Returning to BAFTA 195 for a touch of glamour, the London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) ended its 19th edition with its annual awards, dinner and a special tribute to the respected, late Om Puri. Renowned British-Asian director, Gurinder Chadha reminded audiences of Puri’s legacy in film, with exclusive anecdotes of her personal experiences of working with the actor.
The festival gave a respectful salute to Pakistani-bornBritish actor, Art Malik, who gave a hearty speech after being awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ for his contribution to the arts.
Alankrita Shrivastava’s, controversial feature film, Lipstick Under My Burkha won two awards including ‘Best Film’ after a well-deserved sell-out screening, complimented by attendance from actor Ratna Pathak Shah. ‘Best Director’ was awarded to Rahat Kazmi for Mantostaan, with Pakistani film Rahm hailing the ‘Best Adaptation’ award.
With two record-breaking sell-out screenings, Caribbean title, Bazodee took away ‘Best Music’ and the ‘Audience Choice Award’ after creating a storm with its Soca music and carnival vibe.
Pushing boundaries and getting people talking about hot topics is always Tongues on Fire’s aim, and tongues have certainly been wagging in another successful year, not only in London but in two other vibrant cities. Earlier this year, TOF announced its UK wide expansion and has proudly witnessed a successful first edition of the Leicester Asian Film Festival (LAFF) with sell-out screenings and second edition at Edinburgh Asian Film festival (EAFF). Launching nationally as a UK Asian Film Festival is reflective of the festival’s passion and commitment to deliver important messages and unique storytelling to new audiences across the country, who have an appetite for these “made to be seen” films.
With an array of entertaining film screenings, a dose of noteworthy film talent, in-depth discussions, the annual Short Film Competition and prestigious annual awards ceremony, LAFF explored a very important theme this year ‘Memories Beyond Borders’. The festival was home to Utopia, the first Afghani film to be presented at LAFF, a visit from distinguished actor Shabana Azmi, and a unique mushaira event, which swept audiences off to a magical realm of ghazals, music and Urdu poetry. Deepa Mehta’s Anatomy of Violence and Rahat Kazmi’s Mantostaan provoked deep audience engagement and LAFF’s first-time children’s event ‘Colour Club’, was a winner with young audiences.
Closing Night hosted acclaimed Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar, who spoke about her upcoming documentary, Azmaish: Trials of Life. Tongues on Fire are also proud to announce Sabiha Sumar as a new patron of the festival, making her an advocate and supporter, alongside the likes of Abhishek Bachchan and Meera Syal.
Festival director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry claims she is delighted with this year’s turnout in all three cities. “It feels fantastic to expand our festival into other cities this year, with an exceptional line-up of films and filmmakers who honoured us by coming to share their journeys with all our audiences.”
TOF operations director Saba Syed “The festival just keeps getting better every year and female voices and storytellers are being heard. This year, we at Tongues on Fire are very proud to play a part in celebrating shared heritage without borders, joining the global movement defying current populist sentiment which is sweeping the sub-continent, Europe and the USA.”