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  • Ajay Naidu's Ashes Screens on May 15 at 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival in Edgewood, PA

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    Actor Ajay Naidu’s directorial debut Ashes screens during the 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival on  Sunday, May 15 at 5:30pm, at the Regent Square Theater, 1035 S. Braddock Ave in Edgewood, PA.  Faran Tahir, Samrat Chakrabarti, Firdous Bamji, Heather Burns, Maurice Carr and Piper Perabo are also featured in the Ashes cast.

    The 6th Annual Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, presented by the Silk Screen: Asian Arts and Cultural Organization, runs from May 11 -15, 2011.

    Ajay Naidu is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, dancer, director, M.C., vocalist and writer. He has worked extensively in film, television and theater with more than 50 onscreen credits. He has appeared in the films Office Space, K-Pax, π, Requiem for a Dream, Bad Santa, The War Within, The Guru, Waterborne, The Loins of Punjab Presents, Where the River Runs Black, Vice Versa, Touch and Go and many more. When Naidu’s portrayal in SubUrbia as convenience store owner “Nazeer Choudhury” garnered him an Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Actor nod, his formidable competition included Roy Scheider and Sam Jackson. He can currently be seen in Ashes, his directorial debut in which he played the title character, served as writer and director. Ashes was nominated for Best Film, Screenplay and Director, after the film screened at New York’s MIAAC Film Festival in 2010; Naidu took home the prize for Best Actor at MIAAC and the London Asian Film Festival. Ashes also won Best Film of the Festival at the Queens World Film Festival.

    Samrat Chakrabarti and Ashes filmmaker and star Ajay Naidu at the MIAAC screening of Ashes at the SVA Theater in New York on November 12, 2010. Naidu was named Best Actor for Ashes at the Festival Photo by Lia Chang

    On television, Naidu was a series regular in “LateLine” and had guest starring roles on the “30 Rock,” “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Kings,” “Mercy,” “Bored to Death,” “MacGyver” and many more. He...
  • Photos: Samrat Chakrabarti, Soham Mehta and Shiva Shankar Bajpai at the 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival

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    Samrat Chakrabarti at the NYIFF at Tribeca Cinemas on May 7, 2011. © liachang.com

    “Samrat Chakrabarti is one of the finest Indian actors working today,” said Aseem Chhabra, Film Festival Director of the 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF). Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) which just completed a successful five-day run, is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country.

     

    Chakrabarti, an award-winning actor and internationally acclaimed musician, starred in three short films- Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story, Soham Mehta’s Fatakra and Shiva Shankar Bajpai’s Raju- that screened at the Festival. Film projects in the can include A.J. Carter’s Extinction, Deepa Mehta’s Winds of Change, Dagen Merrill’s Murder in the Dark, Michael Walker’s Price Check, Richard Atkinson’s Dogs Lie and Salim Khassa’s Desperate Endeavors. His recent guest starring appearances on TV include “Outsourced” (HBO), “In Treatment” opposite Irrfan Khan (HBO), “30 ROCK” (NBC) “The Horrible Terrible Misadventures of David Atkins,” and “Bored to Death.”

    Soham Mehta’s Fatakra copyright 2011 Soham Mehta

    I was particularly moved by Chakrabarti’s soulful performance as Naveen in Fatakra (Firecracker), a tailor who left his wife and son in India to chase his dreams in America. When they join him three years and a recession later, the sparks that fly on their first day together as dreams collide with reality are heartbreaking. Chakrabarti also composed the score for Fatakra, which has garnered accolades at Film Festivals across the country. Director Soham Mehta recently received the Linda Mabalot New Directors/New Visions award from the 2011 LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL, picked up the Audience Award for Best Short at the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival, and has been nominated for a Student Academy Award.

    (l-r) Fatakra director Soham Mehta,...

  • Sthaniya Sambaad, Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Bhopali among 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Winners

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    Sthaniya Sambaad (Spring in the Colony), directed by Arjun Gourisaria & Moinak Biswas was named Best Feature Film.

    The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival came to a close on May 8 with the Closing Night premiere of Rituparno Ghosh’s film Noukadubi at the Asia Society in New York, which was attended by Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh Kapoor, Salman Rushdie, Mira Nair, Aparna Sen, Madhur Jaffrey, Ambassador Prakash Shah, Consul General Prabhu Dayal, and many other notable celebrities. After the screening, this year’s awards were announced.

    Best Director winner Aparna Sen (Iti Mrinalini). Photo Credit: MichaelToolan.com

    Sthaniya Sambaad (Spring in the Colony), directed by Arjun Gourisaria & Moinak Biswas was named Best Feature Film. Iti Mrinalini scored two nods with Best Actress for Konkona Sen Sharma and Best Director for Aparna Sen. Rishi Kapoor was named Best Actor for Disney’s Do Dooni Chaar.

