Current Season:

South Asian Heritage Month 2024

Wed 17 Jul — Sat 17 Aug 2024

Throughout July and August, we present an array of screenings and special events around South Asian Heritage Month 2024, which is themed ‘Free to Be Me.’ From Bhutan to Bangladesh, the 13 films weave tales of resilience, identity, and personal freedom with a special focus on music, female voices and queer stories. 

The programme includes an array of films from exciting new female filmmakers. The season opens with a preview of Fawzia Mirza’s vibrant Bollywoodinspired LGBTQ+ drama The Queen of My Dreams, from Pakistan, and closes with a preview of Shuchi Talati’s Sundance winning Girls Will Be Girls, from India. 

Elsewhere, we present Nida Manzoor’s exuberant feminist action comedy, Polite Society,  which turns genre etiquette on its head whilst examining the complexities of navigating life as a British-Pakistani teenager. The film will be followed by a Q&A with lead actor Priya Kansara. 

Families can attend our Pay-What-You-Can screening of Rima Das’s instant crowd-pleaser Village Rockstars, which follows a 10-year-old girl in an Assamese village who dreams of having her own rock band. 

Tongues on Fire – UK Asian Film Festival presents a screening of the trans drama Blue Sunshine, which won a top prize at this year’s festival. The screening will be followed by a Zoom Q&A with the director Samyuktha Vijayan, and all proceeds from the screening will be donated to LGBTQ+ charities in India.

The season includes three extraordinary documentaries. Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.  a startlingly personal profile of the critically acclaimed artist, chronicling her remarkable journey from Sri Lankan refugee to groundbreaking musician. An essential documentary for cinephiles, Original Copy follows Sheikh Rehman, Mumbai’s last painter of film posters, and his colleagues, as they battle against declining audiences at an old Hindi Film palace. Spanning 14 years, I Am Belmaya, documents the transformational journey of a young woman in Nepal as she reclaims her voice through filmmaking.

Also showing is Bhutan’s first Oscar-nominated film, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, which gives a fascinating insight into a region rarely seen on screen. Plus, a screening of the exquisite Bangladeshi drama The Salt in Our Waters, by debut director Rezwan Sumit who was awarded the Spike Lee Fellowship.

Guest curator Anupma Shanker has selected two classic titles for the season: David Lean’s 1984 epic historical drama, A Passage to India, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and will screen on Indian Indepence Day (15th August). And the newly restored lavish historical drama, Shiraz: A Romance of India, with a new score by Grammy Award-winning sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar. The screening will be preceded by a traditional sitar and tabla performance by acclaimed sitarist Jonathan Mayer & gifted tabla player Dhanraj Persaud.

Our member’s choice during the season is The Lunchbox, starring the late Irrfan Khan, which enchanted audiences around the globe, winning an audience award at Cannes and a Best Film nomination at the London Film Festival. 

Whilst the protagonists of these films often wrestle against societal and cultural expectations, they also find the strength and unity from within their communities to be true to themselves and embrace their freedom.

Bookings are open for members now. The general sale will open at 18:00 on Thursday 13 June.

Upcoming Screenings

Polite Society 12A

All screenings will be shown with Descriptive Subtitles (HOH). The screening on Sunday July 21 will be followed by a Q&A… Read More
Nida Manzoor, UK, 2023, 104m.
Thu 25 Jul
15:30

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A 18

Drawn from a cache of personal video recordings from the past 22 years, director Steve Loveridge’s Sundance award winning MATANGI /… Read More
Steve Loveridge, UK, USA, Sri Lanka, 2018, 96m.
Fri 26 Jul
20:45

Blue Sunshine + Director Q&A 18

The screening is in partnership with Tongues on Fire and all proceeds will be donated to LGBTQ+ charities in India. The screening… Read More
Samyuktha Vijayan, India, 2023, 98m.
Sun 28 Jul
17:00

Original Copy 18

The screening on 29 July will be introduced by Dr Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram, Senior Lecturer in World Cinema at Queen Mary.… Read More
Georg Heinzen, Florian Heinzen-Ziob, India, Germany, 2015, 96m.
Mon 29 Jul
18:20
Tue 13 Aug
15:00

The Lunchbox PG

The film was proposed by our member Amanda Rosario Matveeva who writes, 'This came out when I was living in Mumbai… Read More
Ritesh Batra, India, France, Germany, United States, Canada, 2013, 104m.
Tue 30 Jul
18:00
Mon 05 Aug
18:00

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom PG

In this enchanting Oscar-nominated drama, a daydreaming but discontented young teacher is posted to Lunana, a remote village high in the… Read More
Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan, 2019, 110m.
Sat 03 Aug
16:00

The Salt in Our Waters 18

Debut director Rezwan Sumit collected numerous awards, including a Spike Lee Fellowship, to produce this exquisite drama from Bangladesh. The screening… Read More
Rezwan Shahriar Sumit, Bangladesh, France, 2020, 100m.
Wed 07 Aug
18:00

Shiraz: A Romance of India + Live Sitar & Tabla Performance U

Prior to the film there will be a traditional Indian music performance by internationally acclaimed sitarist Jonathan Mayer & gifted tabla… Read More
Franz Osten, India, UK, Germany, 1928, 106m.
Fri 09 Aug
20:15

I Am Belmaya 12A

An inspirational story of rebellion, courage and hope as Belmaya, a young Dalit woman in Nepal, silenced and subjugated for most… Read More
Sue Carpenter, Belmaya Nepali, UK, Nepal, 2021, 81m.
Mon 12 Aug
18:00

A Passage to India (40th Anniversary Screening) 15

The screening will be introduced by guest curator Anupma Shanker. David Lean's 1984 epic historical drama, A Passage to India, marks… Read More
David Lean, UK, USA, 1984, 164m.
Thu 15 Aug
19:40

Girls Will Be Girls- Preview Screening 18

For South Asian Heritage Month we present a special preview screening of the Sundance prizewinning Girls Will Be Girls, with a… Read More
Shuchi Talati, India, 2024, 118m.
Sat 17 Aug
17:00

Past Screenings

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom PG

In this enchanting Oscar-nominated drama, a daydreaming but discontented young teacher is posted to Lunana, a remote village high in the… Read More
Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan, 2019, 110m.
This screening has now passed.

Polite Society 12A

All screenings will be shown with Descriptive Subtitles (HOH). The screening on Sunday July 21 will be followed by a Q&A… Read More
Nida Manzoor, UK, 2023, 104m.
This screening has now passed.

Village Rockstars PG

Recipient of multiple international awards, Village Rockstars is an instant crowd-pleaser. In a small village in northeast India, 10-year-old Dhunu dreams of… Read More
Rima Das, India, 2017, 87m.
This screening has now passed.

The Queen of My Dreams- Preview Screening 18

Two months before it's official release, we present a special preview screening of Fawzia Mirza’s vibrant debut feature The Queen of… Read More
Fawzia Mirza, Pakistan, Canada, 2023, 97m.
This screening has now passed.