The London Indian Film Festival returns for its fourth year this July and there's cause for celebration, as this year marks 100 years of Indian cinema. A century ago, on 3rd May 1913, marked the release of the silent film 'Raja Harishchandra', which is considered to be the first Indian feature film produced.
Fast forward 100 years and India is now the world's largest democracy, second largest population and the world's most prolific film producing nation - releasing around 1,000 pictures a year, twice as many as Hollywood.
With a programme of thrillers, dramas, comedies, short films, documentaries and sing-and-dance blockbusters, the London Indian Film Festival aims to dispel the myth that the industry is confined to Bollywood stereotypes. The week-long festival, which runs from 18th-25th July, is held at BFI Southbank and selected cinemas all over London.
The festival kicks off with the UK Premiere of 'Monsoon Shootout', which received critical acclaim at this year's Cannes festival. Directed by Amit Kumar, the film is a dark cop thriller described by film critic Peter Bradshaw as "Dirty Harry meets Sliding Doors". With Kumar intrigued by how human decision making can put one's life at stake, the feature explores the impact that one man's choices make on the lives of others.
A further programme highlight is the In Conversation piece, which takes place at BFI Southbank and sees BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia talk to acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire) about working across the British, Hollywood and Indian film industries.
Closing the festival is another production that comes to London following a screening at Cannes, 'Bombay Talkies'. A homage to the 100 years of Indian cinema, it's a compilation of four short films from acclaimed directors Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibaker Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap.
Storylines include one of a gay man befriending his female boss and discovering her husband has a secret, and one of a 12-year-old boy whose dad wants him to play football but he secretly wants to dance like a Bollywood goddess.
To find out about the other top film festivals taking place in London, visit LondonTown.com where all the details can be found.