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INDIA International Film Festival of Tampa Bay FEB. 15-17 IN CENTRO YBOR

The fourth Annual India International Film Festival of Tampa Bay (IIFF) is around the corner. And that leads film-goers right into the historic Ybor City district. The festival is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15, to Sunday, Feb. 17. For the first time, it will be held at the Muvico Centro Ybor. IIFF will include films on a plethora of topics ranging from a documentary about Down syndrome to films about terrorism, patriotism, finding yourself in relationships and losing yourself in spiritual bliss. The schedule, featuring 22 movies of which 14 will be world premieres, will be in English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Nepali and Kashmiri.

The festival is an initiative of the INDO-US Chamber of Commerce and this year’s presenting sponsor is Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Foundation for Global Understanding along with Freedom Health.

IIFF will kick off with a red-carpet opening reception at 6:30 p.m. on Friday with filmmakers and other VIPs in attendance. Opening night feature, “Listen..Amaya” is a directorial debut by Avinash Kumar Singh and Geeta Singh (both will be in attendance). The film brings one of bollywood’s most loved onscreen pair from the 1980s, Farooque Shaikh and Deepti Naval back together after more than 25 years. “Listen..Amaya” is a modern, young, contemporary film about relationships, family dynamics, pre-conceptions and priorities. The opening night festivities include a red-carpet reception, film screening, Q&A with the filmmakers, dinner and an after party.

Deepti Naval attended the
film festival last year.

Last year, Naval was a chief guest at IIFF and her directorial debut was shown. The second and third day of the festival starts at 1 p.m. with film screenings in two theaters simultaneously. Historic Ybor city will be treated with vibrant Indian cultural performances in the Centro Ybor courtyard from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The performances are free and open the public.

Adults and children alike will enjoy the film “Gattu” about an illiterate street boy who has only one ambition – to fly kites and reign supreme in the blue skies. He will turn around everything in his small world to string his dream together. With neither money nor education on this side, he sets out for his goal.

Other films include “Valley of Saints” – a captivating Kashmiri film with international accolades shot in the war-torn, beautiful Kashmir; “Highway” – a Nepali film set against the backdrop of the new culture of bandhs (general strikes) that frequently immobilize post-conflict Nepal, exploring relationship stories that become intertwined on an ill-fated bus journey; “Paanch Adhyaay”a Bengali film starring Dia Mirza and Priyanshu Chatterjee, a story of love found and lost in the lives of a contemporary Indian couple, told in moments past and present.

GattuAlso featured is a documentary film, “Yoga Is: a Transformational Journey” along with a yoga demonstration open to public at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Centro Ybor courtyard. A complete list of films and schedule is available at www.IIFFTampa.com

The IIFF after-party will be from 11 p.m. Saturday at Jackson’s Bistro in Harbour Island.

The festival provides the Tampa Bay community an opportunity for increased awareness of the Indian culture through films. It will also be a unique opportunity for attendees to watch independent films and interact with filmmakers.

Indian cultural performances will be presented in the Centro Ybor courtyard.

Individual movie tickets are $10; the festival pass, which includes entry into every film screening, and all events of the festival (excluding Saturday night party), is $75 (to attend just the opening night, cost is $50, which includes dinner and cocktails); a one-day pass that allows admission into all films and on-site events for Saturday or Sunday is $25; a two-day pass is $40. Film passes are available at www.IIFFTampa.com, and at the door.

More Leading News

Dr. Rao Musunuru

The 10th annual IndiaFEST put together by Palm Beach India Association will be on Saturday, Feb. 16, in downtown West Palm Beach.


The inaugural events for Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh USA Inc. (HSS) year-long “SV150” celebration of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary took place on Jan. 12 at more than 100 locations nationwide.


The 16th annual Indiafest will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Wickham Park Pavilion.



Photo credit:
SUPhotography © Sana Ullah

Gear up for the sixth annual Miami Mayhem, an intercollegiate garba/raas competition showcasing eight raas teams from across the nation battle for more than $3,000 in cash.

On Saturday, March 2, the University of Miami Indian Students Association will host the event, which also offers an opportunity for teams to compete for a national championship title. Additionally, there will be exhibition performances by teams from Gainesville, Boston and Pittsburg, as well as locals.

All proceeds benefit Sunil’s Home Charity, an organization that addresses the increasing needs of orphans in India. The staff and volunteers of Sunil’s Home commit their time, talent and resources to help orphans transform their lives.

