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2018 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, April 11-15

Posted by Amoebite, March 29, 2018 05:50pm | Post a Comment

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Don't miss the 2018 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema, which is taking place April 11-15 at Regal LA Live. This year's lineup features exciting, award-winning new work from Indian filmmakers around the world. Gala tickets and passes, as well as regular screening tickets, are now available at www.indianfilmfestival.org. Get a $2 discount on all regular screening tickets with promo code AMOEBA2018PP.

The festival will open with In The Shadows, starring Manoj Bajpayee in a tour de force performance as a In The Shadowsreclusive shopkeeper who vows to rescue his young neighbor from abuse at the hands of his father. The film premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival and features an impressive Bollywood cast that also includes Ranvir Shorey, Neeraj Kabi, Shahana Goswami, and introduces Om Singh as the young boy. The film’s award-winning Los Angeles-based director Dipesh Jain – making his feature debut – will be in attendance along with star Manoj Bajpayee.

The festival closes with the Los Angeles premiere of Village Rockstars, one of the most lauded Indian The Village Rockstarsfilms on the festival circuit in the past year. The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and is directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Rima Das. The film -- written, shot, edited, and directed by Das -- is a touching coming of age story of a ten-year-old girl in a remote Assamese village who dreams of buying a guitar and starting her own rock band. Purchase your IFFLA Gala ticket for this event on Sunday, April 15. The screening is preceded the Awards Ceremony featuring a prestigious jury: Reza Aslan, Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour, and Sundance breakout Aneesh Chaganty.

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Amoeba Sponsors the 15th Annual Indian Film Festival Los Angeles

Posted by Amoebite, March 13, 2017 05:18pm | Post a Comment

Indian Film Festival Los Angeles

We’re proud to be a sponsor of the 15th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA), which will take place April 5-9 at Regal L.A. LIVE.

IFFLA is devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films, supporting Lipstick Underneath My Burkhaemerging filmmakers, and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora. The five-day festival is the premiere platform for the latest in cutting-edge global Indian cinema and bridges the gap between the two largest entertainment industries in the world – Hollywood and India. The festival will showcase more than 25 films from the Indian filmmaking community across the globe, host the highly anticipated Opening and Closing red carpet Galas, and the Closing Awards ceremony.

The Festival will open with Lipstick Under My Burkha and its impressive ensemble cast of Konkona Hotel SalvationSen Sharma, Ratna Pathak, Aahana Kumra, and Plabita Borthakur in a dramatic, but irreverent and vibrant film about women and faith. The festival closes with the Los Angeles premiere of Hotel Salvation, the debut feature of Shubhashish Bhutiani, whose 2013 short film Kush was shortlisted for the Live Action Short Film Oscar and won IFFLA’s 2014 Audience Award.

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Unrecognized South Asia: An introduction to the Tripuri people

Posted by Eric Brightwell, August 25, 2014 11:47am | Post a Comment
India is home to over 1.21 billion people, roughly 18% of entire human population. Indians speak Austroasiatic, Dravidian, Indo-European, and Tibeto-Burman languages (as well as two language isolates) and there are over 2,000 ethnic groups in the vast country. India's considerable diversity, however, tends to be simplified or overlooked in the west, where Hindi language Bollywood cinema becomes metonymic for the entire Indian film industry and North Indian cooking (rather than being subdivided into Awadhi, Bihari, Bhojpuri, Kumauni, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Rajasthani, or Uttarpradeshi) becomes shorthand for the cuisine of an entire subcontinent.


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THE TRIPURI

One of the less-widely recognized or discussed ethnic groups in India are the Tripuri (also known as the Tipra or Tipperah). They are believed to have migrated from somewhere in Western China to the Brahmaputra Valley at least 2,000 years ago -- which may sound like a long time ago but is relatively recent in a subcontinent believed to have been first settled by humans at least 70,000 years ago and another hominid species, Homo heidelbergensis, perhaps as many as 800,000 years before them. 


 
Members of the Debbarma Tribe of Tripuri (image source: Northeast Indian People) and
Tripuri refugees of interethnic conflict (image source:
Intercontinental Cry)


Exactly when the Tripuri Kingdom arose is an unresolved question. The Rajmala -- a chronicle of Tripuri kings -- was written in the 15th Century and lists 179 rulers but the accuracy of its claims is in question. At various times, the borders of the Tripuri Kingdom reached south to the Bay of Bengal, north to the boundary of the Kamarupa Kingdom in Assam; and east to Burma. Muslim invasions occurred from the 13th century onward and exerted considerable influence on the Tripuri government. During Britain's occupation of India, Tripura became a princely state. In the 19th Century, still under the British, the capital was moved to Agartala.


