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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

India’s mega blockbuster ‘RRR’ vies for the Oscars



LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Legendary Indian director S.S. Rajamouli, of the Baahubali fame is back with yet another box office mega hit. ‘RRR’ (Rise,Roar, Revolt), the Telugu language epic, is set in 1920’s colonial India and has already broken many box-office records internationally. With nearly 300 days of shooting, thousands of hours in post production and an international team of VFX team, RRR is now making the waves among film critics in the United States.

Grossing over $175m worldwide, with nearly $2.5m from Japan alone, this film has garnered global appeal with its Bollywood style dance numbers, epic action sequences and high-end visual effects. 

As the film is gaining momentum in the film critics society, after winning the Atlanta & New York Film Critics Circle awards, ahead of the Oscars, we sat down with the key team members behind the scenes. Check out what they had to say:

With an astounding level of commitment and an inherent pride, the team worked tirelessly to bring the director’s vision to life.

While many expected this to be India’s official entry into the Oscars, that didn’t happen, but RRR will likely compete with films such as Avatar 2 and Top Gun Maverick in the VFX category. If it were to win, it would be the first ever film made in India to win that category at the Oscars. 

We, at Diya TV will be paying close attention, so like, follow & subscribe to get all your diaspora news as it happens.

UPDATE 12/12/22 : RRR has been nominated for Best Picture: Non-English Language & Best Original Song ‘Naatu Naatu’ for the Golden Globes.

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Arts & Culture

IFFLA celebrates 20 years with a focus to mentor the next generation



IFFLA celebrates 20 years with a trip down memory lane

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — IFFLA celebrated their 20th anniversary with familiar faces, overwhelming excitement and new additions to Southern California’s largest Indian and South Asian focused film festival.

Pan Nalin opened the festival with his film Last Film Show, a love letter to cinema and loosely based on his childhood.

“I think IFFLA over the years, it has been like a home in Hollywood. So I was always able to come here and invite people from the industry to see these movies,” said Nalin. “There are producers who usually don’t go to see Indian cinema. So I feel that it’s really important.”

Director Anurag Kashyap returned to host a MasterClass — a way to give back to the festival and fellow filmmakers.

“It is always good to be back here because for me this is where it all started from. And it’s amazing to see that this festival has grown so much and has been sustaining for so long,” said Kashyap.

New filmmakers were honored to be part of the lineup this year, especially after no in-person IFFLA for the last two years.

Hena Asraf, Director of The Return, shares “it feels a little unreal. It feels great! I think especially to be at a festival in person, after over two years.” 

“The community is amazing. The welcome is very warm. It feels just so honoring to be a part of this festival and amongst these filmmakers. I can’t wait to see all the other films,” said The Return Editor Esther Shubinski.

It’s that family feeling that makes IFFLA special and keeps filmmakers, attendees, and staff keep coming back.

Actor and director Ravi Kapoor is “just so grateful for this festival. It has been such a supporter of me. And they’ve helped bring the South Asian diasporic community here in LA together as well. Thank god they’ve lasted 20 years.”

Actor & musician Monica Dogra points out “what’s wonderful about IFFLA [is] it’s super niche, South Asians in LA of all places. [And] it’s small enough so you actually see people anyway.”

Actor Pooja Batra added, “I think they’ve always been eclectic with their mix of selection that they bring around here — smaller budget, smaller sort of productions also need a shout out.”

One of the new additions this year is the Spotlight on South Asia.

Festival founder Christina Marouda added this vertical to present films from different countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. “We’re putting a spotlight on projects we want to support,” said Marouda.

The other major new change this year was a live table read of IFFLA alum Kahlil Maskati’s feature script, Alim Uncle, rather than a closing night film. Fawzia Mirza directed the piece.

These changes reflect IFFLA’s commitment to supporting filmmakers while giving audiences more than a viewing experience. In fact, they are able to be part of the filmmaking process.

Marouda says after 20 years, this is IFFLA’s direction moving forward — a full effort to mentor budding filmmakers, while showcasing new films.

Ravi Kapur and Deepti Dawar contributed to this report.

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Garcetti’s ambassadorship to India in limbo



Garcetti's ambassadorship to India in limbo | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON DC (Diya TV) — Republican Senator Chuck Grassley has lifted the “hold” on the Senate confirmation of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has been nominated by US President Joe Biden as the country’s next ambassador to India. Initially, Grassley planned to object to the nomination, saying Garcetti failed to properly investigate sexual assault allegations and harassment by a close advisor.

Protesters in Sri Lanka have burned down homes belonging to 38 politicians as the crisis-hit country plunged further into chaos, with the government ordering troops to shoot anyone caught destroying property. Even the former Prime Minister had to be evacuated from his home. Angry Sri Lankans continue to defy a nationwide curfew to protest against what they say is the government’s mishandling of the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948.

Internationally recognized Indian American energy expert Arun Majumdar will head the new Stanford University Doerr School of Sustainability, which aims to tackle urgent climate and sustainability challenges,

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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