Sreelekha Mitra wins Best Actress at the New York Indian Film Festival

 Sreelekha Mitra

At this year's New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), Sreelekha Mitra was named Best Actress for her performance in Once Upon a Time in Calcutta, (2021), which commemorated India's cinematic traditions as the country enters its 75th year of independence.

A documentary about hockey Olympian Grahnandan Singh, a film about a young woman's complicated relationship with her father, and a documentaryabout young girls fighting up against child marriage and learning football were the other films that drew praise.

On May 7-14, 2022, the New York Indian Film Festival, one of North America's oldest and most distinguished festival, featured more than 60 films from India and the Indian Diaspora, including feature films and documentaries.

The festival, organized by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), was held for the third year in a row and featured 60 screenings, including 18 narrative features, 6 documentaries, and 36 shorts.

Filmmakers Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton closed the festival on Saturday with a documentary about the Beatles' relationship with India.

The Best Film award went to Shoebox, while the Best Director award went to Once Upon a Time in Calcutta, while the Best Screenplay award went to Powai, and the Best Actor and Best Actress awards went to, with Jitendra Joshi and Sreelekha Mitra, respectively. Reyaan Shah and Hirnaya Zinzuwadia of Gandhi & Co.'won the award for Best Child Actors.

An award for Best Documentary (Feature) was given to Bani Singh's Taangh/Longing, which tells the tale of her hockey-playing father, the Olympian Grahanandan Singh (who won two gold medals in 1948 and 1952).

An NGO that trains teenage girls, most of them fighting against child marriages, to play football is the subject of a documentary that takes place in three small villages in Rajasthan.

Succulent won the Best Short (Narrative) award.

The festival's award winners were given their prizes by Indian Consul General in New York, Randhir Jaiswal.

India's contribution to art and literature was highlighted by IAAC chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo at its closing night. Mattoo noted that “India as a country has long, literary and artistic traditions and there is an abundance of creative and scientific literature.” as the country celebrates its 75th anniversary of independence this year.

Organizer Suman Gollamudi said this year's event would highlight the rich cultural variety of India and exhibit its famed filmmaking traditions.

New York International Film Festival (NYIFF) will recognize the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' by showcasing the country's celebrated cinematic heritage in 13 different languages.

In the face of the pandemic, NYIFF director Aseem Chhabra expressed hope that the festival would return next year in an in-person avatar after having been presented in virtual editions for the previous three years.

“We aim to truly underscore the NYIFF commitment to diversity and cultural representation in film,”  he stated. There were films in Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi , Sanskrit , Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu this year, according to him.

Additionally, the New York International Cinema Festival (NYIFF) serves as a platform for filmmakers and actors to showcase their work to a varied audience, as well as an opportunity for filmmakers to share ideas with journalists and film fans.

Additionally, a panel discussion with director Bose and producer Reynold D'Silva about their documentary on the Beatles' time in India was held on the final night. The documentary brings “alive the fascinating journey of George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr from their high octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspires an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting.”

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