi (the chairperson of UKAFF, who is here from India) for giving me this wonderful opportunity to be a part of such a prestigious film festival.

I’d also like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers, the student jury who judged the films for our young-curator’s lab and short-films competition.

It is amazing to have had a number of youth representations throughout the festival and their involvement to curate films.

Also, a big thank you to Dr Ashwin Devasundaram and Saz Vora who coordinated the workshops for the short-film competition and the youth curator’s lab.

It’s been such a pleasure to work with the team and to be the festival coordinator. Whilst it’s sad that it has come to an end, I’m looking forward to yet another spectacular year!”

Celebrity Attendees

This star-studded event commenced with a special on-stage conversation with Ramesh Sippy and Radhika Apte, curated by BBC’s Haroon Rashid.

The insightful chats were followed by an award ceremony which commemorated some of the phenomenal talents at the festival.

These awards were hosted by Hollyoaks actor Rishi Nair and Actress/Model Nisha Aaliya.

An array of talented artists graced their presence on the red carpet for the splendorous evening.

Some of the names consist of:

  • Hindi cinema veteran actress, Shabana Azmi.
  • Veteran Indian director, Ramesh Sippy.
  • International icon and Bollywood actress, Radhika Apte.
  • Actor, Antonio Aakeel.
  • Indian actress/producer, Kiran Juneja.
  • Radio broadcaster and presenter, Suzi Mann.
  • Independent filmmaker, Rahat Kazmi (at team).
  • Pakistani actress, Hajra Yamin (of Pinky Memsaab fame).
  • British-Asian Comedian, Paul Chowdhury.

Legendary actress Shabana Azmi, has been a prominent and active supporter of the festival expresses her view on the type of films being made today, she said:

“I think there’s much to celebrate because ultimately we are becoming aware that content is king.

So the focus is on the content and to writers which is the way it should be.”

She also makes a statement on the rise in the female-centric cinema:

“My daughter Zoya Akhtar has done a film called Gully Boy and there’s an extremely positive reaction without the prefix of ‘women’.

It is being celebrated and I think we need to have many more films by female filmmakers so that the prefix ‘women’ is no longer necessary.”

Sharing a few words on attending this year’s festival legendary Indian director of Sholay fame Ramesh Sippy says:

“It’s a very lovely feeling. Anything that promotes the culture of cinema makes me feel good.

Anything that encourages cinema and a festival like this will always be doing that.

It gives the young generation a lot of coverage and the feeling that they belong to this cinema.”

The glitzy and phenomenal event was topped up by a scrumptious meal by Kanchan’s caterers.

On the whole, it has been yet another fabulous year for UK Asian Film Festival and one looks forward to seeing what 2020 has in store!

Winners of the Awards:

Short film competition: Educate Her Daughters

Young Achiever: Laraib Akhtar

Best Film of Festival 2019: Chegu

Making Waves: Radhika Apte

Best Documentary: Daughters of The Polar God

Best Director: Madhumita – KD

Best Actor: Rasika Dugal – Hamid

Audience Choice: Pinky Memsaab

Best Film: Hamid

Revolutionary Icon: Shabana Azmi

Lifetime Achievement: Ramesh Sippy

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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