Miami Mayhem will begin at 6 p.m. at Julius Littman Performing Arts Theater, 17011 N.E. 19th Ave., North Miami Beach. Tickets priced from $15 to $25 can be purchased at www.miami-mayhem.com starting in mid-February. For details, call (630) 453-9383 or e-mail [email protected]



Ocala, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Lakeland will hold their annual Ekal Vidyalaya fundraisers in February and March. Performing at all the concerts will be “Sa Re Ga Ma” winner and Bollywood singer Sanjeevani Bhelande. She will be accompanied by singer Chirag, flute player Mohit Shastry, tabla player Amit Mehta and percussionist Rupesh. The group will present Bollywood melodies, ghazals and bhajans.

The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation (www.ekal.org) strives to bring education and village development to rural India. As a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, Ekal initiates, supports and runs non-formal one-teacher schools in India. The movement strives to create a network of non-formal schools and health education that will educate and empower children in rural and tribal India. Ekal schools operate on a minimal $1-a-day budget.

OCALA: The concert will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, at India Association Cultural & Educational Center, 2030 N.E. 36th Ave. For details, call Dr. Nand Kishore Karve at (352) 237-3084 or e-mail [email protected], or Dr. Anju Vasudevan at (352) 239-2532

TALLAHASSEE: Sanjeevani and her group will perform from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the FSU Moore Auditorium. For information, call Srini Kishore at (850) 321-4705.

JACKSONVILLE: The fundraiser will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, at Morocco Shrine Auditorium, 3800 Saint Johns Bluff Road S. For details, call Sarath Kuravi at (904) 287-8334 or e-mail [email protected]

ORLANDO: The charity event will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at Lyman High School, 865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood. Admission is free. For information, call Suresh Gupta at (407) 352-2889 or e-mail [email protected]

TAMPA: Sanjeevani and her group will perform from 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road. Tickets are $25 and include dinner/parking; free for FAPI and ICC members. For information, call Jawahar Tauk at (727) 480-3829 or e-mail [email protected], or call Dr. Umesh Choudhry at (727) 507-0584.

LAKELAND: The fundraiser will be held from 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple, 2793 New Tampa Highway. For details, call Nilesh K. Patel at (863) 853-9315 or (863) 688-3117.


The 16th annual Indiafest will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Wickham Park Pavilion, 3845 N. Wickham Road. Presented by Manav Mandir, this year’s theme is “Celebrating 100 Years of Bollywood.” The Discover India booth will carry the theme with props, colorful displays, and historical information on the evolution of Indian Cinema over the last century. Of course, there will be mouth-watering Indian cuisine, entertainment throughout the day with traditional Indian music from the sitar, tabla and santoor, yoga and Zumba demonstrations, and then traditional folk, classical and modern Indian dances while the fashion show will be the highlight of the day. Vendors will sell jewelry, clothes, arts and crafts, music and videos.

Started as a humble effort by the community, today Indiafest is a symbol of cultural enrichment. The volunteer-run organization has supported numerous charities such as The Hope Center, Early Intervention Program, Crosswinds Project, The Spot Light Theater, Bright Star for Grieving Children, Cancer Care, The Brevard Hindu Temple, Meals on Wheels, and Red Cross. This year, the organization has selected the “Sentinels of Freedom” as the special charity. Sentinels of Freedom assist severely wounded or disabled veterans as they return home from their service to the country.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 12 and under and kids younger than 5 years of age are free. For more information, call Nina Gadodia at (321) 779-0110, Yasmin Majeed at (321) 720-8590, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.indiafestbrevard.org


Alam Khan

Kartik Seshadri

Celebrating 15 years of India’s culture and heritage, the Association of Performing Arts of India will hold a Tribute Concert to Pandit Ravi Shankar from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts’ Amaturo Theater on Saturday, March 2. The recital features sitarist Kartik Seshadri and sarod player Alam Khan, noted performers in their own right, and lauded by the late Ravi Shankar himself. They will be accompanied by Hindole Majumdar on tabla and Shanti Viswanathan on tanpura.

The evening features a full concert followed by a vegetarian dinner. Tickets are $25-$45 for the concert and $30 for dinner after the performance. Broward’s Amaturo Theater is at 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. For tickets, call (954) 462-0222. For more information, visit http://goo.gl/HHZJ2

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