<em>Sir</em>&nbsp;will be the opening night film at South Asian Film Festival

South Asian Film Festival Turns Five

The DFW event, featuring films from South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, is bigger than ever.

published Monday, May 13, 2019



Dallas — Now in its fifth year, the 2019 DFW South Asian Film Festival will be the biggest one yet, thanks to expanded programming, the festival’s first awards presentation, and bigger sponsorships. Several actors and directors will be in attendance.

The event, which boasts eight features, two documentaries, and 11 shorts, runs May 16-19 at various DFW locations, and has films from India, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Some are in English; most are in Indian and other South Asian [languages] with English subtitles. This year's event gets an extra boost from a Toyota sponsorship.

One section of programming is devoted to films from Pakistan. “We have a huge Pakistani population in Dallas,” says festival director Jitin Hingorani. “And we have the fourth largest Muslim population in the country. We have a lot of programming for that demographic.”

Jitin Hingorani

The fest kicks off on Thursday, May 16 at The Perot Museum in Victory Park with the short That Man in the Picture followed by the Texas Premiere of Sir, with star Vivek Gomber in attendance. “Sir has been a hit at other festivals, and this is the Texas premiere,” says Hingorani. “It’s basically a Cinderella story of a woman who is around the same age as the man she is the domestic help for. He’s a single man, she’s a single woman, they live in the same house. It’s an interesting paradigm about class structure and domestic help, and how it’s viewed in modern day domestic India. The short film is a poignant look at social responsibility and accountability when you see crimes occurring in modern India, and how we should respond to them.”

Saturday’s centerpiece screening, the The Man Who Feels No Pain, “is very different from the films we’ve had in the past,” Hingorani raves. “We’re the first festival to bring this film to the United States. It received a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival. It’s very Quentin-Tarantino-ish, almost a superhero movie, about this boy who literally feels no pain, a congenital defect. Unable to feel any pain in his life, he goes on this spree of beating up bad guys with his high-flying moves. And there’s a romantic angle—the whole premise is, he winds up finding love, and that’s how he feels pain finally. It’s very entertaining, funny, romantic and action-packed. A great Saturday night movie, very unique for Indian Cinema. “

The Man Who Feels No Pain screens Saturday, May 18 at AMC Village on the Parkway. The festival closes on Sunday with the Texas Premiere of the drama Hamid, which is one of the three films in Children’s Programming that Hingorani is most proud of in this year’s offerings.

“The first is Chippa, which stars Sunny Pawar, who played the young Dev Patel in Lion. We’re actually bringing him to Dallas, the first time we’ve flown in a child for the festival. I think he’s going to be a huge hit, he’s 10 and adorable,” Hingorani says. “Chuskit is about a little girl who is paraplegic and wants to go to school desperately and be with her friends, but she can’t walk. So eventually the whole village comes together and enables her to make her dream come true. Really beautiful struggle with her grandfather, and this whole notion of elders living with families and young kids in the same house, and how that all works. “

“The third film, our closing night, Hamid, takes place in Kashmir, that area between India and Pakistan that both countries are fighting for,” Hingorani continues. “It’s the story of a little boy whose father goes missing because of this conflict, and goes on a journey to find him. The way he goes about it is really just amazing and heartbreaking, I haven’t cried so much in a film in a long time. Everyone’s going to need to bring tissues to our closing night.”

Hamid will be followed by a Bollywood-themed closing night party at Center Stage in The Design District which will also feature something new for SAFF:  an Oscars-style awards presentation, something the director is very excited about (this year’s theme is “Five Years: Five Awards.”)

“The reason for that is, we wanted to establish ourselves as a noteworthy festival,” says Hingorani. “This is the first time we’re giving out awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Feature, Best Short, and Best Director. We have a jury of filmmakers and actors around the world who are deciding who wins these awards. We also have two Audience Awards that the audience votes on, for Best Film and Best Child Actor…our Children’s Programming is strong and powerful, and the kids are just amazing. So, it felt like we needed a Best Child Actor category that allowed the audience to vote.”

“We’ll be sending out a press release right after, telling people who won these awards, which will be picked up all over the world, especially India and South Asian countries. It’s really exciting for them to have won an award at an American film festival.”

A SAFF tradition is an LBGTQI section, which happens Saturday. “We’ve always had a focus on LBGTQI programming at our festival. You know, India just recently legalized homosexuality, in the last year…the reason for the category is to tell the stories of the marginalized, and how they’re treated in these South Asian countries, and we focus on how privileged we are in the states when we look at LBGTQI issues. This year our focus, with two shorts and a feature, is on the trans experience and the trans journey—so many myths and misconceptions about transgender people in South Asia."

There will also be a sections for arts programming and men's programming.

The DFW South Asian Film Festival features one world premiere, two North American premieres, one U.S. premiere, 14 Texas premieres and three Dallas premieres. For show times and ticket information please visit




Photo: Ciné-Sud Promotion
Sir will be the opening night film at South Asian Film Festival


Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Opening Night

Opening night film & after party (May 16): Perot Museum of Nature and Science

6:30 pm - Doors open at the Perot Museum with cocktail reception

7:30 pm - That Man In The Picture (Short) / Sir (Feature)

9:45 pm - Red Carpet/Afterparty 4th Level of Perot


Friday, May 17, 2019

AMC Village on the Parkway 9


6:00pm - Shorts Programming

  • Malai (Short)
  • Maunn (Short)
  • Pagg (Short)
  • The Layover (Short)
  • Still Rolling: The DDLJ Story (Short)
  • Q&A with Rupak Ginn


8:00 pm - Friday Night Programming

The Lift Boy (Feature)


10:00 pm - Friday Night Afterparty at PaneVino Osteria


Saturday, May 18, 2019

AMC Village on the Parkway 9


11:00 am

Lovesick (Documentary)


12:45 pm - Family Programming

  • Chippa (Feature)
  • Q&A with Sunny Pawar & Safdar Rahman


2:45 pm - Pakistan Programming

  • Dreams (Short)
  • Salam (Documentary)
  • Q&A with Anand Kamalakar & Zakir Thaver


4:45 pm - LGBTQ Programming

  • The Homestay (Short)
  • A Monsoon Date (Short)
  • Khejdi (Feature)


7:15 pm - Centerpiece Men’s Programming

  • Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) (Feature)
  • Q&A with Abhimanyu Dassani & Vasan Bala


Photo: RSVP Films
The Man Who Feels No Pain


10:00 pm - Centerpiece Afterparty at Saffron House


Sunday, May 19, 2019

AMC Village on the Parkway 9

11:00 am - Children’s Programming

  • Nanu Aur Main (Short)
  • Chuskit (Feature)


1:15 pm - Arts Programming

  • Vande Mataram (Short)
  • Nude: Chitraa (Feature)


3:30 pm - Closing Night

  • Hamid (Feature)
  • Q&A with Aijaz Khan


7:00 pm - Closing Night Afterparty at Center Stage



Festival Pass: $250- Includes ALL film screenings and ALL afterparties
Opening Night Film Only: $25
Opening Night Film + Party: $75
Regular Film Screenings: $15
Friday Night Film + Party: $50
Centerpiece Film + Party: $50
Children’s Programming: $10 (Kids under 10 are free)
Closing Night Film + Party: $50 Thanks For Reading

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South Asian Film Festival Turns Five
The DFW event, featuring films from South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, is bigger than ever.
by Gordon K. Smith

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