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Happy Hour: Raising a Toast to South Asian American Stories and Representation in Cinema

Happy Hour: Raising a Toast to South Asian American Stories and Representation in Cinema

  • On the sidelines of the Tribeca Film Festival, separate parties were hosted to celebrate the two films that made the lineup.

Ravi Kapoor, the director of “Four Samosas,” says his film is “about finding your people, finding your village.” So, while working on it, he stuck to his “village,” and found the people who he loves to work with, and people who support his work.

Ravi Kapoor, director of “Four Samosas,” right, with some of the film’s cast and others from the industry, at an after party at Baar Baar restaurant in New York, June 10, to celebrate its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo credit Sachin Mital Photography) Top, cast and crew of the short film “Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine,” with chef Vikas Khanna and Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi, at a celebration to mark the film’s selection at the film festival. (Photo credit: Fahim Feroj)

That love and support were in full display on June 10 at a late-night party at the trendy Baar Baar restaurant in New York, to celebrate the world premiere of Kapoor’s film and its ensemble South Asian American cast at the Tribeca Film Festival. With a champagne flute in their hands, members of the film fraternity raised a toast to the film, its cast and crew, and of course to South Asian talent and representation across industries. The room was packed beyond capacity with both industry vets and newbies, as well as filmmakers, producers, and publicists.

The cast and crew of “Four Samosas” walked the red carpet as they posed for the cameras and gave interviews to the desi press. Their peers and supporters also walked the red carpet, gushing about the film.

Keertana Sastry, left, and Pallavi Sastry, co-producers of “Land of Gold,” at the “Four Samoas” after party at Baar Baar restaurant. (Photo credit Sachin Mital Photography)

“Four Samosas” stars Venk Potula, Sonal Shah, Sharmita Bhattacharya, Nirvan Patnaik, Karan Soni, Meera Simhan, Summer Bishil, Sujata Day, Smarat Chakraborti, and Sreejit Nair, among others.

The plot of the film revolves around the “happy-go-lucky, underachieving, wanna-be rapper Vinny (Potula), who is dismayed to learn that his favorite ex-girlfriend Rina (Bishil) is planning to marry his smarmy arch-nemesis. Determined to disrupt the wedding as well as fund the dreams of his family and friends, he and his band of neighborhood pals concoct a plan to steal Rina’s dowry jewels from her father’s supermarket safe. Tribeca describes it as a “lighthearted and engaging film, which is “a feel-good love letter to Indian American culture and norms in this tale of putting it all on the line in the name of love.”

The event was organized by Jitin Hingorani, CEO of Jingo Media, the PR & Marketing firm representing “Four Samosas,” and “Coming Out With The Help Of A Time Machine,” at the festival. “South Asian representation at a mainstream festival like Tribeca has never been more relevant,” Hingorani told American Kahani. “We jumped on the opportunity to celebrate these milestones and gather the community to generate much-deserved buzz about universal stories captured through the South Asian lens.”

Jitin Hingorani, CEO of Jingo Media, who organized the two events, second from left; with Sam Bhatia, principal, Sufi Wine Company, left; jewelry designer and entrepreneur Amrita Singh, third from left; and chef Vikas Khanna, at an event to celebrate the success of the film “Coming Out.” (Photo credit Sachin Mital Photography)

The following day, many gathered at Hingorani’s second event at Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna’s New York home to celebrate “Coming Out.” It was a perfect evening for the rooftop venue as the film’s cast and crew mingled with others from the film fraternity to celebrate the film’s success.

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Khanna lauded the actors and director Naman Gupta for making a poignant film on a socially relevant subject. Also in attendance was Bollywood actor and philanthropist Vivek Oberoi. He said “Coming Out” could teach parents dealing with the coming out of their kids to operate “more from the heart, more from the place of love,” with their children, “rather than a place of judgment, or the fear of being judged.”

Guests at the “Four Samoas” after party at Baar Baar restaurant.
(Photo credit Sachin Mital Photography)

“Coming Out” tells the story of Sid, (Karan Soni), who, when coming out to his traditional Indian parents, uses his time machine to reset the day in an attempt to make sure everything goes perfectly.

Gupta is currently developing a TV series based on the film, he announced at the event and said the one-hour drama series will be a uniquely South Asian sci-fi drama.

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