New York’s Indian Film Festival comes to India - 21 June to 21 July 2016

New York’s Indian Film Festival comes to India -  21 June to 21 July 2016

They pronounce the acronym “Nyiff/nife”, like “Nasa”. And it is indeed ‘nice’ that a selection of films shown at NYIFF 2016 is being screened in Mumbai, during 21 June - 21 July. It took the dedicated efforts of a team led by architect/interior designer/film producer Anuradha Parikh’s G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture to make it happen. With a warehouse, a forum, a ‘citylab’, a film society, a presenting partner (Sai Estate Consultants, run by the Wadhwanis, in Chembur, Mumbai) in place, premises developed in the erstwhile cloth-mill/industrial district of Mahalaxmi in central Mumbai (a 7-minute walk from the iconic Famous Studios), proceedings got underway at G5A’s black box theatre on a Tuesday evening, even as the delayed monsoon showered its blessings (some felt it was a dampener).


Of the 40 films shown at NYIFF—35 narrative and five documentary—five features, four documentaries and four shorts will be showcased here. Highway-Ek Selfie Aar Paar (multi-lingual/director Umesh Kulkarni), which was chosen the Best Film at NYIFF, was, appropriately, the inaugural film. Present on the occasion was Aseem Chhabra, Director NYIFF, a journalist, who has been associated with the festival from the beginning, Highway star Tisca Chopra (also remembered for Taare Zameen Par) and Kulkarni himself. After a formal function, there was a press interaction, followed by the screening, then Chhabra in conversation with Kulkarni, a Q&A, and a reception. It was a small, select crowd, and a warm, late end to the evening.


G5A is named after the address of its premises in the complex. Chairman, Dr. Jagdish Parikh, is Anuradha (Founder-Director and CEO) Parikhs’s father and a former Chairman of the Film Finance Corporation (FFC), predecessor of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). Both Jagdish and his older brother Arvind (now 88) are businessmen of repute (Lee & Muirhead, now Lemuir; Printwell, later Technova; Noema, Allied Pickfords), with cultural and artistic leanings. Arvind is a renowned sitarist and a leading disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khan. Jagdish often accompanied Arvind on the tabla. Anuradha produced English August (released 1994) and Split Wide Open (1999), both starring Rahul Bose, under her Tropicfilm banner. She is also celebrated as the designer of Aamir Khan’s home and the Tata Chemicals’ work village, both in Mumbai.


NYIFF has on its Board of Directors Talat Ansari, Legal Counsel Aroon Shivdasani (a multi-faceted and amazing woman; don’t let the name confuse you) President & Executive Director, Jonathan Hollander, Vice President & Co-Founder, Ambassador Prakash Shah, James Luce and Rajan Shah. It is an initiative of the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) Inc., a registered not-for-profit (NPO/NGO), secular service, and resource arts organisation, charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian (increasingly South Asian) and cross-cultural art forms in North America.


The IAAC supports artistic disciplines in the classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. Its goals and objectives include, building an awareness of Indian artistic disciplines in North America, and fostering an exchange of artists and arts related information between India and the United States.



More about IAAC, Aroon Shivdasani, Aseem Chhabra, Jagdish Parikh, Anuradha, and her team and the films in the package, in another chapter. Meanwhile, if you live in Mumbai, are a cineaste and have not seen the crème de la crème lined-up at G5A, head for Mahalaxmi. Some of these films are even worth a second look.



 Siraj Syed is the Consulting Editor of

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