Indian Film Festival Of Los Angeles Announces 2004 Lineup

IFFLA Presents 25 Films Screening April 14-18, Including 6 North American Premieres Special Tribute Will Honor Award-Winning Indian Actress Kirron Kher

Chokher Bali

Kicking off its second year as the only U.S. festival entirely dedicated to presenting the cinema of India by showcasing films by Indian and international filmmakers, IFFLA 2004 is set to open on April 14 at 6:30pm with the Los Angeles premiere of master director Rituparno Ghosh's CHOKHER BALI (A Passion Play) at ArcLight Hollywood, the official home of the festival.

CHOKHER BALI is a sumptuous period adaptation of Rabidranath Tagore's early 20th Century novel, featuring superstar actress Aishwarya Rai (DEVDAS), soon to be seen in Gurinder Chada's upcoming BRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  An Opening Night gala reception follows at SIR, 6465 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.

"We're so pleased with the outstanding assortment of features, documentaries and shorts presented in this year's festival," said IFFLA Festival Director Christina Marouda.  "Our programming team has selected a range of entertaining, thought-provoking and unique films, including the Los Angeles premieres of some of the best examples of recent Indian cinema."

Further highlights of IFFLA 2004 include the festival's first annual tribute program on April 15 at 8pm, this year honoring award-winning actress Kirron Kher, a leading figure of Indian stage and screen who is also the wife of esteemed Indian actor Anupam Kher (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM).  The special program begins with a pre-screening reception in the festival's Cinema Lounge at ArcLight Hollywood, followed by the Los Angeles premiere of

Silent Waters

KHAMOSH PANI (Silent Waters), for which Mrs. Kher received the Silver Leopard for Best Actress at the 2003 Locarno International Film Festival.  After presentation of the film, the program will continue with an onstage discussion between Mrs. Kher and Screen International's Mike Goodridge, followed by an audience Q&A session.  In a 2:30pm screening on April 16, Mrs. Kher reprises her award-winning role as a lonely woman infatuated with a movie director in BARIWALI (The Lady of the House), directed by Rituparno Ghosh. 

A coincidental theme emerging from this year's festival selections concerns the issue of women's rights in South Asian societies.  From the brutal misogyny of Manish Jha's debut feature MATRUBHOOMI (A Nation Without Women) to the more subtle gender conflicts evident in Ghosh's BARIWALI and CHOKHER BALI, these filmmakers explore and critique the oppressive patriarchy of common cultural norms. 

The Day My God Died

This clash of values is most evident in a pair of documentary selections that screens on April 17 at 5:45pm in a program co-presented with the Asia Society addressing the abuse of girls and women.  In THE DAY MY GOD DIED, co-narrated by Tim Robbins and Winona Ryder, director Andrew Levine tracks some of the thousands of Nepali and Indian girls abducted every year and sold into South Asia's prostitution trade.  Shilpi Gupta's WHEN THE STORM CAME insightfully examines the experiences of a group of women allegedly assaulted by Indian security forces in the disputed region of Kashmir.

A panel discussion following the screening will feature producer-director Levine and the US Department of State's Global Affairs Senior Advisor, Trafficking, Laura Lederer. 


The UCLA Film and Television Archive joins the festival in co-presenting "Bombay Melody," a celebration of the great song-and-dance tradition of India's popular cinema.  "Bombay Melody" begins at ArcLight Hollywood on April 18 at 2:15pm with MUGHAL-E-AZAM (The Great Mughal), a 1960 black-and-white classic of forbidden royal romance.  The program continues April 21 at the James Bridges Theater on the UCLA campus with evening screenings of contemporary Bollywood favorites.  Further information is available at and (310) 206-FILM.

As a lead-in to the "Bombay Melody" series, IFFLA and the Archive will also co-present VIRUMAANDI, a violent musical melodrama starring actor-director Kamal Haasan, at ArcLight Hollywood on April 17 at 9:00pm.

IFFLA 2004 closes on April 18 at 6:00pm with the North American premiere of HAZAARON KHWAISHEN AISI (A Thousand Dreams Such as These), a sweeping political drama focusing on three friends caught up in the power struggles that follow India's 1975 state of emergency.  Award-winning director Sudhir Mishra and producer Pritish Nandy will introduce the film and attend the gala Closing Night reception in IFFLA's festively decorated Cinema Lounge. 

Please contact IFFLA publicity after April 1 for additional information regarding the availability of filmmakers and talent

Hazaaron Khwaishein

for interviews and photo opportunities. 

Tickets for IFFLA 2004 go on sale March 19 at the ArcLight Cinemas box office, located at 6360 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, and online at:  Ticket prices are $11 for general admission and $9 for discounted admissions (students, seniors, and AFI and ArcLight members).  Gala ticket prices are $50 each for Opening and Closing nights and $35 for the Kirron Kher Tribute.  Festival Passes are priced at $75 for the Fest Pass (includes all regular screenings), and $200 for the All-Access Pass (includes all screenings and galas).  Both passes offer access to the festival's Cinema Lounge.  Public information about the festival is available by calling (310) 364-4403. 

