Acclaimed documentary on Kaifi Azmi will close South Asian Literature and Art Festival 2019

indica News Bureau-


The Montalvo Arts Center and the Art Forum SF, in collaboration with UC Berkeley Institute for South Asia Studies, are organizing one of the largest South Asian Literature & Art (SALA) Festivals in the US that includes a film segment for the first time.


Actress Shabana Azmi, in a conversation with Art Forum SF, said, “2019 happens to be the birth centenary of my father Kaifi Azmi. We have done many things to celebrate him. Out of all that, the most important is Kaifinama because it encapsulates his spirit through his work, through his poetry. In the current age, it is important to revisit people who were involved with the Progressive Writers’ Movement, people who believed that art should be used as an instrument to bring social change.”


Ambika Sahay, executive director of the Art Forum SF, said, “We are delighted to announce the grand finale at SALA 2019 is Sumantra Ghosal’s Kaifinama, produced by the Mijwan Welfare Society, which looks at the life and art of the Urdu progressive poet Kaifi Azmi. Kaifi Azmi was both a poet for social change as well as one of the foremost lyricists in the Hindi film industry.”


Kaifinama, a 90-minute documentary from India, is in Hindi/Urdu with English subtitles. It won the Best Documentary Audience Choice/Poll Award at the DC South Asian Film Festival on Sept 22.


The mandate of Art Forum SF includes encouraging emerging artists at SALA. Hence, one is a short documentary titled GuruCOOL, produced by Mettle Films and directed by Indo-Canadian director Sangita Iyer, that looks at Indian educators in the 21st-century education system.


These films are programmed by Tushar Unadkat and jointly presented by the Art Forum SF and BASAFF (Bay Area South Asian Film Festival) at Serra Theatre, 200 Serra Way, #37, Milpitas CA 95035 on Oct 13 at 2:00 pm.


“One of the festival purposes is to elevate the perspective of the second and third generation of South Asians about our literature and arts industry,” said Unadkat. “We often hear about Bollywood events, religious celebrations and other cultural activities, which is important; however, we also need to highlight our prestigious literary talent (cinematic medium) who significantly contribute to the international art space.” Unadkat is also the media and public relations director of the Art Forum SF.


The trio behind the Netflix Original series Sacred Games, author Vikram Chandra, scriptwriter Varun Grover and director Vikramaditya Motwane, will be on a panel at the SALA Festival. Sacred Games has been nominated for an International Emmy in the Drama category. The crime thriller is directed by Anurag Kashyap and Motwane.


There will also be an elaborate and enriching encounter with actress, painter and poet Deepti Naval, who will be in conversation with Prof Harsha Ram from UC Berkeley. And there is a special event on October 18 from 7:30 pm with Kashyap.


The SALA Festival will be held at the Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, from Oct 6–13 from noon till 5 pm.


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