The kings of the Tripura princely state had long encouraged Bengali immigration -- which contributed to improved agricultural techniques, an englarged administrative sphere, and a linguistic shift in courtly literature. However, after the Tripuri kingdom joined the newly independent India in 1949, Bengali immigration increased and the Tripuri became a minoriy in their own homeland, which unfortunately contributed to a rise in interethnic violence. Today Bengalis represent roughly 69% of Tripuri's population whereas the Tripuri make up just 17%. The modern state is the third-smallest state in the India. In the past there have been organizations who've sought to restore Tripuri's independence including the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV), the National Liberation Front of Tripura, the All Tripura Tiger Force and at least nine others.


The Tibeto-Burman language of the Tripuri is sometimes known as Tripuri but more often as Kókborok. Kókborok was recognized as an official language of Tipura state in 1979. Religiously speaking, most Tripuri are Hindu and believe in a patron goddess, Tripureshwari. Several regionally-observed festivals represent confluence of several tribal traditions, such as Ganga puja, Garia puja, Kharchi puja, and the Ker puja, which honors the guardian deity of Vastu Devata, "Ker."


The traditional cuisine of Tripura is known as mui borok. Rice is the staple food. A key ingredient in many dishes is berma, a type of dried and fermented fish. Vegetarianism is actually rather rare and in addition to fishchickens, cows, crabs, frogs, pigs, sheep, shrimp, and turtles are all likely to be found on the menu. Popular dishes include chatang (a millet or sorghum flour mush) and mosodeng (a dish prepared with chiles, berma, meat, and vegetables). A popular drink is chuak, a sort of rice beer. 




As mentioned earlier, it is inaccurate to equate Mumbai's Hindi Language musicals – Bollywood – with Indian Cinema. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal all have their own cinematic cultures. Despite a rich theater tradition, Tripura has not yet emerged as major film-producing center. It has produced at least one filmmaker who's garnered a degree of international recognition though, Father Joseph Pulinthanath. In 2004 he completed Mathia (The Bangle), which was well-received at home. Yarwng (Roots), completed in 2008, concerned the displacement of large numbers of Tripuri by the construction of a dam and played in cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania and was honored with several awards. Both were released by Sampari Pictures.

There have been a few Tripuri who've gained exposure within the Indian entertainment industry. Mandakranta Debbarma was a contestant on MTV Splitsvilla, an Indian reality show modeled after Flavor of Love




The folk music of the Tripuri uses a variety of indigenous instruments including the chongpreng, dangdu, kham, sarinda (a lute-like instrument played with a bow), summi (a bamboo flute), and cymbals.  



One musician, Hemanta Jamatia, gained attention in 1979 when he used his musical talents to compose and perform the revolutionary soundtrack to the separatist struggle of the TNV, with which he was then affiliated. He renounced violence in 1983 but continued to fight for the Tripuris right to self-determination through his songs, which number over 200 in number. In 1996 he became the first Tripuri folk musician to be honored by India's Sangeet Natak Academy.





In 2009, Tripuri singer 
Sourabhee Debbarma (born 1985 in Agartala, Tripura) became the first female contestant to win on Indian Idol.


Tripuri musician Borkung Hrangkhawl (born 1987 in Kamlacherra), performs his raps as BK. His father is president of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra.

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As always, I welcome any corrections and will happily consider making relevant additions. If you can make a visit to Tripuri happen for me, that would be even better. 


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CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music Present Shujaat Hussain Khan

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 16, 2014 07:18pm | Post a Comment

CIIS Public Programs & Performances and Amoeba Music present virtuoso sitar player Shujaat Hussain KhanShujaat Hussain Khan on Friday, May 2nd at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco.

Shujaat Hussain Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana of the sitar and is the seventh in an unbroken line from a family that has produced many musical masters. He is the son and disciple of the master sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan. His musical pedigree continues back through his grandfather Ustad Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan, and his great-great-grandfather Ustad Sahebdad Khan - all leading artists of their generations.

At the age of three, Shujaat began practicing on a specially made small sitar, and by the time he was six the child prodigy started giving public performances. Since then he has performed at all the prestigious music festivals in India and he has traveled around the world performing in Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe.

Shujaat has his own unique style of playing. His approach to rhythm is largely intuitive, fresh and spontaneous, always astonishing his audiences. He was recently a visiting artist at UCLA and currently lives in New Delhi, touring throughout India, the United States, and Europe each year. 

Get your tickets HERE!

California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Little India

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 20, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
YOU'RE MY LOVE SONG IN THE FLOWERS -- LITTLE INDIA


Little India is a small neighborhood within Artesia centered on Pioneer Blvd. However, since the population of Artesia surrounding Little India is more Mexican, Filipino and Chinese (not to mention home to smaller but significant number of Koreans and Vietnamese), the city council and mayor rather lamely compromised, officially designating it the "International and Cultural Shopping District." Catchy, huh? That silliness suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of what a designated ethnic enclave is... that is, a community that retains a cultural distinction from the larger community. Oh well, everyone knows it as Little India, whether it's official or not.




