NOW BOOKING: UK Asian Film Festival (26 MAY to 06 JUN 2021)

The UK Asian Film Festival returns for its 23rd edition with the theme ‘Ray Of Hope’. Events booking now at BFI, Genesis Cinema, Rich Mix & Watermans.

By RADIANT CIRCUS // Twitter @radiantcircus | Instagram @radiantcircus

Travelling under several past titles – Tongues Of Fire and then the London Asian Film Festival – the UK Asian Film Festival is dedicated to celebrating “the richness and vibrancy of South Asian culture, history, arts, storytelling, and self-expression”.

Their 23rd edition returns to London’s reopening venues with the opening and closing nights taking place at BFI Southbank and the rest of the programme across town at venues including Rich Mix, Genesis Cinema and Watermans. There are additional events programmed in Coventry and Leicester, and some titles are available for simultaneous streaming for those even further afield.

Expect World and UK premieres. Tickets are selling now at all venues.

Here are some of our handpicked highlights:

Opening night: RAAHGIR d. Goutam Ghose, 2019 + Skype Q&A with the director at BFI Southbank (26 MAY 20:45):

“A poverty-stricken man and woman undertake an epic journey through a relentless monsoon and breathtaking nature.”


MANNY d. Dace Pūce, 2020 + Q&A with the filmmakers at Rich Mix (27 MAY 18:00):

“An Indian woman travels to Latvia for a writer’s retreat to finish her novel, with the help of her AI assistant Manny. As she climbs deeper into the recesses of her mind in search of inspiration, her smartphone assistant starts to evolve and turn increasingly aggressive in this heady sci-fi thriller that brings to life our reliance on technology like few films before it.”


GUTTER BOY d. Anupam Khanna Baswal, 2020 + Recorded Q&A with director & cast at Watermans (28 MAY 19:00):

“When we hear terms like ‘gutter’ and ‘sewage’, we picture dirty underground tunnels that we have the privilege of never having to see or experience. But not everyone has that privilege. Some are made to live in it and risk their lives as a means to earn a living. Sandeep belongs to a poor, lower caste family. Struggling to earn a living, he moves to the big city in the hopes of a better life. Instead he is merely reminded of his place in society when the only job he’s offered is of a sewage cleaner.”


PROFESSOR SHONKU AND EL DORADO d. Sandip Ray, 2019 + Q&A with the filmmakers at Rich Mix (29 MAY 17:15):

“The latest film from Sandip Ray offers a modern day adaptation of the beloved character as Professor Shonku (created by the director’s father, Satyajit Ray) embarks on a tour of Brazil, where he gets embroiled in an adventure involving native tribesmen, anacondas and the quest to find the mythical city of El Dorado.”


NIRVANA INN d. Vijay Jayapal, 2019 + Q&A with the filmmakers at Rich Mix (29 MAY 20:30):

“What’s it like to be haunted by your past? Boatman Jogiraj Chakraborthy (Adil Hussain) acts on his suicidal thoughts and capsizes his vessel mid-journey, killing every passenger on board. Months later, he signs up to be the caretaker of Himalayan resort Nirvana Inn, only to find that the guests who check in are the very people he presumed dead.”


CHOTE NAWAB d. Kumud Chaudhary, 2020 at Genesis Cinema (01 JUN 18:00):

“13-year-old Junaid, visits his ancestral Nawabi Haveli in Lucknow, over a family reunion for a wedding. Born and raised in UK, this is Junaid’s first visit to India, along with his overbearing parents, which soon turns into a roller coaster ride for him.”


THE FALSE EYE d. Rahul Riji Nair, 2020 at Genesis Cinema (03 JUN 18:00):

“Two boys steal a Camera kept for surveillance in a store aspiring to make a cinema. But their plans go astray and their attempts to abandon the Camera fails. They end up on wrong side of their actions leading to an irrecoverable loss.”


Closing Night: THE BEATLES AND INDIA d. Ajoy Bose & Peter Compton, 2021 + Skype Q&A with directors at BFI Southbank (06 JUN 15:15):

“This wonderful documentary charts the enduring love affair between The Beatles and India that started more than half a century ago.”


The UK Asian Film Festival takes places from 26 May to 06 June 2021 and is booking now at BFI, Genesis Cinema and Rich Mix.




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*THE SMALL PRINT: Opinions author’s own. // As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version only. // Event dates/times/formats are subject to change by the venue/organiser. Events may already be sold out at the time of posting, so please click quickly. // We try to list as many original format screenings as we can (8 to 70MM), but sometimes formats change due to age of the print, availability, logistics etc, so please check ahead with your venue if the format is your thing. // All images are used in the spirit of fair use for reporting & review – no ownership is implied or intended / unless otherwise credited to RADIANT CIRCUS as the original rights holder. We will remove any images immediately upon request – just get in touch. // We don’t filter our listings by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should therefore be 18+. // Finally, we always try to follow The Carny Code by “not screwing up anyone else’s game”, but everyone can make mistakes… If something does go wrong, we will always do our best to put it right. //.