The annual MIAAC film festival that premiered 47 Indian and diaspora films came to an end with "Bombay Summer" bagging the top three awards

“Bombay Summer”, which explores the fleeting and delicate friendship among three young people, won top three awards including best film and best director at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) Film Festival here in which Deepti Naval also bagged an honour.

Joseph Mathew-Varghese was adjudged the best director and Tannishtha Chatterjee the best actress for her role in “Bombay Summer”, which, set in contemporary India, subtly mirrors the turmoil within tradition-bound Indian society as it copes with change and rapid modernisation.

Naval won the best screenplay award for her directorial debut “Two Paise for Sunshine, Four Annas for Rain”, an atmospheric ode to Bollywood musicals with Manisha Koirala in an unusual love affair with a gay man. Aasif Mandvi was named best actor for his role in “Today’s Special”, the festival’s opening film that is a comedy set in New York City.

“Good Night” by Geetika Narang won the best short film award while the best documentary film prize went to “The Salt Stories” by Lalit Vachani.

The festival, which ran from November 11-15, saw the screening of 47 films which spotlighted the established and emerging Indian independent filmmakers.

Celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri, Mira Nair, Shyam Benegal and Manisha Koirala attended the closing function which saw the US premiere of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s “The Endless Wait (Antaheen)”.

Festival winners were chosen by a jury comprising 10 members specialising in film. Awards were also presented to three student NYU filmmakers for their one-minute films entitled “My MIAAC” on their cell phone cameras.

The festival premiered 44 Indian and diaspora films and held special events, with a sidebar on ‘Kashmir in Film’, and discussion panels focusing on themes like ‘Queer Bollywood’ and ‘the changing landscape of Indian film business.’

Other festival highlights included an evening with Mira Nair, an evening with Sharmila Tagore and a celebration of contemporary Bengali cinema.

In its ninth year, the annual festival also presented veteran Benegal’s comic take on Indian politics “Well Done Abba” and Anurag Kashyap’s “Gulaal”.

Since its inception in 2001, MIAAC has established itself as one of the premiere Indian film festival in the U.S., introducing audiences to films such as Oscar winner “Slumdog Millionaire”, Mira Nair’s “The Namesake” and “Monsoon Wedding”, Deepa Mehta’s “Water” and Gurinder Chadha’s “Bride & Prejudice“.

The regular public screenings were held at the Quad Cinema, with special screenings at the Paris Theatre, Walter Reade Theater, the National Museum of the American Indian, and NYU’s Cantor Center.

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