Indie festival

“Hotel Salvation,” featuring Adil Hussain in the lead role; “Lipstick Under my Burkha,” starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Vinay Shukla; and Khushboo Ranka’s “An Insignificant Man,” are just some of the films set to screen at the second annual Indie Meme Film Festival April 21 - April 23 in Austin, Texas. A short by Indian American filmmaker Faroukh Virani will also be screened. (photo courtesy of Indie Meme Film Festival)

“An Insignificant Man,” a documentary tracking the rise of Arvind Kejriwal and the birth of the newest political force in India, the Aam Aadmi Party, is set to open the second annual Indie Meme Film Festival April 21 in Austin, Texas.

The screening will be followed by a Q and A with the film’s directors Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka, who, through the film, give an insider’s view into Kejriwal’s brand of politics, which has split popular opinion into two prominent factions.

On day two of the festival, filmmaker Ananya Kasarvalli will present her film, “Chronicles of Hari,” which narrates the story of a Yakshagana (a theater form) artist Hari, who has gained extreme popularity portraying female roles.

On April 22, festival-goers can also watch the documentary, “The Cinema Travelers,” in which a benevolent showman, a shrewd exhibitor and a maverick projector mechanic bear a beautiful burden – to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running. The same day, “Phobia,” a psychological thriller, starring Radhika Apte in the lead role of Mehak, who plays an artist suffering from severe agoraphobia, will also be screened.

“Mukti Bhavan” or “Hotel Salvation,” in which a son, faced with his father’s untimely and bizarre demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi and attain salvation, is left with no choice but to embark on this journey, is set to screen April 23. “Hotel Salvation” is Shubhashish Bhutiani’s first directorial feature, which has won him prestigious awards and elicited standing ovations.

Konkona Sen Sharma’s “Lipstick Under my Burkha,” which was denied a censor certificate for its release in India, has been chosen as the closing night film. Set in the small town of Bhopal, the film chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion. Lead actress Aahana Kumra will be in attendance.

Short films have also found a place on the film festival’s roster. These include Los Angeles-based Indian American filmmaker Faroukh Virani’s “Sameer and the Giant Samosa”; Sushma Khadepaun’s “Foren”; Pakistani filmmaker Baqir Mehdi’s “Me, Chabbar and Abu Chachu” and Sayani Gupta starrer “Leeches.”

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