New York Indian Film Festival 2011

The Indo-American Arts Council has announced the feature films that have been selected for the Opening Night, Centerpiece, and Closing Night spots for the highly anticipated New York Indian Film Festival which runs May 4 to May 8 in Manhattan.

Opening the 11th annual edition of the IAAC’s popular film festival will be the North American premiere of Disney’s critically acclaimed family comedy DO DOONI CHAAR starring the legendary husband-wife acting couple Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh. The Habib Faisal-directed film marks the Hollywood studio’s first live-action production in India and earned some of the best reviews of any Hindi film in recent years. It is a heart-warming comedy about the dreams and challenges of a middle-class family who take a chaotic journey to fulfill their dream of owning a car discovering the true meaning of family along the way. Special guests Kapoor, Singh, and Faisal will all be attending the red carpet premiere.

“Do Dooni Chaar is a charming and sweet indie film that reflects the realities of a middle-class family in modern day Delhi,” says NYIFF Director Aseem Chhabra. “Written and directed by first time filmmaker Habib Faisal, the film is a perfect blend of authentic dialogues, characters and situations, with a touch of Bollywood charm. It is a great example of India’s new emerging cinema that has an indie soul, but working within the framework of Bollywood.”

The Closing Night selection is Rituparno Ghosh’s NOUKADUBI, an adaptation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s acclaimed novel, which stars sisters Riya and Raima Sen. Following the May 8 screening will be a special tribute to Tagore who was born 150 years ago on that day. Aparna Sen’s ITI MRINALINI will premiere as the Centerpiece selection. The Bengali film features Sen and her daughter, award-winning actress Konkona Sen Sharma, both playing the same title role at different ages.

“NYIFF energizes New York City’s diversity by presenting amazing independent and diaspora films from the Indian subcontinent while keeping a close watch on Bollywood’s foray into alternate cinema,” states Indo-American Arts Council Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani. “The three film highlights of our eleventh annual film festival represent a Hollywood studio’s Indian social cinema, independent cinema, as well as a tribute to Rabindranath Tagore.”

New York City’s prestigious Paris Theatre will be the home to the star-studded red carpet Opening Night premiere of DO DOONI CHAAR on Wednesday, May 4, followed by a gala benefit dinner at the Jumeirah Essex House. H.E. Meera Shankar, India’s Ambassador to the United States, will deliver the welcome address. The Centerpiece selection will screen at Tribeca Cinemas and will be followed by an afterparty at Tribeca Bar. The Closing Night of NYIFF and the Tagore tribute will take place at Asia Society on Sunday, May 8, along with the annual awards ceremony honoring the festival’s winners. Directors Sen and Ghosh will be attending the festival as well.

Shivdasani adds “Major American studios partnering with India have flirted with NYIFF in the past – Fox Searchlight, Sony, Miramax, and now Disney’s contribution to our 2011 Opening Night – Do Dooni Chaar. Clearly NYIFF is the best platform for these films to reach their ideal demographic market.”

Tickets for the Opening Night of the New York Indian Film Festival go on sale March 20 while tickets for all other screenings and events will be available starting April 10.

Created in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York City, the IAAC’s film festival was started to create a better understanding of the people and stories from the Indian subcontinent by bringing the most acclaimed feature films, shorts, and documentaries from that region and its Diaspora to America’s biggest and most remarkable city. Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ closed that year’s festival ahead of its worldwide theatrical release and was joined over the years by numerous films such as Deepa Mehta’s Oscar-nominated ‘Water’, Nair’s ‘The Namesake’, the Academy Award-winning ‘Born Into Brothels’ as well as the New York Premiere of Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which won eight Oscars. With the help of loyal supporters such as Nair, Mehta, Salman Rushdie, Mani Ratnam, Shyam Benegal, Madhur Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Padma Lakshmi, Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Consulate, and the late Ismail Merchant, the IAAC’s film festival has been able to bring cinema from one of the world’s most vibrant film industries to audiences across New York City.

The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival is North America’s oldest and most prestigious destination for feature films, documentaries, and shorts from and about the Indian subcontinent. NYIFF features a mix of film screenings, discussions, industry panels, nightly parties, an awards ceremony, and gala red carpet events. NYIFF is a once-a-year opportunity to network with artists and leaders from the global film industry, and to experience the rich film cultures of the Indian subcontinent.

The IAAC supports all artistic disciplines in the classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding..

Please visit www.iaac.us for more information.

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