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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

4TH INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL OF LOS ANGELES (IFFLA) runs April 19-23 at the ArcLight Hollywood. IFFLA is set to open April 19 with a gala presentation of Deepa Mehta’s Water and presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ravi Shankar. The festival will showcase 33 films representing Indian cinema and culture.

It will also honor acclaimed Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah with the L.A. premiere of his latest film, Parzania, and the screening of two of his previous films, Monsoon Wedding and The Churning (Manthan).

“There has been a tremendous growth in Indian cinema and our 2006 program reflects that with the participation of films from 13 countries including 12 films from the U.K.; and five films from Canada,” said Christina Marouda, IFFLA festival director.


WATER (Director: Deepa Mehta, 117 min.). In 1938 colonial India, 8-year-old
Chuyia is widowed and sent to a home where Hindu widows live a life of renunciation. Chuyia’s feisty presence deeply affects the lives of the other residents, including a young widow, who falls for a Gandhi nationalist. April 19, 7:30 p.m.

MEN OF BURDEN Pedaling Towards a Horizon (Directors: Raghu Jeganathan and Kousalya Jeganathan, 78 min.). A compassionate look at the lives of cycle-ricksha drivers in Pondicherry as they try to survive in a trade that has all but lost its value. April 20, 6:30 p.m.

Parzania (Director: Rahul Dholakia, 123 min.) Based on a true story, the film tells the tale of a Parsi (Zoroastrian) family caught in the midst of Hindu-Muslim riots, and searching for their 10-year-old son lost amid the chaos. April 20, 7:15 p.m.

SHORTS PROGRAM 1. All Roads Lead to Here (Directors: Richie Mehta and Stuart McIntyre, 5 min.). The Last Dance (Director: Akshay Roy, 15 min.). 5×1=5 (Director: Kamal Raghani, 5 min.). Lucky (Director: Avie Luthra, 20 min.). Flower Girl (Director: Rajan Khosa, 12 min.). Cataract (Director: Sainath Choudhury, 9 min.). Pria (Director: Theadore Bezaire, 12 min.). April 20, 9:30 p.m.; April 22, 1 p.m.
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DREAMING LHASA (Directors: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, 90 min.). A woman filming a documentary in Dharamsala, India, about political refugees from Tibet meets an enigmatic ex-monk, and becomes entangled in his quest to fulfill his mother’s last wish. April 20, 10 p.m.


BOMBAY CALLING (Director: Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, 72 min.). Young, –
ambitious telemarketers assume Western names and accents in the name of customer service and a burgeoning new economy in this examination of call-center culture in India. April 21, 7 p.m.

TRIBUTE TO NASEERUDDIN SHAH: The Churning (Manthan) (Director: Shyam Benegal, 134 min.) Set against the backdrop of Gujarat’s deteriorating dairy industry, is a tale of dairy farmers uniting for their fair share of proceeds from corporate milk-processing giants. April 21, 7:30 p.m.

DOMBIVLI-FAST (Director: Nishikant Kamat, 110 min.). Unable to bear the rampant corruption and lawlessness around him, a righteous, cultured, and educated man decides to take matters into his own hands. April 21, 8:30 p.m.

SHORTS PROGRAM 2. Bulla Ki Jaana (Director: Anand Surapur, 5 min.) The Grinding Machine (Girni) (Director: Umesh Kulkarni, 22 min.) G-23 (Director: Anthony Chen, 19 min.) Fleeting Beauty (Director: Virginia Pitts, 10 min.) Little Princess (Director: Victoria Harwood, 19 min.). 6 Ft in 7 Min (Director: Rafael Del Toro, 5 min.). April 21, 9:30 p.m.; April 23, 3:30 p.m.

BELLY FULL OF DREAMS (Director: Prakash Kovelamudi, 94 min.). Nine-year-old Ramu has a simple dream of going to school, but for a poor child that makes a living as a rag picker the obstacles are many. April 22, 12 p.m.

IN THE NAME OF GOD (Daivanamathil) (Director: Jayaraj, 105 min.). In a region where religious coexistence and tolerance have ruled, a woman witnesses the rise of a fundamentalist movement and the effect it has on her husband. April 22, 3 p.m.

THE WIDOW COLONY (Director: Harpreet Kaur, 70 min.). Women widowed in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots await justice from the Indian government for their loss, while struggling to help their children secure a future. April 22, 3:30 p.m.


DANCE OF LOVE (Sringaram) (Director: Sharada Ramanathan, 117 min.). A devadasi (temple dancer) is torn between her privileged life as the mistress of a wealthy patron and an uncertain yet independent future. April 22, 6 p.m.

I FOR INDIA (Director: Sandhya Suri, 70 min.). After moving to the United Kingdom in 1965, Yash Pal Suri bought two Super 8 cameras, two projectors, and two reel-to-reel recorders so he could keep in touch with his family in India. Their footage is a bittersweet time capsule of alienation, belonging, and cultural and national identities. April 22, 6:30 p.m.


FIVE (Paanch) (Director: Anurag Kashyap, 145 min.). Five aspiring rock stars prepared to do whatever it takes to get to the top, find themselves in a thick web of bloodshed and betrayal. April 22, 8:30 p.m.

THE MARRIED WOMAN (Parineeta) (Dir: Pradeep Sarkar/India/2005/130 min/35mm). Childhood lovers find their relationship threatened by financial cravings of a parent and the influence of a kind-hearted family friend. April 22, 9:30 p.m.

KIDSFEST. Chakachak (Director: Chetan Sharma, 5 min.). A child attempts to understand the damage humans cause to the environment. The Peace Tree (Director: Mitra Sen, 47 min.) Two girls, one Muslim and one Christian, dream of celebrating each others’ religious festivals—Christmas and Eid. April 23, 12 p.m.

DOCUMENTARY PROGRAM. Runaway Grooms (Director: Ali Kazimi, 52 min.). An investigation into the fraudulent activities of Indian-Canadian men using the system of arranged marriage to extort huge illegal dowries from their Indian brides before abandoning them. Waiting … (Directors: Atul Gupta and Shabnam Ara, 39 min.). The half-widows of Kashmir, whose husbands are disappeared and presumed dead. But with no body or official declaration of their demise, the women and their children are thrust into poverty and emotional limbo. April 23, 1:30 p.m.

MONSOON WEDDING (Director: Mira Nair, 114 min.). A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India. April 23, 3 p.m.

CLOSING NIGHT GALA. TBA. April 23, 7 p.m.

ArcLight Hollywood, 6360 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles. $11 general; $9 students, seniors, AFI/ArcLight members; $60 opening night gala; $60 closing night gala; $25 tribute on April 21; $75 Fest Pass includes all regular screenings; $200 All-Access Pass includes all screenings, galas, and seminars).

Ashok Jethanandani

Ashok Jethanandani, B.A.M.S. is a graduate of Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. Jethanandani now practices ayurveda in San Jose.