NYIFF 2014 Will Open With Anurag Kashyap's UGLY, Plus More Films Unveiled

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer
The 14th annual New York Indian Film Festival has announced its first few titles and they are, as expected, pretty damned fantastic. 

The festival will open with Anurag Kashyap's Ugly, a film that debuted at Cannes 2013 and has devastated audiences everywhere it has played since. This will be only the second North American screening of the film and Kashyap will be in attendance for a post-screening conversation. 

Also announced is a Sundance Film Fest favorite, Geetu Mohandas's Liar's Dice, featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Geethanjali Thapa, which I reviewed (link below). The closing film will be Aparna Sen's latest, Goynar Baksho, a tale of the changing role of women in India starring Konkona Sen Sharma.

NYIFF takes place from May 5-10 in New York City at a variety of locations. Visit their website for more details. From the press release: 
THE 14th ANNUAL NEW YORK INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES OPENING NIGHT GALA FILM

Anurag Kashyap's UGLY

Geethu Mohandas' LIAR'S DICE announced as centerpiece film and Aparna Sen's GOYNAR BAKSHO to close the festival

New York, NY (April 1, 2014) - The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) announced today the Opening Night Gala film:  Anurag Kashyap's UGLY, a sensational tale of corruption, indifference, and systemic violence that begins when a 10-year-old daughter of an aspiring actor disappears.

The festival is widely recognized as the oldest, most prestigious Indian film festival in the United States, showcasing some of the greatest talents working in the diaspora. Celebrating its 14th year, NYIFF will run May 5 to 10 at a variety of prestigious New York City venues, including the Skirball Center for Performing Arts, where the opening and closing films are set to take place.

Director Anurag Kashyap returns to NYIFF after closing the 2012 festival with his highly received film, GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, a two-part five-hour long drama that Hollywood Reporter declares "puts Tarantino in a corner with its cool command of cinematically-inspired and referenced violence, ironic characters and breathless pace."

Both GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, as well as his current film, UGLY, were prominently screened in the sidebar section at Cannes Directors' Fortnight section. Previously, Kashyap received notoriety for his controversial and award-winning film about the 1993 Mumbai bombings, BLACK FRIDAY. 

"We are thrilled to be opening this year's New York Indian Film Festival with Anurag Kashyap new film UGLY," said festival director Aseem Chhabra. "Anurag has been in the forefront of India's growing indie film movement, always pushing the boundaries and inspiring the new generation of filmmakers. Personally I am a big fan of his films."

Kashyap will participate in a post-screening conversation, to be followed by the opening night gala event, with celebrated IAAC supporters and other filmmakers in attendance.

In addition, NYIFF announced this years centerpiece and closing films.  Renowned actress and filmmaker Aparna Sen will close the festival with her latest work, GOYNAR BAKSHO.  Sen began her career as an actress in Satyajit Ray's 1961 masterpiece THREE DAUGHTERS (released as TWO DAUGHTERS in the US.)

In her latest work Sen provides a refreshing and vibrant take on acclaimed Bengali novelist Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay's famous tale of three generations of women and their changing position in society, as seen in relation to an inherited box of jewels. The film features the talents of her daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma, who rose to fame in another Aparna Sen film, MR. AND MRS. IYER.

Renowned actress and first time director Geethu Mohandas with showcase her film LIAR'S DICE as this year's Centerpiece. LIAR'S DICE was in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section at Sundance this January, and has been hailed by Variety as "an assured feature debut" and "quietly effective." The film follows Kamala, a young woman from Chitkul village and her girl child Manya, who embark on a journey leaving their native land in search for her missing husband.  It stars India's leading indie film actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who was recently seen as the eager office worker in Ritesh Batra's THE LUNCHBOX. 
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