3rd I South Asian Film Festival 2011 – “I Am Sindhutai Sapkal”, “Play Like A Lion” and “Semshook”

I Am Sindhutai Sapkal

I Am Sindhutai Sapkal is the dramatization of the real life mother to over 1,000 children, with all but 3 being adopted.  Her transition from a poor, abused and banished woman into a saintly mother of abandoned and orphaned children is a long and epic one.  Sapkal’s life story is told in flashbacks while traveling to San Jose for another one of her inspirational fund raising speeches.  It is because of this narrative structure where I know how things will work out that never once was I too worried with her ordeal or fear that she was in any real grave danger.  Still, I was able to ignore this aspect of the film, along with some questionable acting talents of the supporting cast, and get lost within Sapkal’s journey.  I chalk this up to my need for more lifetime-esque drama in my life.

Showtimes for I Am Sindhutai Sapkal:

Saturday, November 12th – 2:30pm

Play Like A Lion: The Legacy of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan

Play Like A Lion follows Alam Khan, the son of maestro Ali Akbar Khan, as he tries to figure out how he will live and play music when his father passes away.  The music, which is by far the best part of the film, is amazing.  It is a style of music that I had never listened to before and yet it captivated me like most contemporary music can’t.  Aside from the music however, I felt the movie had nothing to offer me.  It got a bit to spiritual at times and I found myself wishing I could just listen to the hypnotizing music without watching the whole movie.  That being said, if you are already somewhat familiar with Ali Akbar Khan or Alam Khan, which I was not, you might really enjoy this film.  As someone who knew nothing about maestro Ali Akbar Khan coming into the film I give it 2 stars, but I feel this film is intended for those who already know of him so I could see his fans giving it 3 to 4 stars.

Showtimes for Play Like A Lion: The Legacy of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan:

Sunday, November 13th – 4:30pm (Roxie Theater)


The search for truth is never an easy journey, just ask Tenzin.  His search for truth and meaning leads him, along with his cool Indiana Jones hat, on a trip through the dangerous Himalayan landscape.  This film truly shines during the last half where only the character of Tenzin and the Himalayas occupy the frame.  Up until this moment (the entire first half) the film seemed to drag on and exist only for the purpose of having a bloated back story, when no back story was needed.  To put the film in the context with other survival films; when it was at its best it reminded me most of both Sean Penn‘s Into The Wild and Danny Boyle‘s 127 hours, minus the self-mutilation.  Though I won’t say how it ends, I will say that it was somewhat abrupt and disappointing, whereas other films that have used similar endings have been able to pull of such an unconventional feat.  For those of you yearning for a humanistic survival film, enjoy.

Showtimes for Semshook:

Friday, November 11th – 9:45pm (Roxie Theater)


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Categories: Reviews

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