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Film on Hindu-Muslim unity wins top award at UK festival

London: A new film about Hindu-Muslim unity bagged the top prize at the annual London Indian Film Festival (LIFF).

“A Billion Colour Story”, produced by Bollywood filmmaker Satish Kaushik and directed by Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy, won the Audience Award at the festival last evening for what was described as a heart-warming tale.

“It’s incredibly special for us that ‘A Billion Colour Story’ resonates with audiences across countries and continents. It continues to vindicate our faith that people and their hearts are the same across cultures and horizons,” the filmmakers said in a statement.

Other special awards presented by the festival, now in its eighth year and backed by the Bagri Foundation, included three Sunmark ICON Awards for South Asian directors who have made a global contribution to cinema Adoor Gopalakrishnan from Kerala, Ashutosh Gowariker from Mumbai and documentary filmmaker Pratibha Parmar from London.

“It is wonderful that the festival continues to lead the debate and not simply reflect the changing shape of Indian cinema; from this year’s Indian virtual reality showcases to bringing carefully curated important new talent to the world stage like actress Anjali Patil to showcasing emerging young directors like Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, director of closing night film ‘Sexy Durga’,” said festival executive and programming director Cary Rajinder Sawhney.

LIFF’s annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Award went to the film “Papa”, directed by Siddharth Chauhan.

“I was fighting depression and trying to win over myself in many ways, when I decided to take the challenge of making this film.

“I didn’t have a single penny and no professional assistance, but with a deep prayer in my heart and with the support of my friends in Shimla, we begged, borrowed and did everything we could, to make this film in the best possible way. It wasn’t easy for us, but I guess all the effort was worth it,” Chauhan said.

The festival this year coincides with the UK India Year of Culture celebrations in London and plugs into the British Film Institute’s (BFI) ongoing “India on Film” series.

“India has one of the world’s richest and most prolific film industries. Throughout 2017, we celebrate the diversity of Indian filmmaking and films about India, from Bollywood to Tollywood (home of Telugu and Bengali cinema) in cinemas and online,” said Robin Baker, BFI Head Curator.

—PTI