Amirali Dodhiya- Home Page
Houston Community College-Home Page
Texas Renaissance Festival- Home Page

8th Annual Indian Film Festival of Houston

From left: Anupam Ray (Consul General of India), Carolyn Farb, Sutapa Ghosh (Founder and Festival Director), and Iqbal Khan.

From left: Anupam Ray (Consul General of India), Carolyn Farb, Sutapa Ghosh (Founder and Festival Director), and Iqbal Khan.
Photos: Krishna Giri

By Ellen Goldberg

HOUSTON: Audiences attending the 8th Annual Indian Film Festival of Houston (IFFH) were treated to two features, two documentaries, and a short during the event held October 28 and 29 at the Asia Society Center. In keeping with the high standards that viewers have come to expect, Sutapa Ghosh, Founder and Festival Director, brought the best of the best from all parts of India.

Although American audiences have become fans of Bollywood films, the Indian Film Festival of Houston offers an opportunity to discover unique motion pictures with universal themes highlighting diverse perspectives of the Indian Diaspora. Opening night guests enjoyed music by Moodafaruka, food by Nirvana, greetings by Indian Consul General, The Honorable Anupam Ray, and screenings. The documentary by director Elisa Paloschi, “Driving with Selvi,” is about South India’s first female taxi driver who unwillingly becomes a bride at 15, escapes an abusive marriage, and defies all expectations by sheer will and intelligence. The feature film that evening was “Budhia Singh—Born to Run,” directed by Soumendra Padhi, and is based on the early life of the world’s youngest marathoner (starting at the age of 5). His story was internationally reported because of his gift and the controversy concerning whether to let him continue in the sport that he loved, or whether the trainer was exploiting him.

IFFH Board members : From Left; Krishna Giri, James Harris, Parul Fernandez, Ellen Goldberg, Arzan Gonda, Sneha Merchant, Iqbal khan, Sutapa Ghosh, Atul Badwal, Aric Nitzberg, Thierry Rignol, Jose Grinan.

IFFH Board members : From Left; Krishna Giri, James Harris, Parul Fernandez, Ellen Goldberg, Arzan Gonda, Sneha Merchant, Iqbal khan, Sutapa Ghosh, Atul Badwal, Aric Nitzberg, Thierry Rignol, Jose Grinan.

The closing night’s festivities featured food by Nirvana, dances by Rhythm India under the direction of Arzan Gonda, and the presentation of awards at a ceremony emceed by Fox 26 Senior Morning News Anchor Jose Grinan. Three films were shown that evening. The documentary, “Amdavad Ma Famous—Famous in Ahmedabad,” directed by Hardik Mehta, takes place during the kite-flying festival in Gujarat and features 11-year-old Zaid who becomes a passionate and aggressive kite-runner who fights for the right to use a terrace of the building next door on the biggest day of the event. The short film “Daaravtha—The Threshold,” directed by Nishant Roy Bombarde, is about Pankaj, an adolescent who is discovering his sexuality amid accepted norms of a patriarchal Indian upbringing. He finds a way to express his desires in a socially acceptable way. Director Munish Bhardwaj’s feature film “Moh Maya Money—In Greed We Trust,” tells the story of a young real-estate broker whose huge scam goes terribly awry, affecting the lives of his wife, others, and, ultimately, himself.

IFFH Board members with the Band Moodafaruka

IFFH Board members with the Band Moodafaruka

Two winners were present to receive their awards in person. Not only was Eilisa Paloschi of “Driving with Selvi” in the audience, but so were Selvi herself, accompanied by her young daughter who stole the show. Selvi is a woman who continues to change her life, first by learning to drive and working for a taxi company, then learning to drive a bus, truck, and heavy equipment, starting her own company and aspiring to have a fleet of vehicles with her second, loving husband. She is a role model for other women in circumstances similar to those of her early years. As such, she is active in Save Her A Seat, a non-profit girls advocacy organization.

Councilman Jack Christie with Sutapa Ghosh

Councilman Jack Christie with Sutapa Ghosh

Soumendra Padhi received the award for best feature, “Budhia Singh—Born to Run.” He spoke about the search to find a young boy to play Budhia, then showing the completed film to the real Budhia who is now 14 and is forbidden by law to participate in running for at least another four years. His accounts of the actual story were riveting.
Nishant Roy Bombarde received the award for best short, “Daaravtha—The Threshold” which added to his National Award. No doubt more accolades are in store for him. Iqbal Khan, noted actor, model, and IFFH Board Member accepted the award on his behalf.

IFFH’s Philanthropy award was presented to H-E-B. Mr. James Harris, Director of Diversity, accepted the award on behalf of H-E-B.

This was another successful year for IFFH (www.iffhinc.org) which invites our readers to join us for next year’s festival in October 2017 at the Asia Society Texas Center.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *