UK Asian Film Festival brings Bollywood to Leicester


“Climate of Change” themed programme of films and events exploring Societal transformation in today’s world

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Festival runs from Thu 9 to Sun 12  May 2024 at Phoenix Cinema in Leicester with:

  • 50 industry years marked at Celebrating The Golden Girl: Shabana Azmi on 9 May with screenings of Mandi (1983) and Rocky aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (2023) and In Conversation with Mike McCahill
  • Legendary actress Supriya Pathak Kapur to attend the Premiere on Sat 11 May, in conversation with British Asian actor and influencer Parle Patel after the screening ofjer latest film, Baby Crasto
  • Leicester Festival opens with documentary Brand Bollywood…Down Under and feature film Minimum on Fri 10 May
  • Closing Film to welcome director, Anshuman Jha, at UK Premiere of Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, on 12 May

UK Asian Film Festival – the world’s longest running South Asian film festival – has unveiled the full programme for its 26th edition. Running at venues across London, Leicester  and Oxford from Thursday 2nd – Sunday 12th May, UK Asian Film Festival is presented by Tongues on Fire and is supported by the BFI, awarding funds from the BFI Audience Projects Fund. UK Asian Film Festival is powered by broadcast partners, SONY TV and Lyca Radio. TV Partner for UKAFF Short Film Competition is Shorts TV.  The Leicester edition of the UK Asian Film Festival is delivered by Phizzical.

UK Asian Film Festival has historically championed South Asian female-centric cinema and women in film – both behind and in front of the camera.  Its programmes have annually sought to disrupt the patriarchal status quo and initiate challenging conversations in its mission to advocate and promote gender equality in cinema.

This year’s Climate of Change theme reflects the sense that the air is shifting in our society; that we are ready to move on from the experiences of the recent past. To navigate this journey through film, the UKAFF programme brings inspiration, joy and moments of delight. Cinema is a tool for change as it brings people closer together; it sparks conversations; amplifies voices; and builds empathy. Stories guide us to confront the complexities of our world with bravery, compassion and action.”

The World Premiere of Minimum (India/ Belgium, 2024; Language: English, Hindi and French with English subtitles) in London is followed by a screening in Leicester. This directorial debut of U.S.-born Belgian actor, Rumana Molla, is on Fri 10 Mat. A touching drama set in Belgium, Minimum centres around the trials and tribulations of a newlywed Indian woman Fauzia, who travels to Belgium following an arranged marriage over the phone, only to find herself trapped in a web of lies and misgivings. As new friendships are formed and secrets are revealed, Fauzia embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns to demand more than bare minimum from life. In attendance will be actor & director Rumana Molla;

The Closing Film will be the UK Premiere of acclaimed actor Anshuman Jha’s directorial debut, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli (India, 2023; Language: Hindi with English subtitles), on Saturday 11th May at Regent Street Cinema, London. The black comedy-thriller tells the story of four South Asians abroad in the UK, who meet over an impromptu dinner that leads to a murderous night. A screening and introduction by director Anshuman Jha will take place on Sunday 12th May at Phoenix, Leicester.

Among this year’s programme, the UK Premiere of Gunjal (Pakistan, 2023; Dir: Shoiab Sultan; Language: Urdu with English subtitles) will take place on will take place on Saturday 11th May at Phoenix, Leicester. The film tells the story of Shahbaz Bhatti, a journalist in a Punjabi city, covering the acquittal of a man charged with murdering a 12-year-old labour activist. Recognising inconsistencies and loopholes in the verdict, he starts digging to find the truth, one lead at a time.

