'Provoked' to open L.A. Indian festival

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NEW DELHI -- The fifth Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, set for April 17-22, will open with "Provoked," starring Naveen Andrews, Miranda Richardson and former Miss India-turned-actress Aishwarya Rai.

IFFLA will close with the South Indian film "Vanaja," directed by Rajnesh Domalpalli.

According to a statement Wednesday, IFFLA will also honor acclaimed Indian actress-photographer Deepti Naval, for which The Hollywood Reporter is the Media Sponsor.

"It is really exciting to celebrate our fifth anniversary with the L.A. premieres of such important films like 'Provoked' and 'Vanaja,' " IFFLA director Christina Marouda said. "Last year we opened with Deepa Mehta's 'Water,' and we can truly say that Indian cinema is growing in popularity and is here to stay. Our festival showcases the best of Indian cinema and launches the careers of new Indian filmmakers while celebrating the careers of those that have contributed to the success of Indian cinema."

IFFLA will be held at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, and the six-day festival will feature cultural events including an opening-night DJ set by the Bombay Dub Orchestra. The closing-night gala will take place at Hollywood & Highland and will feature the musical talents of innovative producer DJ Tej Gill.

"Provoked," directed by Jag Mundhra, is based on a true story set in England and centers on a battered Punjabi wife (Rai) who is sentenced to life for murdering her abusive husband (Andrews) and later pardoned by the courts in a historic judgment.

Columbia University graduate Rajnesh Domalpalli's Telegu feature "Vanaja" recently received the Berlin International Film Festival's debut feature award. Set in the rural South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, "Vanaja" explores the chasm that divides classes as a young girl struggles to come of age and secure her destiny as a classical dancer.

IFFLA's final lineup will be announced Monday.
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