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“But the parallel cinema - which is the independent

side of Indian cinema, the offbeat films which are

more narrative-based and often with a social message

- marks 50 years this year, so it’s not all about the

masala films.

“The festival helps to open audiences up to different

cinema from India, and make them realise there’s

more to it.”

A particular theme running through this year’s

festival is the work of female directors, whose voices

are becoming increasingly prominent in India’s

traditionally male-dominated film industry.

“It’s happening worldwide that, at last, women

filmmakers are getting funding and profile,” says


“It’s interesting to see just how fresh and strong

women filmmakers’ stories are and this is the reason

we are selecting them, not for some tokenistic gesture.

The work speaks for itself. Another new strand in

India in particular is LGBTQ+ themes which seem

to be all the rage this year after India legalised

LGBTQ+ relationships and, once again, there are so

many fresh stories about these communities coming

to the fore.”

After five successful years, the Birmingham Indian

Film Festival shows no signs of slowing down,

becoming a firm fixture on the city’s festival calendar.

“The future is bright and we continue to expand in

Birmingham and perhaps next year we will dip our

toes in other nearby Midlands towns,” says Cary.



“We are also expanding this year in Lancashire

and Yorkshire and Birmingham is a hub that can

connect very widely across the UK wherever Asian

communities are.

“Of course, Indian filmmaking continues to grow so

there is no shortage of great films.”

Birmingham Indian Film Festival screenings

will be subtitled in English. Ticket details

for all films will be available at www.

birminghamindianfilmfestival.co.uk as they

go on release.

Five minutes with Rima Das

Acclaimed director Rima Das is bringing

her third feature film Bulbul Can Sing to

Birmingham Indian Film Festival, following

the success of her film Village Rockstars

which premiered in Birmingham last year.

Tell us about Bulbul Can Sing - where did the

idea for the film come from?

Bulbul Can Sing is a story of three teenagers, their

carefree friendship, experience of first love, loss

and finding oneself in the midst of it. I feel the raw

emotions of teenage are under-explored in Indian

cinema and I wanted to tell their story. During

teenage years, an individual experiences a lot of

physical and psychological changes. From having

all the freedom as a child, suddenly there are a lot

of restrictions imposed, particularly for girls. They

experience a dilemma where they want to do a lot of

things but there have to adhere to societal pressures.

Then there is a communication gap that exists

between these youngsters and adults. They feel adults

don’t understand them. Bulbul Can Sing is a voice of

these teenagers.

Village Rockstars had its premiere in

Birmingham last year - what was that

experience like?

The response Village Rockstars received at

Birmingham was overwhelming. It only went on to

reiterate my belief that a human story transcends

geographical and cultural barriers. Interacting

with the children at the festival was a very different


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