Pravasi Film Festival Special



A Report by BB Nagpal

Manoj Bajpai, Mauritian President Aneerood Jugnauth

The first Pravasi Film Festival is being organized with support of Mauritius High Commission in India.The Mookhesswur Choonee, High Commissioner of Mauritius in India is one of the patron of the festival. Mauritius Cinema, especially Bhojpuri language cinema will be one of the main attractions of the festival. 

India began celebrating Pravasi Divas almost a decade earlier, in an effort to link people of Indian origin and non-resident Indians with their homeland at least once a year, and with the expectation that those who have gone and settled overseas will make a meaningful contribution to the development of their motherland.


It is recognized that one of the best bonds that Indians living overseas have with their homeland is through Indian films and those made by PIOs living overseas.


To be organized by the periodical ‘Pravasi Today’ at the India Habitat Centre in collaboration with Pravasi Today, New Delhi with the support of the Mauritius High Commission in India, the festival will be held from 3rd to 6th January.


The Mauritius President, His Excellency Sir Anerood Jugnauth was in Delhi last month to unveil the Awards that will be given away after the first-ever film festival featuring films made by those living overseas or made outside the country. Eminent guests such as Shri Raj Babbar, Shri Manoj Bajpai, Shri Shekhar Suman, Shri Ashok Chakradhar-Poet, Shri Rajiv Shukla-Member of Parliament, Shri Shabir Ali-Member of Parliament, Shri Milap Duggar-Vice Chancellor, IASE University were present for the ceremony which heralded the launch of the Film Festival this Month.


To grace the occasion, which launches the first ever effort to recognize films made by filmmakers living away from their homeland were Mr. Harish Rawat, Hon. Minister of State, Ministry of Labour and Employment as the chief guest. The occasion coincided with the launch of special issue of Pravasi Today-“Mauritius- The Diaspora Capital”.


The need for an international film festival where all the Diaspora filmmakers could showcase their films has long been envisioned. The urge to remain connected to their roots in India in this form or that is an everlasting feeling in the filmmakers of Indian origin.  Pravasi Today has also been successfully organizing many international festivals for several years apart from organizing Cultural Exchange Programmes between India and many European countries.Team Details of the Festival to be held in January 2010 can be found on The event is expected to attract approximately around 5000 guests.


A large number of personalities who are expected to participate in the Film Festival. They include Meera Nair, Deepa Mehta, Gurinder Chadha Saeed Jaffrey, Sahrmila Tagore, Soha Ali Khan, Adoor Gopalakishnana, Poorva Bedi of American Desi fame, Nasreen Munni Kabeer, Shandell Prasad, Manoj Bajpai, Prakash Jha, Karan Razdan, Rahul Rawail and Satish Kaushik.


Of the almost twenty films to be screened at the Festival, some are Life Goes On, ‘Monsoon Wedding’, ‘New York’, ‘The President is coming’, and ‘Inner World of Shahrukh KhanKhan’. Apart from these, films from Yash Chopra Films and Sippy productions will also be screened during the festival.


About ‘Pravasi Today’


 ‘Pravasi Today’ ( is an international bi-lingual monthly meant for NRIs and PIOs. With its presence in around 125 countries all over the world, Pravasi Today is dedicated to the Indian Diaspora readers who reside in countries across the globe. The India Diaspora, as we all know, is the brand ambassador of a changing, dynamic and vibrant India in many ways and has been acclaimed throughout the world for its hard work, enterprise and success in every conceivable field. Pravasi Today reflects the dynamic world of the India Diaspora.



Full Length feature films by NRI filmmakers


Bhavishya The future - Starring -  Saeed Jaffery – Director-Dr. Nikhil Kaushik


Film explores professional migration. The film features Saeed Jaffrey and members of the medical profession and puts across the roller coaster life such professionals lead. The film is to a large extent inspired by and focuses upon the lives of International Medial Graduates in the British National Health Service.


Flavours – Director: Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru


The US-based director duo, Raj and DK write and direct their films together. Their first theatrical feature, FLAVORS won rave reviews from around the world. It remains a very popular film among expats. FLAVORS is a hilarious comedy film that weaves multiple stories about Indians in America, trying to underline the fact that world is really small if seen with a broad perspective of world-view. Large part of the film is in English language



Waterborne  - Director - Ben Reikhi , Starring Shaban Azmi

Film follows the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the water supply of Los Angeles. Thematically, it evokes elements of “War of the Worlds,” “Crash,” and even Chris Marker’s sci-fi classic, “La Jetee.” It interweaves multiple story strands over a four-day period during which the city reacts and slowly succumbs to the news that terrorists have poisoned the water.



