‘Loins Of Punjab Presents’ opens in US Sep 12

August 9th, 2008 - 11:33 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) South Asian comedy “Loins Of Punjab Presents”, Manish Acharya’s feature directorial debut, will make its US premiere Sep 12 at two New York City theatres. An Emerging Pictures release, the film goes on to open throughout the autumn in cities around the US, including San Francisco and San Jose, California; Chicago, Illinois; Union City, New Jersey; Connecticut; and Dallas and Houston, Texas.

The film features singers showcasing their talents in the three-day New Jersey-based, Bollywood-inspired Desi Idol competition, sponsored by local butcher company Loins of Punjab. The finalists competing for the $25,000 prize represent the South Asian diaspora through a delightfully eclectic cross-section of would-be superstars.

These include high school over-achiever Preeti Patel, whose entire over-bearing family accompanies her, proudly wearing “Preeti Patel #1″ t-shirts, actress Sania Rahman, who has big Bollywood dreams despite not speaking a word of Hindi, and foul-mouthed bhangra rapper Turbinotorious BDG, together with his gay lover/backup singer.

Following the familiar trajectory of singing competition shows, but with a deadpan humour perfectly fitting its small-town, New Jersey hotel conference room setting, “Loins Of Punjab Presents” is a sly, guilty pleasure, sending up the kitsch shared by both Bollywood and “American Idol”, where celebrity dreams can be just one catchy performance away.

A novel take on South Asian culture, the film comically and affectionately embraces the quirks of diasporic identity and family. Acharya’s characters resonate beyond simple caricatures, reflecting types common to all ethnic communities in America - from the quiet student to the militant nationalist, from the well-to-do socialite to the white wannabe enamoured with otherness.

Placed together in a Christopher Guest-like film setting, these characters and their endearing foibles emerge with truth and humour, and are sure to gain fans from “American Idol”, Bollywood and beyond.

“Loins Of Punjab Presents” stars Shabana Azmi, five-time winner of India’s National Award for Best Actress; Ajay Naidu; Ayesha Dharkar; Darshan Jariwala; Seema Rahmani; Jameel Khan; Ishita Sharma; Michael Raimondi and Manish Acharya.

The first English language comedy ever to open in India, “Loins Of Punjab Presents” has screened and garnered prizes at international film festivals, including New York’s First Run Film Festival (winner best feature film), New York’s 2007 South Asian International Film Festival (opening night film), 2007 San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival, Rome’s 2007 AsiaticaFilmMediale (special jury mention), Denmark’s 2008 NatFilm Festival, Copenhagen, 2007 Dubai International Film Festival and the 2008 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (audience award for best feature).

Acharya, a Mumbai-based writer, director and actor, left a background in physics, computer science, and industrial relations to pursue his film dreams at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts. “Loins Of Punjab Presents” is his first feature film.

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