The lineup for the 2014 Chicago South Asian Film Festival has been announced. In addition to all of the features and shorts that will air during the festival, a number of artists will be in attendance as well. Sendhil Ramamurthy will be on hand to discuss his film, Brahmin Bulls, while actor/director Rajat Kapoor will close the festival with a Q&A session regarding Ankhon Dekhi. Prior to the screening of Ankhon Dekhi, Kapoor will moderate a conversation with acclaimed writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The festival’s big draw is undoubtedly actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who will conduct Q&A sessions for two of his films playing at CSAFF 2014: Liar’s Dice and Monsoon Shootout.
The festival runs from September 18-21, and tickets are available now. Click here for the full schedule.
The poster for this week’s big Bollywood release, Ekk Deewana Tha, shrewdly bills the movie as “An A.R. Rahman & Javed Akhtar Musical,” highlighting its Oscar-winning composer and acclaimed lyricist rather than the movie’s relatively unknown stars.
After posting respectable U.S. theater earnings of $637,100 in its first week, the romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu gets a second week at all of the above theaters. The revenge thriller Agneepath carries over for a fourth week at the South Barrington 30, having earned $1,912,870 from three weeks in the United States.
If any Indian director can become a crossover success in the United States, it will probably be someone from the Akhtar family. Farhan Akhtar updated the movie musical with last year’s Rock On!!, and now his sister, Zoya, shows just how mature and sophisticated Indian storytelling can be in Luck By Chance.
Zoya’s directorial debut follows the careers and personal lives of up-and-coming actors Sona (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Vikram (Farhan Akhtar). As the two navigate their way through auditions and bit roles with titles like “Dead Sister’s Friend”, their struggles prove the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
The world Sona and Vikram inhabit feels authentic, in part because the characters in Luck By Chance actually talk with one another. In many Bollywood movies, feelings and worldly truths are expressed via extended speeches — and not in the course of normal conversation, as happens in real life. Zoya & Farhan’s father, poet Javed Akhtar, wrote the movie’s dialogue, and he deserves much of the credit for its creative success.
The plot proceeds in unexpected (yet always believable) directions, further separating Luck By Chance from typical Bollywood fare. A smart U.S. distributor would’ve marked this as an Indian arthouse film and targeted it toward Western audiences. As it stands, it may not be in theaters much longer, so I recommend seeing it while you can.