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The 17th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles has closed with Praveen Morchhale’s Widow of Silence, which revolves around a Muslim woman who struggles to get the death certificate of her missing husband, winning the Grand Jury Award.
Anand Patwardhan’s politically charged documentary Reason picked up the Audience Award for best feature. Both honors were presented by HBO on the festival’s closing night Sunday at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.
Anamika Haksar’s Taking the Horse to Eat Jalebis received an Audience Awards honorable mention. Sandhya Suri’s The Field, which was mentored at the Sundance Labs and bowed at Toronto, won the Grand Jury award for best short film. It focuses on a poor woman in rural India who leads a double life in her village’s last remaining cornfield.
In other honors, Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak won the Audience Award for best short film, while Jayisha Patel’s Circle received an honorable mention.
The festival opened with a tribute to legendary Indian actress Tabu whose latest film, mystery thriller Andhadhun, opened the event. Produced by Viacom’s Indian film unit, Andhadhun was recently released in China, retitled as Piano Player, bringing in a healthy $14 million.
Megha Ramaswamy’s The Odds, a coming-of-age tale about two teens who skip school on an important exam day and go on a fantastical journey through Mumbai, was the festival’s closing film.
IFFLA’s lineup also included Amazon’s Photograph, which premiered at Sundance, from breakout director Ritesh Batra, known for The Lunchbox and Netflix’s Robert Redford-Jane Fonda starrer Our Souls at Night. In addition, the festival’s program included a TV-centric panel titled “Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age,” which highlighted the work of South Asian talent in mainstream U.S. television shows.
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