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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2010 Intro

Film Flam Flummox

The 2010 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opened yesterday, April 20, with a screening of the Canadian film Cooking with Stella and will run through this Sunday, April 25. I will be here covering a couple of days, starting with tonight's screening of this year's Indian Foreign Language Film Oscar entry Harishchandrachi Factory, about the very birth of the Indian film industry. Also on my prospective screening agenda during the fest: Raakh (Ashes to Ashes) Redux, a recut version of a 1989 Aamir Khan starrer; and--of most interest to me--the revised "international director's cut" of Karan Johar's Shahrukh Khan-Kajol reunion My Name Is Khan, which Fox Searchlight initially released worldwide (including in America) on February 12. Running over a half hour shorter than the original cut, I'm especially curious to see if condensing the film will improve it any (I kind of doubt it, as the issues this enjoyable film does have go beyond run time). I've already reviewed during their initial theatrical runs: the middling crime drama Kaminey (Rascals), starring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra and featuring the smash single "Dhan Te Nan" (which more than bears a similarity to the Dick Dale classic "Misirlou"); and 3 Idiots, which lit up the international box office upon its release in December. As someone who keeps up with and covers Bollywood theatrical releases as closely as I do with Hollywood releases, these selections are a bit redundant for me, but it's great that films such as these (especially 3 Idiots) are given a more visible platform to L.A. cineastes who are unaware of the thriving Bollywood exhibition circuit in America (whose audience I've seen grow substantially beyond the Non-Resident Indian population since I saw Devdas at my (then-newly-opened) local "Bollyplex," the Naz 8 in Lakewood, back in 2002) and perhaps get them to seek these films out during their day-and-date-with-India general Stateside releases, which are a lot wider than most are aware. Hopefully some effort will be made at the festival this year to inform and remind audiences that Indian films are always released on local screens on a very regular basis throughout the year.

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