The World Premiere of legendary actress Supriya Pathak Kapur’s latest film, Baby Crasto (India, 2024; Dir: Jesal Shah; Language: Hindi with English subtitles), will take place on Saturday 11th May at Phoenix, Leicester. The film presents the story of Jako, a small-time gambler, and Vasu, a petty robber around Goa, whose paths cross at the Blue Bird Shack. Jako, looking for his ex-wife Maria, owes a huge sum of money to the local Goan mafia and needs Maria to sign off on their property. Vasu needs money to marry his hooker girlfriend who has served him an ultimatum. Both find out at the motel that Maria is on the run for robbing her landlady, Baby Crasto, and is wanted by the Goa police. However the locals at the shack believe that Maria is not a thief and that the old lady, Baby Crasto, is a cranky trouble maker, falsely accusing Maria. All hell breaks loose on the fateful night of Baby’s 60th birthday party, revealing a series of bizarre incidents about Baby, the secret of the prized money and missing Maria. Supriya Pathak Kapur will be present for a post screening in conversation with Parle Patel.

Also part of the festival’s LGBTQ strand this year will be the World Premiere of Kuch Sapney Apne (India/ Sweden, 2024; Dir: Sridhar Rangayan; Language: Hindi with English subtitles) – a sensitive and heartwarming film about a gay couple based in Mumbai and their life struggles, while their family members back home in a small town face new challenges that force everyone to redefine their relationships. The screening on Saturday 11th May at Phoenix, Leicester. will be followed by a Q&A with director, Sridhar Rangayan.

Behroze Gandhy’s Flight – a tense and moving drama following a young Asian woman as she flees domestic abuse will be screened in at Saturday 11th May at Phoenix, Leicester.

Celebrating The Golden Girl: Shabana Azmi will celebrate 50 industry years of veteran Indian actress, Shabana Azmi – globally recognised for her work in both Indian and mainstream television, theatre and film. Azmi will be felicitated for her portrayals of distinctive, often unconventional female characters across several genres, following a screening of her social comedy film Mandi (India, 1983; Dir: Shyam Benegal; Language: Hindi with English subtitles) on Thursday 9th May at Phoenix, Leicester; and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani (Idia, 2023; Dir: Karan Johar; Language: Hindi with English subtitles) on Thursday 9th May at Phoenix, Leicester.

UK Asian Film Festival Founder and Director, Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry MBE says, “Join us at the UK Asian Film Festival, where we celebrate feminism, diversity and empower emerging British Asian talents. Our ‘Creative Minds of Tomorrow’ initiative at BFI Southbank offers exclusive, behind-the-scenes insights and skills workshops led by industry experts, empowering aspiring filmmakers to craft diverse narratives. Through unique cinematic experiences, we aim to shape their identities, boost self-confidence and encourage learning from diverse perspectives. Under the theme, ‘Climate of Change,’ we aspire to instil in young filmmakers a profound sense of self-respect and self-worth, fostering personal growth and contributing to societal progress.”

UK Asian Film Festival Creative Director, Samir Bhamra says, “We are at a critical juncture of political and economic uncertainty, and something has to shift globally. Our festival provides a vital platform to see amazing films, amplify voices, ignite conversations and make new connections with empathy. Now more than ever, cinema is a conduit for change. I hope our programme inspires all communities to embrace the complexities of our world with courage, love and action to bridge divides.”


Miyrah Mistry, Head of Marketing for Sony Pictures Networks Europe says, “SONY TV is excited to continue their partnership with UK Asian Film Festival. The festival has opened doors to thousands by providing a platform to showcase and promote South Asian talent globally. This year UKAFF will showcase the best films and give you the opportunity to mingle with well-known actors, directors and music artists. We look forward to seeing you there!”


Raj Baddhan, CEO of Lyca Media says, “We’re thrilled to be selected as the exclusive radio partner of the biggest Asian film festival in the UK. We’ll be enhancing the coverage of UKAFF 2024 across the Lyca Radio Network and bringing our listeners all the updates with film guides, celebrity interviews and live shows from the Opening and Closing ceremony. At Lyca Radio, we believe in connecting with our audiences with things that matter in their community and, with UKAFF 2024, we are doing precisely that.”

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