Dallas festival

“Half Widow,” a film following the life of a Kashmiri woman whose husband goes missing (above), is among the films that will premiere at the 17th annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas. Indian American student Anoushka Singhania’s short, “Haadi The Wedding,” will also be screened, in the student shorts category. (asianfilmdallas.com photo)

Amid the backdrop of the Kashmiri conflict, a young woman must come to grips with the disappearance of her doting husband and embark on a harrowing journey of self-discovery: this is the premise of “Half Widow,” one of the Indian films to be screened at the 17th annual Asian Film Festival of Dallas, which will be held July 19-26 at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas, Texas.

Half widow is a term used in Kashmir for women whose husbands have disappeared but are not declared dead.

The one-hour-31-minute film is directed by Danish Renzu.

The Swara Bhaskar and Ranvir Shorey starrer, “Shame,” is also on the festival’s lineup. Directed by Anusha Bose, “Shame” is the journey of a meek, vulnerable woman who emerges from the background to unapologetically reclaim her dignity, confidence and her right to desire. This film will be screened in the women’s showcase shorts category.

Indian American student Anoushka Singhania’s short, “Haadi The Wedding,” will be screened in the student shorts category. Singhania is a student at the Dallas-based Hockaday school.

Two other films with interesting themes have also found a place on the fest’s roster: In “Shalom Bollywood,” Australian filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe goes back in time to show how when Indian cinema began 100 years ago it was taboo for Hindu and Islamic women to perform on screen, so Indian Jewish women, who were more liberal and progressive, took on female lead roles, which they then dominated for decades. However, because of their stage names people thought they were Muslims or Christians.

In “The Seven Steps,” American director Zac Chia explores the story of Anika, who’s born and raised in India but falls in love with Rohan, an Indian American, after moving to the U.S. for work. She has an arranged marriage waiting for her back home, but that doesn’t stop Rohan from wanting to be with her.

For more information, visit www.asianfilmdallas.com.

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