The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) will screen 20 regional films, including a focus on Bengali cinema that includes Buddhadev Dasgupta’s “Urojahaj” (The Flight). Other regional films include Assamese, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Ladakhi, Punjabi, and Harayanavi.

The 19th edition of the film festival, to be held May 7 to 12, at the Village East Cinemas in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, will feature 32 screenings (29 narrative, 3 documentary and 32 short films including seven world premieres along with an international premiere and five U.S. premieres.  

“We are thrilled to share our lineup for this year,” festival director Aseem Chhabra said. “The NYIFF programming team has spent a number of months watching, tracking films and we now present to the audience the best of Indian cinema.”

Returning to NYIFF is award-winning filmmaker, Gurinder Chadha with her new film.  The festival will be hosting a Special Spotlight of Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” which will be making its New York debut after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is inspired by the true story of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his lifelong love of Bruce Springsteen.

Bengali Master Buddhadev Dasgupta’s “Urojahaj” (The Flight) will be a part of the special focus on Bengali cinema that NYIFF will be presenting this year. Seven features will be a part of this presentation, many by first time filmmakers, putting a spotlight on a resurgence of films from West Bengal.

 Arijit Singh, a widely popular Bollywood singer will be highlighted at the festival with his second directorial venture “Sa – a tribute to Satyajit Ray and Ravi Shankar.” Anoushka Shankar plays sitar for the film.

 Other highlights of the festival include Assamese filmmaker Rima Das whose new film “Bulbul Can Sing” will have its New York premiere at NYIFF along with the world premiere of Assamese master and National Film Award winner Jahnu Barua’s new film “Bhoga Khirikee” (Broken Window). 

 Short filmmakers Ashuman Sharma (“Jalebi”) and Vick Krishna (“Mokshi”) who were in attendance at the NYIFF Launch event on April 18 at the Consulate General of India in New York, are a part of the festival’s four short programs that includes a total of 32 short films.

The Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), which brings out NFIFF, has named celebrity chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna as its brand ambassador. Khanna is a Michelin-star chef as well as a cookbook author, humanitarian, filmmaker and was once voted New York City’s hottest chef. Khanna’s “The Last Color,” starring Neena Gupta will be the closing night film for the festival and will be honoring mothers around the world on Mother’s Day.

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