UK Asian Film Festival Announces Programme for 25th Anniversary

UK Asian Film Festival – the world’s longest running South Asian film festival – has unveiled its programme for its 25th anniversary edition. Running at venues across London, Leicester and Glasgow from Thursday 4th – Sunday 14th May, UK Asian Film Festival is presented by Tongues on Fire.

The ‘Celebrating Our Stories’ theme of the festival’s silver jubilee year will present a curation of film stories centring on the British Asian experience – redefining and reimagining one’s roots and dreams in a foreign land – and will celebrate the individuality and uniqueness of trans generational, South Asian migrant stories.

The Opening Gala will present the UK Premiere of Sanaa (India, 2022; Dir: Sudhanshu Saria; Language: Hindi with English subtitles) on Thursday 4th May, BFI Southbank.  The biggest weekend of her professional life only gets more complicated when Sanaa, a 28-year-old financial advisor working in Mumbai, finds out she is pregnant. Clear on her decision to terminate her pregnancy, the actual process of getting the abortion forces Sanaa to re-evaluate her life and if the choices she has been making have really been her own. The film is an observation of the choices and dilemmas facing women in the corporate workplace, highlighting gender disparities. Lead actor, Radhika Madan (Pataakha) and director, Sudhanshu Saria (Loev), will be in attendance. 

Whispers of a Storm

The World Premiere of Whispers Of A Storm (India, 2023; Dir: Amartya Bhattacharyya; Language: Odia with English subtitles) takes place on Thursday 9th May, Stratford East Picturehouse. An ambitious photographer captures the devastation of the coastal villages after cyclone ‘Fani’ in 2019 – one of South Asia’s strongest cyclones ever. The photographer is indifferent to the suffering of the villagers and is focused only on the benefits he can extract from the calamity. A villager who returns from the rescue camp after the cyclone finds his home shattered.  He picks up his memories from the ruins and sets off in hope of reaching a safer land; while a grieving mother who has lost her son to the cyclone leaves her village to find solace in nature.  These characters, independent of each other, find relevance and relation through a fragmented narrative of their losses.

The Closing Film on Saturday 13th May, Kiln Theatre, London is the World Premiere of Bhagwan Bharose (India, 2023; Dir: Shiladitya Bora; Language: Hindi with English subtitles).  The film tells the story of Bhola and Shambhu, two village boys whose ideas about faith are constantly questioned as their little world expands and takes into its fold their country’s fast-changing socio-political landscape. Against the backdrop of a rising Hindu nationalist movement in late 1980’s India, the two impressionable kids struggle with their understanding of God and religion. While experiencing the everyday challenges of childhood, a conservative upbringing and communal surroundings, their idyllic world is blown apart by events that they themselves can no longer fathom. In attendance will be actors Vinay Pathak (Bheja Fry), Masumeh Makhija and Satendra Soni; and director, Shiladitya Bora (Song of Scorpions).

Bhagwan Bharose

UK Asian Film Festival annually hosts an eclectic mix of films; a thought-provoking lecture series; audience workshops; live performances; visual arts exhibitions; masterclasses; and the annual Short Film Competition.

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom on Sunday 7th May, Beck Theatre, Hayes invites fans of popular Indian cinema to celebrate Tongues on Fire UK Asian Film Festival’s 25th anniversary in true Bollywood style against a backdrop of live music and dance by Bollywood Dance School and The 515 Crew.  This joyful night will be an ode to Bollywood, with performances by music artists, Chirag Rao, Shama and Surojoy Bhowmik; and dances choreographed by duo, Shruti and Rohan Shah, recreating evergreen classics from Hindi cinema across the decades. 

Goodness Gracious Me (Image Credit: BFI)

The 25th Anniversary Celebration of Goodness Gracious Me will take place on Monday 8th May, Beck Theatre, Hayes. British Asian comedy, Goodness Gracious Me, celebrates 25 years, these cultural institutions come together to Celebrate Our Stories – Of Shared Identity, Culture And Future. The iconic series distinctively integrated Indian and British cultures through sketch comedy, the satires, musicals and skits playing a pivotal role in representing South Asian stories globally. A special screening of one of the most popular episodes, Going For An English, will be followed by a Q&A discussion with writer/ actors, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia and Kulvinder Ghir; and writer, Sanjeev Kohli.

Talking Life on Friday 12th May, The British Library will present Padma Bhushan recipient, screenwriter, lyricist and poet, Javed Akhtar; and television producer and writer, Nasreen Munni Kabir, bringing their conversational book to life in a freewheeling discussion that will provide insights into the life and mind of a creative genius whose work continues to touch millions and the memories and anecdotes he has gathered along the way. They will be joined by Akhtar’s wife, award-winning actor Shabana Azmi. 

For full festival programme and ticket bookings visit:


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