Famous documentary work by NRI filmmakers


 Bismillah of Benaras -  a BBC production on Ustaad Bismillah Khan

           Inner World of Shahrukh Khan – A Documentary on Shahrukh Khan

          ( Both directed by  Nasreen Munni Kabeer)



A Bristol Pilgrimage- In Search of Raja Ram Mohan Roy’ - Directed by Aniruddho Sanya,


 A documentary on last days in England of Rajah Ram Mohan Roy- Aniruddho Sanyal’s maiden effort is not a straightforward biopic. In fact, as he tentatively embarks on his research into the last few weeks of RamMohun Roy’s life in England, the author emerges as one of the key protagonists of this documentary. This ‘pilgrimage’ is almost as much the story of the West’s encounter with the man widely regarded as the Father of Modern India as it is an account of Mr. Sanyal’s reappraisal of his illustrious compatriot’s impact on the West.


 Beyond Partition’ - Dir- Lalit Mohan


The documentary on Partition as a subject in Hindi films., The film explores the trauma of Partition and how it impacted on filmmakers from the Indian subcontinent. Renowned filmmakers/writers, Gulzar,  Govind Nihalani,M.S. Sathyu, Shama Zaidi, Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar interviewd for the film


Once More Removed – Dir - Shundell Prasad


 About 150 years later, Shundell Prasad, a young decendant of two of laborers retraced the route her forefathers took from their homes in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. She documented her efforts in the documentary. Starting in the Caribbean Indian neighborhoods of Queens, NY, Prasad went back to the Guyana where she was born and which her family left in the 1980s. From there, she found her way to Kolkata, India , and finally, Muzaffarput and Azamgarh in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

In making the film Prasad met with many relatives that her family had left in Guyana, and with politicians, bureaucrats, academics, and ordinary people there and everywhere else.




Short Films by NRI Film Maker


Shor –  Director: Krishna D.K. and Raj Nidimoru

After the much-acclaimed feature, FLAVORS, directors Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK have come with a unique short film that is playing at various prestigious film festivals around the world. Shor (Noise), won the Best Short Film Award at the recently concluded Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) Film Festival in New York. Shot guerilla style, Shor is an experiment of sorts. Dealing with a sensitive, very relevant subject with a unique sense of humor, this raw, gritty film tries to capture the true spirit of Mumbai. Earlier this year, Shor was shortlisted at Cannes Film Festival. According to IndieWire, Shor was one of the hottest short films that featured at two of the three biggest international short film festivals: Palm Springs International and LA Shorts Fest. Shor also won Best Cinematography for its visually arresting filmmaking style at the San Francisco Shorts Fest. It was officially screened at other renowned festivals such as Raindance (UK), Hawaii and Rhode Island Film Festivals.

EXTROSPECTION- Starring – Poorva Bedi of Americam Desi fame,Director : Manan Singh Katohora


Film is about the relationship between the mother and daughter and sharing their thoughts and revealing their true desires, which can have an everlasting effect on each other's lives.


Tea Shop On the Moon – Director- Anish Babu Verghese


Set against the backdrop of an alarming number of suicides by Indian workers in the Gulf, Chandranile Chayakada (Tea shop on the moon) follows the twin stories of expat workers, Pappan and Lonappan. Out of job and luck Pappan contemplates taking his own life. Even Lonappan decides to end it all before coming across Vasu, an enterprising Keralite who runs a mobile teashop on a remote sea shore.

 Special session on Punjabi Diaspora


Assan Nu Maan Watan Da – Director - Manmohan Singh


 Flying Sikh’, - A production of Sikh Art and Film Foundation. The film is about the brave Fighter pilots like Ambassador Hardit Singh Malik, Air Chief Marshall Arjan Singh and others who fought in the WW1 and WW2 and later on played a key role to establish the IAF. It is a 45 minute documentary


An NRI Film Business Forum with panel discussion on various issues by eminent NRI filmmakers, with representative of FICCI and ASSOCHAM and government representatives will also be held.


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