The UK’s leading South Asian film festival to champion female-oriented films, artists and auteurs goes national this year to mark its 20th anniversary. Historically known as Tongues on Fire and, more recently, London Asian Film Festival, the festival synonymous with programmes featuring strong, South Asian feminist content will run in four cities across the UK.
The theme for 2018 is ‘F-Rated’, a rating that is given to films that are directed by women and/or written by women, while also featuring a significant female presence on screen.
Along with other films being screened at the festival this year, all of which focus on the female experience in different settings and context, Mahira Khan’s Verna will also screened at the festival this year.
Described as one of the most highly-anticipated films in Pakistani cinema in recent years, Verna is a timely revenge thriller and social drama by acclaimed director Shoaib Mansoor, known for his films Khuda Ke Liye and Bol. Mahira Khan stars as Sara, a teacher abducted, held captive and raped for three days by a governor’s son. When the justice system proves to offer no redress, Sara decides to take matters into her own hands to seek out her revenge. Upon release, the film was initially banned for its subject matter and treatment of honour and rape but after a huge amount of support on social media, this was eventually lifted, with cinemas selling out screenings before the final decision was even made.