The UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) takes place each spring in London. The festival recognises how films can have an impact on society, particularly those which tackle complex and challenging issues. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Dare to Dream’ and commemorates 75 years of India’s Independence.
The festival due to run between 4th May and 15th May 2022 is the leading and longest-running South Asian film festival in Europe. It was founded by Tongues on Fire director Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry in 1999.
The film Gandhi & Co took centre stage at the Rich Mix Cinema in the quirky setting of Brick Lane, London. The film is a light-hearted Gujarati independent film that illustrates the Gandhian principles through the journey of a mischievous 11-year-old being led astray.
The film was produced by Mahesh Danannavar during the Covid pandemic in 2020. The film won the second-best Indian Cinema award film at the 13th Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES) and is currently being shown at screenings at various film festivals across the globe.
The London screening was hosted by Mina Parmar, a British Indian Councillor of Gujarati heritage who herself is inspired by Gandhian values. She welcomed CB Patel, Chairman and Editor-In-Chief of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar for closing remarks after the screening.
Mina Parmar thanked the organisers and audiences for showing this heart-warming Gujarati move of our nation’s Bapu Mahatma Gandhi. Mina thanked the UK Asian Film festival team and Dr Pushpinder for bringing this film to the UK.
Q & A
Cllr Mina Parmar then conducted an insightful Q&A session with the producer Mahesh Danannavar.
Q. As we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence how would you describe Gandhiji’s legacy and how does the film represent Gandhiji’s values?
When we planned this movie, we wanted to pass on Gandhian values to today’s generation. This film is very light-hearted and in a very innocent way it takes you near to values.
Q. What inspired you to make this movie?
Everyone reads about Gandhiji. Today’s generation is more concerned about superheroes, technology and games. We wanted to introduce Gandhi Ji as a superhero to today’s generation.
Q. What are the key principles and messages you would like the audience to take-home message?
We all studied Gandhian values but we do not follow or often start misuse of Gandhi’s name. The kids in this movie also do that. So, we put the message in a very light-hearted way. When we tell things in a simple way, kids follow.
Q. What were the challenges of making this movie?
We shot this film during covid. We planned this film 3-4 days before covid. In the first lockdown, we started writing a story. After lockdown, We shot the film in Ahmedabad in 30 days. But it was very challenging to complete the film following covid norms and precautions.
Q. So what’s next for you Maheshbhai?
We are planning to release this film in India in September/October. We are now going to all the film festivals across the world. We might dub it into different languages.