EARLY ARTESIA - DAIRYLAND

Artesia, named after the area's artesian wells, was primarily developed in the 1920s and '30s by mostly Portuguese and Dutch dairy farmers. Later came Dutch-colonized Indonesians. The character of Southeast Los Angeles became increasingly suburban after World War II and most of the homes in the immediate area date from the mid 1940s to the early '50s.


Pioneer Boulevard in the 1950s

As development increased, so did the value of the land and most of the local farmers sold and began moving away to Chino or the Central Valley to continue farming. The Portuguese-Brazilian Portazil Bakery, the Portuguese restaurant The Navigator and the Dutch Artesia Bakery have all closed in recent decades after many years of operation.


There are still vestiges of Artesia's ethnic past with organizations like the Artesia Portuguese DES, Portugal Imports, Artesia Drive In Dairy and California Dairies. In addition, the Portuguese Festa do Espirito Santo still occurs annually.


In the 1970s, the first Indian-American merchants began to move into the older buildings along the boulevard (some which date back to the 1920s -- their architecture and sign shapes give hints to their original purposes). As Little India grew, new mini-malls were built. Most of the newer shopping buildings date back to the 1990s and are ugly, bland, nondescript and vaguely Mexican-looking strip malls so common throughout the region. 


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Little India

As with many of ethnic enclaves in Los Angeles, the exteriors of Little India give little hint as to what lies beneath the faded stucco surface. Roll down the windows, however, and the unmistakable smell of Indian food and spices wafts pleasantly through the air. Peek inside the buildings to find crowded, cluttered markets and restaurants that tend to look more like dingy cafeterias or, alternately, garish nightclubs. But before we delve into Little India, allow me to elaborate on the much older history of Indians in America.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIAN-AMERICANS

The history of Indian-Americans is older than that of the USA itself. It began in the 1600s, when the East India Company brought Indian servants to the American colonies, where they were treated, essentially, as slaves. In fact, in 1680, an Indian man and Irish woman gave birth to a baby girl. Being "mixed-race," she was classified as "mulatto," taken from her parents and promptly sold into slavery. After the US achieved freedom from the British Empire, the first recorded Indian immigrants arrived in the 1790s, to work in the maritime industry.

 

Larger numbers of Indians, mostly Punjabi Sikhs, began immigrating to America and Canada's west coast in the early 20th century, mostly to work in lumber mills and on the railroads. There they faced considerable hostility and in Live Oak, California and Bellingham, Washington, they were driven from town by angry white mobs.

 
 
Left: A.K. Mozumdar (second from right) Right: the Asiatic Barred Zone

To make matters worse, the 1913 passage of the California Alien Land Law made non-citizen Asians ineligible to own property. A few months later, even leasing land became off limits to Indians. The same year, Indian-American religious figure A.K. Mozumdar became the first to earn US citizenship after successfully arguing before a district judge that he was “Caucasian” and therefore eligible under the naturalization law that restricted citizenship to free white people. In 1917, the Asiatic Barred Zone Act banned Asians from a large part of the continent from immigrating to the US.

 
 
Bhagat Singh Thind 

In 1923, the case of United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (a World War I veteran who'd fought for the US) results with Indians' being ineligible for citizenship because, though classified as Caucasian, they're also determined to be "not white." A.K. Mozumdar, along with all naturalized Indian-Americans that followed him, had his citizenship revoked as a result.

  

In 1946, Missourian President Harry Truman signed into law the Luce-Celler Act of 1946, returning the right of immigration and naturalization to a limited number of Indians and Filipinos. In 1965, Texan President Lyndon Johnson signed the INS Act into law, eliminating per-country immigration quotas.

 
Left: 
Kaushal Sharan years after his attack, Right: 
Navroze Mody (middle)

In the 1980s, as more Indians were able to move to the US, they met increased hostility. Gangs like The Dotbusters formed in New Jersey to target Indians with violence and harassment. In 1987, one of their victims, Kaushal Sharan, was beaten with a baseball bat and suffered brain damage. Navroze Mody wasn't so lucky and was beaten to death by the same gang, also in 1987.

   
   Balbir Singh Sodhi                         Frank Roque                             Saurabh Bhalerao recovering from his attack

After the 9/11 Arab Terrorist Attacks, non-Arab South Asians in several cases bore the brunt of inflamed racist hatred. Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station attendant, was shot five times and killed by Frank Roque in Los Angeles. Roque was picked up after boasting at a bar, "They're investigating the murder of a turban-head down the street." In 2002 a Hindu pizza deliverer, Saurabh Bhalerao, was mugged and beaten in Massachusetts for "being Muslim." His attackers, after telling him to go back to Iraq, stuffed him in the trunk of their car. Bhalerao escaped and took a hammer to one of his cowardly assailants before being stabbed as he fled.
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