Indian films at Sydney Film Festival 2023

Get your popcorn ready! These are the stars of Indian cinema who will be seen and celebrated at this year's Sydney Film Festival.

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Cinema lovers will be treated to a diverse selection of award-winning films, documentaries, and a retrospective of classics starring Indian screen icon Amitabh Bachchan.

The 70th Sydney Film Festival (7-18 June 2023) announced ten films from the Indian diaspora at their launch led by Festival director Nashen Moodley.

Straight from its premiere at Cannes Film Festival, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap will introduce his neo-noir thriller Kennedy starring Rahul Bhat and Sunny Leone. The film revolves around an insomniac ex-cop, Kennedy, who is assumed dead but continues to operate for the corrupt system. As Anurag finally revealed the teaser on 11 May, the much-awaited film looks dark, intriguing, and intense carrying his trademark style all over it.

A favourite guest with festivals down under, director Anurag Kashyap will be in Sydney to introduce his film.

Anurag Kashyap
Anurag Kashyap will be heading down under to introduce Aussie audiences to Kennedy (Source: IMDb)

Another festival favourite, actor Manoj Bajpayee’s film will be screened at the festival in the the Official Competition category. Devashish Makhija’s Joram, an edge-of-your-seat survival thriller, is about an on-the-run labourer in Mumbai. The film also stars Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Megha Mathur and Tannishtha Chatterjee. Festival guests include the director Makhija and actor Megha Mathur.

As part of the International Documentaries program strand, we have two award-winning films – While We Watched and Against the Tide.

In While We Watched, director Vinay Shukla documents the struggle of award-winning Indian journalist Ravish Kumar against misinformation and political power as he fights to uphold independent reporting. Shukla will be attending the Festival to present his documentary to Sydney audiences.

Vinay Shukla
Vinay Shukla will be making his way to Sydney to showcase his documentary While We Watched (Source: While We Watched)

Intimate documentary Against the Tide follows Mumbai’s indigenous Koli fisherman confronting environmental change and its toll on their friendship.

Other highlights include Rima Das’s award-winning drama Tora’s Husband, depicting the challenges faced by a young family in Assam amidst the impact of COVID.

Actor and filmmaker Aamir Bashir’s The Winter Within follows a Kashmiri woman’s search for her disappeared husband, a militant who has been caught by occupying forces.

In celebration of superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s 80th birthday last year, the festival presents a retrospective of his classic hits from the ‘Bachchan Back to the Beginning Program’.

Four films from his roaring career in the ’70s have been selected – Deewaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Don and Kaala Patthar. These films also depict Hindi cinema at its finest – action, melodrama, musical numbers and the screen presence of India’s most beloved actor!

Amitabh Bachchan in Deewaar, Amar Akbar Anthony, Don and Kaala Patthar
The Sydney Film Festival will be celebrating the Shahenshah of Bollywood’s 80th Birthday (Source: IMDb)

The Sydney Film Festival 2023 program can be found on their website.

READ ALSO: 15 films and series to watch in May 2023

Neeru Saluja
Neeru Saluja
Neeru Saluja is a freelance films and arts writer with 20 years of experience. Specialising in Bollywood celebrity interviews, she has also covered music concerts, comedy shows, plays and interviewed artists for the Sydney Film festival, the Indian Film festival in Melbourne, WOMADelaide, AACTA and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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