ASEAN India Cinefest – specially curated for Singapore PBD 2018

Any congregation of Indians is not complete without movie talk. We enjoy films, love our jamming on popular songs, play Antakshari and get excited about film festivals as if there is no tomorrow.

Keeping Indian diaspora's special love of films, Indian High Commission has made sure that there is a dose of cinema during the ASEAN India PBD. It has roped in Darpan, Singapore headquartered movies distribution and production company, to curate a festival during the regional PBD called ASEAN Indian Cinefest.

Sreyashi Sen, Managing Director, Darpan Singapore Pte Ltd
Sreyashi Sen, Managing Director, Darpan Singapore Pte Ltd

Sreyashi Sen, Managing Director, Darpan Singapore Pte Ltd, says, "The premise for the fest was to have cinema with Indian roots and ASEAN content, be it Indians in SE Asia, or film makers in India with a focus on SE Asia. The two day program celebrates India ASEAN's 25 (year relationship) and adds one more beautiful aspect to the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as we step into a whole new year ahead!"

ASEAN Indian Cinefest celebrates cinema made by Indians in South East Asia and producers with interest in India ASEAN cross border collaborations. Like the documentary Tara, produced by Singaporean Indian, Anita Chellaram and directed by Tannistha Sarkar, an Indian national.

Here is the full schedule of the ASEAN Indian Cinefest:

Day 1 – January 6

Chennai to Singapore
Poster courtesy: Youtube

Screening of Feature: Chennai To Singapore
(Followed by interaction with director Abbas Akbar)

First collaboration between the Tamil and Singaporean film industries and commissioned by the Media Development Authority (MDA) Singapore. The film’s story is  a romantic comedy about a struggling Indian filmmaker, Harish, who makes his way to Singapore to look for investors to finance his dream movie. A series of misfortunes foils his plans. However, with the help of Vaanambaadi, an eccentric Singaporean cameraman, Harish almost realises his dream. But then he meets a girl. And everything takes a twisted turn into a madcap journey about life, death and everything else!

Time: 11:00am-1:30pm
Language: Tamil
Subtitles: English

Screenings of La Salle Shorts

Poster of the Hindi movie, The Masquerade, one of the three films of La Salle Shorts Photo courtesy: Darpan
Poster of the Hindi movie, The Masquerade, one of the three films of La Salle Shorts Photo courtesy: Darpan

Set of short films made by three Indian students; Sheoli Biswas, Aastha Joshi and Pavithran Nathan studying at Putnam School of Film, LA SALLE.

Time: 2:00pm-2:45pm
Language: English/ Hindi

Production beyond Borders: Growing Glitters

  • Justin Diemen, Founder SAAVA and Aurora Media
  • Hansal Mehta, Director and Producer
  • Chris Shaw, Head Puttnam School of Film LA Salle
  • Krishnan Rajagopalan, Founder HooQ
  • Sreyashi Sen, Founder and MD Darpan

Time: 2:45pm-4:45pm

Tara: In search of the stolen stars
Poster courtesy: Facebook@Tara: In search of the stolen stars

Screening of short film Tara
(Directed by Tannistha Sarkar)

Anita Chellaram Photo courtesy: Darpan
Anita Chellaram Photo courtesy: Darpan

Produced by Hong Kong born, Singaporean, Anita Chellaram and directed by Tannistha Sarkar, Tara is a short feature documentary on the sex trafficking industry in India. It features the likes of His holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – enlightening us on the pivotal roll women have in Indian society and culture. Acclaimed Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla – delivers the main monologue of the feature. 

Sakshi Malik – the first woman wrestler to compete and win a medal at the olympics, shares her insight on the struggles of woman empowerment in India and Kanika Kapoor – lends her beautiful voice to the theme song "Tara".

Time: 4:45pm-5:30pm
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Day 2 @January 7

Jagat: Malaysia
Poster courtesy: Wikipedia

Screening of feature Film Jagat: Malaysia
(Followed by interaction with filmmaker Shanjhey Kumar Perumal)

Jagat is a 2015 Malaysian crime drama film directed by Shanjhey Kumar Perumal. Set in the early 1990s, a critical period in Malaysian Indian history, the coming-of-age story subtly underlines the plight of the Indian Malaysians who were forsaken by the estate owners and forced to move to the cities, surviving under harsh circumstances. The story follows a mischievous 12-year-old boy named Appoy and his relationships with his father, Maniam, and his uncles, former drug-addict Bala and local gangster Dorai.

The film had won the Best Malaysian Film award in the 28th Malaysia Film Festival in 2016, whereas its director Shanjhey Kumar won the award for Best Director. The film also represented Malaysia at the ASEAN Film Fest 2017.

Time: 1:00pm-3:30pm
Language: Tamil
Subtitles: English

Panel: Lights ! Camera ! Action! Focus across borders

  • Sangeetha Krishnasamy, Actress
  • Satish Kaushik, Director, producer and actor
  • Shilpa Krishnan, Director
  • Pulkit, Director BOSE and Maroon
  • Chan Gin Kai, CEO Silver Media group

Time: 4:00pm-5:30pm
Photo courtesy:

Screening of short film Singh in the Lion City
(Followed by interaction with filmmaker Upneet Kaur-Nagpal)

'Singh In The Lion City' explores themes of diaspora and shared heritage via the lens of the Sikh community in Singapore. The film maker, Upneet, is keen to further explore the world of global collaborations and film/art through her platform, Uptake Media. 

Singh In The Lion City’ is a documentary about a Singaporean Sikh man's personal quest to decode his cultural identity. This sets him on journey of self-discovery along a shared heritage trail – which he encapsulates and celebrates via the creation of an app.

Time: 1:00pm- 1:30pm
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Workshop by filmmaker Satish Kaushik

Celebrated Indian film director, producer, and actor Satish Kaushik to visit Singapore during ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Photo courtesy: Darpan
Celebrated Indian film director, producer, and actor Satish Kaushik to visit Singapore during ASEAN India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Photo courtesy: Darpan

Satish Kaushik is a celebrated Indian film director, producer, and actor, primarily in Hindi films and theatre. As a film actor he is noted for his roles as 'Calendar' in Mr. India and as 'Chanu Ahmed' in Sarah Gavron's British film Brick Lane (2007). As a theatre actor, his most noted role was that of 'Willy Loman' in the Hindi-language play, Salesman Ramlal, an adaptation of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. He has written the script for many films very notable among which is for Kundan Shah's comedy classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (1983). His very recent production, A Billion Colour Story, is a much acclaimed feature film which won several awards and the best film at the London Indian Film Festival 2017. It releases worldwide in 2018.

Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm

Pularum Iniyum Naalekal / There's Always Tomorrow
A screen grab from Pularum Iniyum Naalekal. Photo courtesy: Youtube grab

Screening of Film Pularum Iniyum Naalekal / There's Always Tomorrow
(Directed by Shilpa Krishnan)

Movie revolves around lovers from different relegions; Anthony, a Christian and Durga, a Hindu. When faced with objections from their families due to their different religious backgrounds, Durga drops Anthony to go her separate way.

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm
Language: Malayalam – English
Subtitles: English