    (L-R) Presenter Neetu Singh Kapoor and Best Actor winner Rishi Kapoor (Do Dooni Chaar) Photo Credit: MichaelToolan.com

    Mohan Raghavan received Best Screenplay for T.D. Dasan Std. VI B., Max Carlson’s Bhopali ,which covered the 1984 Union Carbide factory gas leak that contaminated and killed thousands in Bhopal, India, was named Best Documentary, and Abhay Kumar’s Just That Sort Of A Day was named Best Short Film.

    Mohan Raghavan received Best Screenplay for T.D. Dasan Std. VI B.,

    The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country. http://www.iaac.us/nyiff2011/

    Max Carlson’s Bhopali was named Best Documentary.

    About the Indo-American Arts Council: The Indo-American Arts Council is a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit, secular service and resource arts organization charged with the mission of promoting and building the awareness, creation, production, exhibition, publication and performance of Indian and cross-cultural art forms in North...
  • Photos: Neetu Singh Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor at 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival Opening Night

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    (L-R) Neetu Singh Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor on the red carpet. Photo credit: MichaelToolan.com

    The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival kicked off in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night, May 4, with the Opening Night celebration which featured the U.S. Premiere of the Delhi-set comedy “Do Dooni Chaar,” Disney’s first live-action Hindi film. The star-studded red carpet premiere, held at Manhattan’s prestigious Paris Theater, was attended by special guests Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor along with writer/director Habib Faisal. Also attending the premiere were Aparna Sen, Madhur Jaffrey, Aditya Bhattacharya, Ajay Naidu, Samrat Chakrabarti, Meetu Chilana, Rehana Mirza, Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sarita Choudhury, Ami Sheth, Poorna Jagannathan, and many other actors and filmmakers whose films will play at NYIFF through Closing Night on Sunday, May 8, 2011.

    (L-R) Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh Kapoor, director Habib Faisal, and NYIFF director Aseem Chhabra at the post-screening Q&A. Photo credit: MichaelToolan.com

    Following the screening of “Do Dooni Chaar” was a discussion with Faisal and the Kapoors moderated by festival director Aseem Chhabra which had the audience laughing throughout. A gala benefit dinner followed at the opulent Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South.

    (standing L-R) IAAC Executive Director Aroon Shivdasani and NYIFF director Aseem Chhabra. (seated L-R) Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor at the gala dinner. Photo credit: MichaelToolan.com

    The 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival, presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country. NYIFF runs from Wednesday, May 4 to Sunday, May 8 with 25 feature films including 15 World and U.S. Premieres, industry panels, photo exhibits, afterparties, and more. Tickets are available online at http://www.iaac.us/nyiff2011/
  • Samrat Chakrabarti stars in Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Shiva Bajpai’s Raju, and Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti at NYIFF

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    Samrat Chakrabarti Photo by Lia Chang

    Award-winning actor and musician Samrat Chakrabarti scores another trifecta starring in three short films at the Tribeca Cinemas – Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story on Friday, May 6, and Soham Mehta’s Fatakra and Shiva Bajpai's Raju on Saturday, May, 7, as part of the 11th Annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF).

    Rehana Mirza’s ‘Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story’ screens on May 6 at 3:30pm. copyright 2011 Rehana Mirza

    Last year, Chakrabarti’s talents were on display in three films at the Festival. He created the score for Sundaram Tagor’s documentary The Poetics of Color: Natvar Bhavsar, and had roles in Claire McCarthy’s The Waiting City opposite Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton, and in Ajay Naidu’s Ashes.

    The New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), presented by the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), is the oldest and most prestigious Indian film festival in the country. NYIFF continues through May, 8, 2011 and tickets are available online at http://www.iaac.us/nyiff2011/

    Friday, May 6, 2011, Tribeca Theater 1, 3:30pm Chakrabarti plays a Muslim groom about to wed a Hindu bride in New Jersey in Rehana Mirza’s Zameer & Preeti: A Love Story. When the groom gets a case of cold feet, will the wedding become just another case of religious conflict? Buy Tickets

    Soham Mehta’s Fatakra screens on Saturday, May 7 at 6pm. copyright 2011 Soham Mehta

    Saturday, May 7, 2011, Tribeca Theater 1, 6 pmIn Soham Mehta’s Fatakra, Chakrabarti plays Naveen, who left India to chase his dreams in America. Three years and a recession later, his wife and son finally join him. Fatakra (Firecracker) tells the story of the sparks that fly on their first day together as dreams collide with reality. Chakrabarti also composed the score for the film, which has been nominated for a Student Academy Award. Buy Tickets http://www.sohammehta.com/films/fatakra/

    Shiva Shankar Bajpai's ‘Raju’ screens on May 7 at 9pm....

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