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Bold, stunning and eloquent, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ sets the tone for IFFLA 2016




The ‘Kali Pose’ , Diya TV’s Kari Lane poses with the ‘Goddesses’ from ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’


LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicked off the fest with a bold and beautifully shot film, by IFFLA alum and award-winning director Pan Nalin, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’. Before the screening the Hollywood Arclight seemed to get an injection of Bollywood. Filmmakers walked down the red carpet, showcasing the best of Indian and contemporary fashion, abuzz with talk of the theme that has emerged at IFFLA this year, ‘Female Focussed Films’.

Nalin’s opening night creation is a largely improvised film with women who act as real people rather than characters. The film starts off with a group of women descending upon Goa to gather at the request of their friend ‘Frieda‘. All of the women are college friends with the exception of Frieda’s ex-boss and her housekeeper. It turns out Frieda has a secret; she is getting married. However, there is some mystery around whom her betrothed is. There is dancing, talking, teasing, confrontations and bonding. The characters swear, smoke, talk about sex and just be real women, revealing the most natural yet subdued parts of an Indian woman’s mind, that are either relegated to character roles or just simply not portrayed in mainstream cinema.

The film is set in Goa and the cinematography is just right, as if it were a canvas for film, drawing attention to the story and the message. The seven women are in a house together being and doing what girlfriends do. The friendship and the chemistry between the characters is certainly relatable for many women. The tight shots on faces, details, reactions, expose the raw emotions the characters feel drawing you in as if you are with them. The seven women and their personal stories come together effortlessly through less dialogue and more emotion, a sense of being understood for who they are, who and what they want to be, and not being defined by the cultural constructs of what the society or the State wants them to be. They question these norms, these standards and laws and the story picks up steam as one of the characters ‘Frieda‘ finally reveals to her friends who she is getting married to.

Just when you start to laugh and be silly and enjoy the escape to Goa, Nalin confronts you with a bold truth, one that is feared, yet unexpected. What’s even more unexpected is the ending, it leaves you hopeful, yet glaringly aware of the brutal reality that must be confronted.

The Indian Film Festival has started off with a big and bold film and is expected to keep the trend going with a strong repertoire of films this year with female filmmakers and films that address issues women face not just in India but around the world.

One such film is Parched, a film about female subjugation in rural India, the thriving misogyny & the stark contrast in gender inequality.

The festival is being held all week long at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood and will host the Closing Night Red Carpet before the showing of ‘Waiting‘, starring Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin, directed by Anu Menon.


Arts & Culture

Redacted Mueller report, detailing Russian election meddling, released



Redacted Mueller Report

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — A redacted version of the Mueller report is now public. The 448 page document is the result of a two year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Democrats say the report shows President Trump tried to obstruct justice. But Trump’s campaign in a statement says otherwise.

Read the redacted report here.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the Indian Air Force air strike in response to the Pulwama terror attack in February, reversing claims made by other officials after the strike.

Anita Malik announced she is running once again for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District seat. She fell short last year. But this time, she will face additional competition, as fellow Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni (Ti-per-neh-knee) as also running for this seat.

And Hasan Minhaj won another Peabody, his second in a row, for his work on “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.”

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

U.S. and India conduct joint military drill on Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean



Indian Ocean drill

DIEGO GARCIA, Indian Ocean (Diya TV) — The U.S. and Indian Navies went submarine hunting in the Indian Ocean, their first bilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise since a signing pact to work more closely together last fall.

India’s exports to China are up in 2019, while imports declined, leading to a $10 billion reduction in India’s trade deficit with China. Analysts say the current Washington-Beijing trade war has also opened things up for India.

The Jallianwala Massacre 100 years ago that left hundreds dead and 1200 injured at the hands of British troops is considered a key turning point towards a free India. British prime minister Theresa May marked the occasion by expressing “deep regret”, but there are still no apologies.

An effort by an American and British companies to help Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal save the airline from collapse dissolved after Etihad Airways and TPG Capital threatened to walk away themselves if Goyal was part of the deal.

And comedian Hasan Minhaj, who won a 2017 Peabody Award, received another Peabody nomination in the entertainment category for his Netflix show, “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.”

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Women filmmakers shine at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles



IFFLA staff with the 2019 festival winners

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded Sunday night with the zany slice-of-life film, The Odds, directed by Megha Ramaswamy. Complete with a glamorous closing night red carpet, and an awards ceremony, the festival ended with an after party at the Spice Affair in Beverly Hills.

(From Left to Right) Praveen Morchale, Christina Marouda, Shazia Iqbal, Anand Patwardhan, Nitin Sonawane , Divya Kohli Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

IFFLA was only four days this year (compared to five days in previous years), but there was still so much to see during that time. In addition to the curated set of films, there was an incredible panel discussion, Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age, that featured panelists working in various fields in the television industry and their struggles to rise up through the ranks in the Hollywood while being brown.

Panel Discussion Breaking in Brown. Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

This year’s film lineup boasted five world premieres, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and eleven Los Angeles Premieres, with films presented in nine different languages. The overall atmosphere was very relaxed, even with films that tackled difficult subject matters. Roughly fifty percent of the films were directed by women. Filmmakers and staff alike hoped for a future where it will be normal to have women and men equally making films.

Kicking off the awards ceremony, Director of Programming, Mike Dougherty, announced the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Widow of Silence.

“We present the Grand Jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn’t get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday…This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their film-making was beautifully wise and refined.”

Director Praveen Morchhale was visibly surprised as he walked up to receive his award. The film he said was about those, “that nobody talks about and nobody treats them as a human.” Even though it was Morchhale’s first time at IFFLA, he felt as if he had been coming here for many years. He credited his win to the women in Kashmir the film portrayed.

The Audience Award for Best Feature went to Reason. Director Anand Patwardhan received a standing ovation when he went to collect his award. Patwardhan said, “most of the time our film is getting thrown out of festivals, I wasn’t expecting this.” He added that it meant a lot for the film to be well received at IFFLA and how that will hopefully impact its reception in India.

Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak was a crowd favorite winning the Audience Award For Best Short Film. The jury mentioned how she almost gave up on filming because she was getting thrown out of mosques. Iqbal spoke about how when people think of Muslims, they only think of Muslim men and not women, many of whom experience tremendous misogyny. She hopes people will be able to “see beyond what misogyny and religion does to people.” Iqbal added, “a director is nothing without their team.”

“a layered portrait of a woman determined to pursue her needs and impulses,” the Grand Jury awarded their prize for Best Short to The Field from director Sandhya Suri. “the film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life,” the jury added.

After the awards, Dougherty introduced the closing night film, The Odds by saying the film was the “perfect way to close IFFLA on a celebratory note.”

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