On Friday, November 25, the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF) kicks off for its sixth year. The 2016 festival lineup delivers an array of compelling shorts, documentaries and feature films, broadening the ongoing debate on identity with new perspectives from Canadian and global filmmakers. The festival is committed to supporting artists and introduce more people to original, authentic South Asian storytelling, especially with the continued theme of #BollywoodandBeyond. To help get you prepped for this year’s lineup here are seven films to look out for at VISAFF 2016:
Wrong Side Raju (Gujarati Feature Film)
Raju Ambani, a driver by day and bootlegger by night, is a simple and charming guy who dreams of opening his own travel agency someday. He falls in love with Shaily Asher, a French girl who has come down to Ahmedabad at the behest of her friend Tanmay Shah. Life was seemingly perfect for Raju till he finds himself unwillingly stuck in a hit and run situation involving Tanmay, who happens to be the son of an affluent lawyer, Mr. Amitabh Shah.
Jagjit Singh: Kagaaz Ki Kasti (Feature Film)
50 years of singing, over 5,000 concerts, more than 40 countries on music tours, 80 albums, 500 plus ghazals, 300 bhajans and many memorable film songs that will resound loud for eternity — Jagjit Singh’s star status as a ghazal singer remains unquestioned. This biopic film enters the core of viewers’ hearts. As India’s most iconic ghazal maestro by all accounts, generations have turned to him in their moments of sorrow, pain, anguish, dejection, as much as they have in their times of triumphs & celebrations. Recommended for music lovers.
Badman (Opening Night Film)
A mad, comic caper where the legendary Bad Man Gulshan Grover relaunches himself in the film industry, but this time as a hero! With celebrity cameos and hilarious delusional situations with the ‘young hero’ Gulshan Grover, Badman explores the funny side of Bollywood.
Moe Sihota: Feared and Desired (Local Documentary)
This documentary explores the achievements of Moe Sihota, British Columbia’s first local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and cabinet minister of South Asian/Sikh heritage. It dwells less on his short-comings but overall presents his story as it deserves to be told: mostly from Moe’s point of view. Recommended for anyone interested in provincial politics.
Commitment (Local Short Film)
Rahul, a passionate dancer, decides to leave his dance career to get married to Asha and becomes a lawyer like her father. Years later he wakes up and realizes he is un-happy.
Escaping Agra (Short Film)
After being held against their will in India when their gender identity is discovered, Naveen Bhat battles their parents in court and pieces their life back together.
The Specials (Local Short Film)
Riley is just like any other young girl: she’s fresh off a breakup and looking for love — except she has a disability that leaves her in a wheelchair. Faced with a set of blind dates, Riley must confront her disability in ways she could never have imagined and learn the one truth about love that transcends all differences.
When: Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27
Where: SFU Woodwards
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As a restless soul and true multitasker, Jessie Kaur is diligently focused on pursuing many passions, often at the same time. She wears many hats: academic, communications professional, and writer among others. She is the co-founder of Kaur Project, food storyteller at Indian Influence, food creative at Delhi Eats, and co-producer at VISAFF.