Complete information on IFFLA's 2004 programming, including playdates, program notes, cast and crew credits, running times and technical specifications will be available beginning March 22 on the festival's website at

Silent Waters

Wednesday, April 14, 6:30pm, Opening Night Gala
CHOKHER BALI (A Passion Play) (2003, India, Dir. Rituparno Ghosh)
Based on Rabidranath Tagore's novel, this stunning period drama features superstar actress Aishwarya Rai as a young woman attempting to escape the stigma of widowhood and regain her romantic identity in British-occupied Kolkata during the early 1900s.
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Raima Sen, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Tota Raychaudhuri

Thursday, April 15, 8:00pm, Tribute to Kirron Kher
KHAMOSH PANI (Silent Waters) (2003, France/Germany/Pakistan, Dir. Sabiha Sumar)
Pakistan 1979: As General Zia Ul-Haq declares martial law, a widow (IFFLA tribute honoree Kirron Kher) sees her influence over her devoted adolescent son diminishing in favor of Islamic Fundamentalism, as growing tensions between Muslims and Sikhs conjure up a painful past that she has long kept secret.
Cast: Kirron Kher, Aamir Malik, Navtej Johar Singh

Friday, April 16, 2:30pm
BARIWALI (The Lady of the House) (1999, India, Dir. Rituparno Ghosh)
Kirron Kher stars in this contemporary drama exploring the world of a lonely woman who rents her home as the location for a film shoot and becomes attracted to the charismatic director, a man with questionable motives.
Cast: Kirron Kher, Chiranjeet Chakraborty, Sudipta Chakraborty

Friday, April 16, 6:00pm
MATRUBHOOMI (A Nation Without Women) (2003, India, Dir. Manish Jha)
Set in an isolated village bereft of women, this provocative and violent drama centers on the brutal actions of a group of men when a young woman enters their lives.
Cast: Tulip Joshi, Sudhir Pandey, Piyush Mishra, Pankaj Jha, Deepak Kumar, Sanjay Kumar

Saturday, April 17, 5:45pm
WHEN THE STORM CAME (2003, USA, Dir. Shilpi Gupta)
This documentary profiles a village in Kashmir whose women survived an alleged rape by Indian security forces. The film reminds the viewer that rape is a "weapon" of conflict and is a timeless global phenomenon.

THE DAY MY GOD DIED (2003, USA/India/Nepal, Dir. Andrew Levine)
On any given day in India and Nepal, hundreds of young girls are abducted from their villages and sold into the child sex trade. The victims describe their experience as "The day my God died" in this powerful and timely film, narrated by Tim Robbins and Winona Ryder.

When The Storm Came

Saturday, April 17, 9:00pm, IFFLA and UCLA Film and Television Archive present
VIRUMAANDI (2003, India, Dir. Kamal Hassan)
Kamal Hassan wrote, directed and stars in this spectacular melodramatic crime drama with a passionate anti-death penalty message.
Cast: Kamal Hassan, Abhirami, Pasupathi, Nasser, Rohini

Sunday, April 18, 2:15pm, IFFLA and UCLA Film and Television Archive present
MUGHAL-E-AZAM (The Great Mughal) (1960, India, Dir. K. Asif)
Set in the 16th century court of the Mughal Empire, this elegant black-and-white Bollywood classic is the tale of a fateful romance that sparks a royal family feud.
Cast: Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala

Sunday, April 18, 6:00pm, Closing Night Gala
HAZAARON KHWAISHEN AISI (A Thousand Dreams Such as These) (2003, India, Dir Sudhir Mishra)
Sudhir Mishra captures the essence of India's 1975 state of emergency in this poignant drama, centering on three friends who become caught up in the political unrest and their own romantic turmoil.
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Chitrangda Singh, Roshan Ahuja


IFFLA 2004 runs April 14-18, presented by the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), a nonprofit organization devoted to paving the way for a greater appreciation of India's cinema and diverse culture by providing the public with a selection of films from and about India by Indian and International filmmakers.  IFFLA is the first U.S. festival dedicated entirely to showcasing features, shorts and documentaries from and about India by Indian and international filmmakers.

Premium Sponsor: Arclight Cinemas. Opening Night Gala Sponsors: Annapurna Cuisine and Neemo Exotic Ice Cream. Closing Night Gala Sponsor: Tantra. Major Sponsors: Dr. Arjun Daluvoy, Indian Special, Patel Brothers. Principal Sponsors: Dr. Gnyandev Patel, FedEx, Startec. Friendship Sponsors: Habib American Bank, Kohinoor Foods, Tea India, Tulsi Mind and Body. Presenting Symposium Sponsor: Indian Express and Screen. Storyboard Sponsor: Jury Awards Sponsor: Digiquest Corp. Audience Choice Awards Sponsors: Alpha Cine Labs, Media Services. Media Publication Sponsor: India Today. Media Sponsors: B4U, EBC Music, KKJZ, KPFK, India Abroad, India FM, India Post, Remit2India,, Yogitimes. Lodging Sponsor: Holiday Inn. Affiliates: AFI FEST, Asia Society, International Documentary Association (IDA), Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), UCLA Film and Television Archive, Women in Film International

About ArcLight Cinemas

ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theatres, represents a new evolution in the movie going experience.  The beautifully designed facility, which opened in March 2002, offers an unprecedented combination of technology, amenities, comfort, and customer service. Facilities include the historic Cinerama Dome and 14 state-of-the-art "black box" auditoriums as well as a café bar and a cinema-focused gift shop.  Tickets can be purchased online without a fee and printed at home, at the theaters automated ticketing kiosks, lobby box office and over the phone.  Plus, ArcLight offers a free membership program with purchasing rewards and other members-only benefits. ArcLight Hollywood is located at 6360 W. Sunset Boulevard, between Vine and Ivar. For more information about ArcLight visit 

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