Brand Bollywood Downunder Wins At Tongues On Fire UK Asian Film Festival

The documentary directed by Anupam Sharma picked up the Flame Award at the London event.

Brand Bollywood Downunder

Australian feature documentary Brand Bollywood Downunder won the Flame Award for Best Documentary 2024 at the annual Tongues on Fire UK Asian Film Festival in London on Sunday May 12.

Tongues on Fire is a non-profit organisation responsible for the annual UK Asian Film Festival, with the festival aiming "to celebrate the richness of South Asian culture, history, arts, and self-expression by providing a platform for emerging talent, independent films, and arts linked to South Asia".

The documentary directed by Sydney-based Anupam Sharma had its European Premiere at the film festival along with an invitation only-screening by the Indian High Commissioner at India House in London. The award was received on behalf of the film by Manpreet Kaur Singh, a journalist and broadcaster at SBS who was one of the on-screen talent in the film talking about Bollywood in Australia.

This comes after the documentary was released in over 39 screens in Australia in November at last year. In Brand Bollywood Downunder, Sharma enlisted an impressive lineup of Bollywood heavyweights to speak about the globalisation of Hindi-language popular cinema through its “love affair” with Australia. These big names included Farhan Akhtar, Fardeen Khan, Harman Baweja and of course, Anupam Kher. 

Bollywood will always take you on an escape,” Sharma previously told Draw Your Box in November. “When Bollywood or cinema started to educate and enlighten people, then it was called the art film. It wasn’t called Bollywood anymore.” 

Brand Bollywood Downunder director Anupam Sharma.

Brand Bollywood Downunder director Anupam Sharma. Image Source: Supplied

The industry has slowly shifted over time. Sharma likened the diversity of Bollywood cinema to a “thali” boasting various dishes, but emphasised that dreaming and escapism will always be a fundamental element of Bollywood."

Of course, Indian cinema is not limited to Bollywood. Many from the West, in particular, don’t realise that Bollywood is simply Hindi-language cinema. Other powerful Indian film industries create Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam movies, to name a few. Ultimately, this documentary hones in on just Bollywood, and Sharma hopes audiences will learn more about the biz that has made household names of Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai. 

“I would like them [viewers] to know how and why in India they need and love cinema, and that they cannot pigeonhole Indian cinema into Bollywood, or all Indians into Bollywood fans.” 

Brand Bollywood Downunder

Brand Bollywood Downunder. Image Source: Supplied