Belfast Film Festival kicks off a new five-year ‘cultural diversity in film’ project this year, and as part of this is set to host one of cinema’s biggest names, Aamir Khan. Newsweek has called him “the biggest movie star in the world“, and in 2013, Time magazine named him as one of the world’s hundred most influential people.
Khan, an award-winning director, critically acclaimed actor, producer and television presenter will make his first ever visit to Ireland to attend the festival.
Aamir Khan’s prolific career covers over thirty years in film and his popularity reaches across India, China and the West;he has a staggering 24 million twitter followers.
His work combines some of the most widely seen entertainment cinema in film history – comedies such as 3 Idiots (2009) and PK (2014) – with innovation. He insisted that the Oscar nominated epic Lagaan (2001), in which he starred and produced, was shot with synch sound – rare in Indian cinema; In Dangal (2016), he changed his body shape more radically than Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull; he has consistently made films about learning. His directorial debut – the award-winning Taare Zameen Par (2007) – explored the subject of dyslexia; Satyamev Jayate, the TV show that he created and presents, was seen in 165 countries by a billion people. The TV series addressed subjects like honour killings, domestic violence, political corruption. Known for his far-reaching humanitarian work, he brings attention to critical world problems affecting children, the environment, human rights, poverty, slavery, people trafficking and many other issues. And he’s fascinated by history.
With each of his successive films, Khan has attracted legions of additional fans and simultaneously shattered previous box-office records. His pictures are not just commercially popular but are also critically successful. His 2016 sports biopic ‘Dangal’, showing as part of the festival, is the highest grossing film,in Indian cinema, of all-time.
From playing a wrestler (Dangal), to a man faced with the horrors of partition (Earth), Aamir Khan is nothing if not versatile. He brings an authenticity to the screen which has made him one of the leading actors of his generation.
During the 19th Belfast Film Festival, Aamir Khan will participate in an ‘In Conversation’ event in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast. This event on Tuesday 16th April will celebrate Khan’s body of film work and pay tribute to his humanitarian activities.
The evening will be hosted by Nasreen Munni Kabir, author of 17 books on Hindi cinema, Nasreen has made over 80 TV programmes on Indian film for Channel 4 and continues to curate C4’s annual Indian film season.
Mark Cousins, Chair of the Belfast Film Festival said of Khan’s visit:
“Many of us fell in love with film because of big-hearted movies like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and Tom Hanks’ ‘Big’. That’s the sort of film that Aamir Khan makes. His epic entertainments have the spirit of Frank Capra movies; he draws on the best of Hindi film. He uses his stardom as boldly as Jane Fonda. We are honoured that he will come to the Belfast Film Festival. If you haven’t seen Aamir Khan’s films, treat yourself! A special thank you to Nasreen Munni Kabir, one of the most admired people in Indian film.”
Michele Devlin, Director of the Belfast Film Festival said:
“The Belfast Film Festival’s tribute to Aamir Khan is the start of a bold new five-year exploration of cultural diversity in film, which will include Chinese, Polish and many other cultures. As part of this work we are delighted to announce a new collaboration with the New York Indian Film Festival.
Indian cinema – its stardom, storytelling, history, themes and popularityis a great starting point for this project, and hosting the wonderful Aamir Khan is a perfect beginning.”
Speaking ahead of the festival was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland. He said:
“Belfast Film Festival brings the very best in world cinema to Northern Ireland and acts an important platform for local writers, filmmakers, and the arts community.
British Council Northern Ireland is working with local partners to further develop links with India in film and the wider arts, so we are honoured to support a programme which brings one of the most popular and influential actors and directors of Indian cinema to Northern Ireland.”
Nisha Tandon OBE, Founder and Director of ArtsEkta, the city’s leading ethnic arts group and proud promoters of Indian arts and culture commented:
“What a prestigious moment for us to welcome renowned director and actor Aamir Khan to our city. Our community has played an important role in the cultural, social and economic life of Belfast over the last four decades and feels very proud to welcome Aamir who is a pioneering figure in Indian cinema. Our city is rich in Indian arts and tradition, we hope that Aamir will be as inspired by his visit to Belfast as we are and look forward to giving him a famous Northern Irish welcome.”
Film fans, lovers of Indian Cinema, and those who are film curious will be able to see some of Khan’s most popular films throughout the festival at the Movie House, Dublin Road (3 Idiots, Dhobi Ghat/Mumbai Diaries – directed by Khan’s wife, the filmmaker Kiran Rao – Dangal, Taare Zameen Par).
Tickets can be purchased at: www.belfastfilmfestival.org from Thursday 28th February at 10am.
With over 100 events including over 40 premieres, the full programme will launch on Wednesday 13th March.
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