This Ain't Bollywood

New festival exposes Dallasites to South Asian culture through film

New festival exposes Dallasites to South Asian culture through film

Brahmin Bulls
Brahmin Bulls, a father-and-son story co-starring several American actors, is the opening-night film at the inaugural South Asian Film Festival. Photo by Anu Pradhan
Sold documentary
Sold, a documentary about human traffickingis the centerpiece film for the South Asian Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Sold
Fire in the Blood
Fire in the Blood, a documentary about the lack of drugs to fight HIV and AIDS in certain countries, screens February 28. Photo courtesy of Fire in the Blood
Brahmin Bulls
Sold documentary
Fire in the Blood

For the past 13 years, Dallas has hosted an Asian Film Festival to showcase the best films of the Far East. Now, a new festival serves an even more specific niche, exposing local moviegoers to the perspectives and voices of the South Asian culture.

Under the direction of Jitin Hingorani, the South Asian Film Festival takes place February 27-March 1 at the Angelika Film Center in Plano. It includes eight screenings over three days, from features and shorts to documentaries.

 Organizers chose films that explore issues that affect South Asians living and working in America, as well as those in their homelands.

However, even though Indian films dominate the initial lineup, don't go in expecting Bollywood-style movies. Instead, there are films that explore issues that affect South Asians living and working in America, as well as those in their homelands.

The festival's opening-night film, Brahmin Bulls, has a bit of Hollywood on its side, as it features American actors like Mary Steenburgen, Justin Bartha and Michael Lerner alongside stars Sendhil Ramamurthy, of Heroes fame, and Roshan Seth. It's a story about a father and son, the women in their lives and the secrets they keep.

The second day of the festival is heavy with documentaries. Powerless explores the electricity crisis in Kanpur, India; Fire in the Blood offers a fresh and infuriating perspective on the fight against AIDS; Tomorrow We Disappear tracks artists and performers in an Indian slum looking to keep their traditions; and Sold is a raw look at the world of human trafficking.

The final day features a bit of everything, including The World of Goopi & Bahta, an animated film about two musicians who are granted four wishes; a trio of short films (Therapy, Just Friends and Acceptance); and Rough Book, a feature film about the issues the Indian education film is facing in modern times.

Also expect special parties following the screenings of Brahmin Bulls and Sold. Tickets for the films, which range from $10-$15, and the parties can be purchased online.