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Set and shot in Atlanta, Hindi movie receives accolades

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By Ruksana Hussain

Atlanta, GA: Mumbhai Connection, the first Hindi film set and shot here, debuted at many film festivals in town recently.

One such show was at the Seventh Atlanta Asian Film Festival (AAFF) at Georgia State University’s Cinefest Theater here on October 13.  It was also an official selection at the 10th Urban Mediamakers Film Festival in Duluth, GA,  where it won many awards, and also at the Dixie Film Festival in Athens, GA.

A feature film by a local production company, Rafiki Media, Mumbhai Connection was the only South Asian movie at all these festivals, and was a strong contender for the AAFF Jury Award. Attended by a diverse group of Atlantans, the movie garnered rave responses from the audience.

Mumbhai Connection is a wonderful comedy that brings together educated immigrants and the underworld in the American South. It brings a fresh new perspective on the diverse American landscape with a great twist of humor.” said Kim D. Reimann, director of the Asian Studies Center at Georgia State University who attended the screening.

Mumbhai Connection is a dark comedy that asks the question what happens when the world of IT meets the underworld. It features an almost all local cast and crew and many well-known Atlanta area landmarks are also prominently featured. Several well-known members of the South Asian community in Atlanta are featured in and have contributed to the making of the movie. This is director Atlanta Nagendra’s second feature film. His previous film, Joke Falls, was a silver jubilee hit in Bangalore in 2005.

According to lead actor and producer Rafiq Batcha, “We’re excited to have made the first desi movie set in Atlanta, and to show that when it comes to beauty of locations, talent and diversity, Atlanta is second to none. And we can be funny too — we won the Best Comedy Award at the Third World Independent Film Festival in California this year.”

The movie is about a young Indian IT salesman, Faisal, who is fired from his job and desperately seeking a new job that will sponsor his H1B visa. Just as he’s about to give up and go back to India, a random meeting with a recruiter in a wild 70s themed desi party lands him a sales position at a new IT company in Atlanta. However, things are not what they seem. Faisal now has to sell IT to the Atlanta mafia.  Faisal’s very life is in danger as he is forced to sell what no IT salesman has ever sold before. Exactly what he ends up selling and how he gets out of this mess forms the rest of this movie. Much hilarity ensues and it involves an “item number” by none other than India’s leading playback singer, Sunidhi Chauhan.

At the AAFF premiere gala dinner, the attendees were amused and curious to watch the movie. Li Wong, organizer of the AAFF, said:  “We look forward to cheering for the ‘Atlanta Mafia’ to win this year’s AAFF Jury Award.”

Atlanta Nagendra, director of the movie, added:  “This is not another culture-clash story about Indians in the US. It addresses all the key issues that affect the Indian community today — immigration visas, job loss, family values, inter-community harmony and so on — while presenting a completely new concept that’s never been before. As a character in the movie says, “Why won’t the mafia need IT services? They too run a business.”

Mumbhai Connection is showing next at the BronzeLens Film Festival during November 10-13. As the tagline of the movie says, to “Boldly go where no salesman has gone before.” This is a movie that has boldly gone where no Bollywood movie’s gone before.

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