Captivating Provocative, Evocative Films at 16th Indian Film Festival Houston


HOUSTON: The Indian Film Festival of Houston has long been recognized for the excellence and variety of its selections. The 16th annual event, held once again at the Asia Society on Southmore St. in the Museum District, outdid itself this year. Chosen from 47 submissions, the shorts, documentaries, and feature films were unlike the ones that are usually seen in local theaters. Each was unique, intelligent, and thought-provoking. Sutapa Ghosh, Founder and Director of IFFH, along with programmers who previewed each motion picture, selected the very best.


The documentary “Parama: A Journey” with Aparna Sen, about the beloved actress, filmmaker, and political activist, directed by Suman Ghosh, was shown on Friday, February 23. Also screened were the short film “Ghost Walk”, a humorous case of mistaken identity, and the feature film “It’s Time to Go”, inspired by a true story of an elderly couple who want life to have a happy ending—one of their choosing.  Both films were directed by Ananth Madhadevan.  While Ghosh was in the theater to do a Q&A for his film, Madhadevan appeared on the large screen via Zoom.  The audience was very engaged and asked relevant questions that provoked interesting answers.


The films screened on Saturday, February 24, were the documentary “Colours of Life” directed by Praveen Morchhale; the short film “Naam”, directed by Sooraj Gunjal, about a single mother who changed her identity to get a job so she can provide for her and her son; and the feature film “Kabuliwala”, directed by Suman Ghosh.   The film is based on the short story written by the late venerated author and poet Rabindranath Tagore concerns a middle-aged Afghan man, mistaken for a Pakistani, who comes to India to send money home to take care of his young daughter.  He meets a little girl the age of his daughter and loves her like his own.  Some residents of the city misinterpret his actions and trouble ensues.  Although the tale has been made into other films, this one left women and men in tears.  Gunjal and Ghosh were eloquent in answering the questions proposed by the moviegoers.


Founder and Executive Director of IFFH, Sutapa Ghosh, Director Suman Ghosh and Ruchi Mukherjee from LCAHouston International Society News.

After a reception in the foyer, Indian Consul General D.C. Manjunath came to the auditorium stage and addressed the audience, giving kudos to Sutapa Ghosh and IFFH board members. He was followed by Houston Councilwoman Carolyn Evans-Shabazz who presented the group a proclamation from Mayor John Whitmire announcing the Indian Film Festival of Houston Day.

Selecting the best picture in each category was challenging, as all were outstanding. The Best Short Film Award was presented for “Naam” to Sooraj Gunjal by Consul General Manjunath.  Alfred Cervantes, President of IFFH, gave the Best Documentary Award to Suman Ghosh for “Parama: A Journey with Aparna Sen”. This was the first time in IFFH history that a director was given a second award in the same year as Ghosh won again for his feature film “Kabuliwala”.  Ending the ceremony, a Special Recognition Award was given to Amanth Mahadevan for “It’s Time To Go”.

The foyer was beautifully decorated by Décor One for the event where attendees enjoyed Indian food provided by Verandah’s Taste of India while enjoying melodies played by the Moodafaruka, Music Beyond Borders group.