Three Indians make it New Zealand International Film Festival

Shows in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin

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Wellington, July 14, 2017

Three Indian films have made it to the New Zealand International Film Festival this year.

The Festival will be held in Auckland from July 20 to August 6; in Wellington from July 28 at August 13; in Christchurch from August 3 to August 20; and in Dunedin from August 8 to August 30, 2017.

Group Rates

The Wellington based New Zealand Film Festival is offering discounted rates for group bookings of 20 or more to facilitate individuals and groups to either use them as a group booking or use them as a fundraiser by charging a higher rate to their patrons and customers.

Hotel Salvation 2016

Mukti Bhawan

Directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani

In this gentle comedy of family ties from India an old man, convinced by a dream that he is about to die, obliges his office-workaholic son to accompany him to the holy city of Varanasi.

This Hindi comedy set in a Varanasi hotel where the faithful prepare to die addresses issues of tradition and modernity, life and death and family ties with gentle good humour. An ominous dream has convinced 77-year-old Dayanand Kumar that his end is drawing near, though no one else in the family can see any reason why the healthy old man should believe this.

Nonetheless, his middle-aged son Rajiv feels duty bound to set aside his important job, leave behind his wife and daughter and accompany his father to the holy city.

Stipulated Stay

Two weeks is the stipulated maximum stay at the dilapidated Hotel Salvation, but as the old man engages with the other guests it becomes clear that several of them have been in residence much longer.

As the days become weeks, the harried Rajiv is forced to reckon with his father and the power of tradition as he never has before.

At 25 years old himself, director Shubhashish Bhutiani adds a millennial bounce to his wry observation of generational difference through uptight Rajiv’s generous, life-embracing daughter.

“The film humorously illustrates the traditional Hindi philosophy of death and freedom from entrapment and attachment, but in such a low-key way it’s never a burden. Though the film has many elements that bring to mind the Indian retirement haven of ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and its sequel, Bhutiani’s take on the subject is embedded in Indian culture and Hindu rituals… The humour is whisper-soft, taking the edge off potential morbidity… Though the acting is low-key, it’s full of warmth and tenderness that involves the audience in the shared joy, worry and grief of an identifiable family.”

-Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter

Show dates and times:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 2 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 345 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 1145 am at Rialto Cinemas, New Market

Saturday, August 5, 2017 at Rialto Cinemas, New Market

For Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin schedules, please visit www.nziff.co.nz

Newton 2017

Directed by Amit V Masurkar

In this wry tragicomedy, a rookie government clerk finds himself entrusted with a task that appears deceptively simple: collecting 76 votes in a remote village in the jungle of central India.

Democracy nemesis

In this droll dark comedy from India, Newton, an earnest young office worker, volunteers as a poll supervisor, carrying the banner of democracy into the deepest jungle. Helicoptered into remote central India to collect votes from 76 oppressed indigenous villagers, he is warned by the local military representative that none of them will show, for fear that they will be ambushed by communist guerrillas in the area.

The young idealist soon comes to see the pragmatic soldier, tasked with protecting the highly exposed polling station, as democracy’s nemesis.

As the hours pass with little more than a rumour of a voter in the vicinity, seasoned poll workers make light of the situation and the local liaison officer attempts in vain to open Newton’s eyes to the realities of local life and the genuine threat of violence.

Lyrical sense

Director Amit V. Masurkar infuses his film with an uncannily lyrical sense of the landscape and mines both tension and deadpan comedy out of the long stretches of waiting and mutual irritation. As Newton, Rajkumar Rao is a surreptitiously charismatic comic marvel: his insistence on democratic principle may be woefully misplaced but it is also quite irresistibly touching.

Show dates and times:

Friday, July 21, 2017 at 215 pm at Rialto Cinemas New Market

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 130 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 630 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

For Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin schedules, please visit www.nziff.co.nz

An Insignificant Man 2016

Directed by Khushboo Ranka, Vinay Shukla

With exceptional access, this documentary about the rise of India’s newest parliamentary party, the Common Man’s Party (AAP), and the divisive, charismatic man at its heart, makes for riveting viewing.

Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla will be in attendance for a Q&A following both screenings.

The global backlash against neo-liberalism finds its Indian champion in this fascinating behind-the-scenes account of the rise of the former tax official turned anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal and The Common Man’s Party (AAP).

Obviously partial to his cause but attentive to the complexities and contradictions of the man and an organisation still arguing its way into shape, the filmmakers make the most of two years’ worth of exceptional access.

The Common Man’s Party

Going into the 2013 Delhi elections, the established parties realise that AAP is making inroads into their support, and the film assumes the urgency of a political thriller, delving deeper into media warfare and governmental machinations in the world’s largest democracy.

The film has been effectively silenced in India by the Censor Board, who have demanded No Objection Certificates from the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Delhi and ex-Chief Minister of Delhi, before clearing the film for public viewing.

“It’s like asking Michael Moore to furnish a certificate from George W Bush before clearing Fahrenheit 9/11,” say filmmakers Ranka and Shukla.

Show Dates and Times:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 8 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 315 pm at ASB Waterfront Theatre

For Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin schedules, please visit www.nziff.co.nz

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