The Melbourne International Film Festival is back! Going fully digital this year (it’s even been dubbed MIFF 68½), the festival is set to stream from 6 August to 23 August. Leaving out the packed theatres, strict screening schedules, and long queues, this year brings with it the luxury of watching it at home.
The streamable selection on their website this year is a ripper, with an amazing 12 world premieres and 83 Australian premieres with a whopping 113 features in total. Among all these entries, we’ve managed to find four special gems with an Indian connection to relish at MIFF.
So charge your laptop, plug in your telly (or project it, your choice!) for a full-blown experience. Don’t forget the popcorn!
Directed by Gitanjali Rao and produced by Rohit Khattar, Bombay Rose is a “Bollywood-inspired animated feature about two star-crossed lovers from the slums of Mumbai.” By day, Kamala sells flowers. When night falls, she transforms into a dancer at an illegal nightclub. Her family depends on her income, but she invites complication into her life when she falls for a handsome Muslim man named Salim.
Bombay Rose promises to be a beautifully hand-painted animation that’s an ode to Bollywood. It’s entertaining but promises subtle nuances in its look at poverty, religious conflict, and sexual exploitation of women. It’s in Hindi with English subtitles and includes musical sequences, eye-catching visuals, and the promise of hope even in the most dire settings.
Don’t Forget to Go Home
In Don’t Forget to Go Home, two Fijian-Indian sisters reek of disobedience and drugs, enjoying a wild night out in the heart of Sydney. They’re escaping a cousin’s wedding and relishing their rebellion while they’re at it. Directed by Victoria Singh-Thompson and filmed in English and Hindi, Don’t Forget to Go Home is all about the clash of tradition and culture with queerness and responsibility.
In this film that’s a vibrant representation of climate change-ravaged India, a Bengali family are displaced by rising sea levels and find themselves face-to-face with ravenous tigers. Wade is all about a clash for survival, using great visuals and stunning audio to put across an important message on environmental change. Directed by Kalp Sanghvi and Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, Wade has already been screened to great response at film festivals in Krakow, Annecy, and Brooklyn.
Darling was the first Pakistani film to screen at the Venice Film Festival in 2019 and was even the winner of the Best Short Film award. It’s in Urdu and Punjabi, and is about an ambitious dancer who is rejected by a show manager who wants audiences to be “aroused”, not “confused”. Darling is fronted by a trans actor and is, in many ways, about the ‘Bollywood dream’ and celebrating queer identities, according to director Saim Sadiq.
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