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19th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles Announces 2021 Award Winners

OGS Team


Grand Jury Prizes awarded to Thamizh’s Seththumaan (Pig) for Best Feature
and Karishma Dev Dube’s Bittu for Best Short

Sajin Babu’s feature Biriyaani, Rima Das’ short For Each Other, Upamanyu Bhattacharyya & Kalp Sanghvi’s short Wade won Honorable Mentions, and Nivita Chaliki won Honorable Mention for her performance in the short film, Forever Tonight.

Audience Awards went to Ajitpal Singh’s Fire in the Mountains for Best Feature
and Aarti Neharsh’s The Song We Sang for Best Short


Mumbai/ Los Angeles, CA (May 27, 2021) – The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) announced today it's Grand Jury winners and Audience Awards for the festival’s 19th edition, which was held virtually and available all over California and, for the very first time, in India from May 20-27. This year’s festival boasted an impressive total of 40 films, including 2 World, 8 North American, 5 U.S. and 18 Los Angeles premieres, spanning 17 languages, with 16 women directors. The festival had an overwhelming response both in California and India.


Award-winning Features

Tamil director Thamizh’s debut film Seththumaan (Pig) took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature. “The grand jury prize for best feature went to a film that impressed us tremendously, both in terms of filmmaking and dramaturgy. It's a phenomenal first feature, gentle and impactful, done with heart and guts, that is at the same time very candid and very mature and complex”, said the Features Jury of their decision. “We see a bright future for Thamizh and we wish him the very best.”

The Features Jury gave an Honorable Mention to Malayalam film Biriyaani directed by Sajin Baabu.After reviewing an exceptional and impactful program, we felt strongly and wanted to give an honorable mention to a film that gives a raw and unflinching look at the strife and hypocrisies experienced by a woman just trying to navigate her life”, stated the Features Jury. “The film included an incredibly powerful performance by the lead, Kani Kusruti.”

Ajitpal Singh’s striking debut feature, Fire In The Mountains won the Audience Award for Best Feature.


Award-winning Shorts

The Grand Jury Prize for Best Short went to Karishma Dev Dube for Bittu. A spectacular film about a brilliant young girl with a foul tongue who discovers that her defiance is lifesaving. We found this film absolutely riveting and compelling. Based on a true story, Dube in an inimitable way managed to humanize the event, avoiding sensationalizing, and ended up telling the story about a friendship between two girls. It's one of the most breathtaking things we've seen in a long time and we can't wait to see what she does next”, commented the Shorts Jury.

The first Honorable Mention in the shorts category was awarded to Rima Das's For Each Other. “It's a wonderful film with amazing tempo and pacing and it really stood out in the jury's deliberations as a very keenly observed film with a very humorous voice,” shared the Shorts Jury.

The next Honorable Mention went to Wade by Upamanyu Bhattacharyya and Kalp Sanghvi. “A strikingly animated short film exploring the harrowing aftermath of climate change and a dystopian reimagining of Calcutta from the writing and story to the sound design, to the breathtaking animation, Wade is a must see”, the Shorts Jury added.

The final Honorable Mention went to a new young actor, star of Forever Tonight, Nivita Chaliki.Nivita delivered a subtly executed performance that brilliantly brought this character's life to the screen illustrating the anxieties of being an Indian American teenager. We are very excited to see her star rise”, stated the Shorts Jury.

The Audience Award for Best Short film went to Aarti Neharsh’s queer love story, The Song We Sang.

The 2021 features jury was helmed by Milan Chakraborty (Head of Film at Marginal Mediaworks), Nathan Fischer (Founder of Paris based sales agency Stray Dogs), and
Jenn Wilson (Co-Manager of the Film Independent Spirit Awards nomination process, and a senior programmer for the year-round member screening series Film Independent Presents).

The 2021 shorts jury was helmed by Tanuj Chopra (Director, Punching at the Sun, Staycation, Showrunner of season 2 of Delhi Crime on Netflix), Nik Dodani (Actor, CBS revival of Murphy Brown, and Alex Strangelove on Netflix), and Sakina Jaffrey (Actor, TNT’s Snowpiercer, and Defending Jacob on Apple TV+).


Award Winners: Features

Grand Jury Award for Best Feature- Seththumaan (Pig) (Director: Thamizh)

Honorable Mention – Biriyaani (Director: Sajin Baabu)

Audience Award for Best Feature - Fire In The Mountains (Director: Ajitpal Singh)


Award Winners: Shorts

Grand Jury Award for Best Short- Bittu (Director: Karishma Dev Dube)

Honorable Mention - For Each Other (Director: Rima Das)

Honorable Mention - Wade (Directors: Upamanyu Bhattacharyya & Kalp Sanghvi)

Honorable Mention for Best Performance in a Short - Nivita Chaliki in Forever Tonight 

Audience Award for Best Short - The Song We Sang (Director: Aarti Neharsh)



The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is a nonprofit organization devoted to a greater appreciation of Indian cinema and culture by showcasing films and promoting the diverse perspectives of the Indian diaspora.