Hansal Mehta’s latest directorial Faraaz will be screened at BFI’s London Film Festival (LFF) under the ‘Thrill’ strand from 15th October. It is backed by Anubhav Sinha (Thappad), Mazahir Mandsaurwala and Bhushan/Krishan Kumar (T-Series), Sakshi Bhatt and Sahil Saigal. Screenwriters are Ritesh Shah (Sardar Udham), Kashyap Kapoor (Modern Love: Mumbai) and Raghav Raj Kakker.
In July 2016, Islamic terrorists stormed a popular café in upscale Dhaka and held its patrons hostage, killing more than 20 people and sending shockwaves across the subcontinent. Faraaz is the youngest son of a rich, politically connected family. That evening, he meets his friends at the café and finds himself caught in the crossfire. How he reacts to the nightmarish situation forms the heart of the story.
Offsetting nail-biting tension with unexpected humour – often at the expense of inept law-enforcement officials – Hansal Mehta (Aligarh, LFF 2015) brings his trademark sensitivity, nuance and empathy to this fictionalised retelling. It delves into religious extremism from the perspective of Muslims who have seen their faith questioned and demonised because of the actions of radical extremists. The movie stars Juhi Babbar (Aiyaary), Aditya Rawal (Bamfaad) and debutant Zahan Kapoor, who is Shashi Kapoor’s grandson.
Besides Faraaz, Declaration by Mahesh Narayanan is another Indian feature premiering at the fest. In the Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil languages. It revolves around a married couple who face a scandal that threatens to engulf their hopes of employment abroad. The picture stars Kunchacko Boban and Divya Prabha in lead roles. Boban is also co-producing. The first screening takes place on 6th October under the ‘Debate’ strand.
Pakistani Queer film, Joyland is competing in the ‘First Feature’ category. Set in Lahore, about a middle-class family. A wheelchair-bound yet severe patriarch rules over his two sons and daughters-in-law. He wants his kids to give him grandchildren. But all changes when his younger son, Haider (Ali Junejo), falls in love with Biba (Alina Khan), a transgender dancer while working as a background dancer for her. The feature also stars Aahat‘s Sania Saeed and Sarwat Gilain (of Churails fame) in pivotal roles. It is co-produced by Zindagi Tamasha‘s Sarmad Khoosat. The movie is expected to release this Winter.
For more information, check out the full programme here.