Each year we aim to recognise and pay tribute to members of the Industry, with the presentation of these special Awards. Whether the recipient is a legend or an exciting new breakthrough artist, an innovative and inspirational storyteller or a breath-taking cinematographer and the presentation of the annual LIFF Awards are seen by the film industry as a recognition of their art by the British Asian film loving community.

The coveted London Indian Film Festival Audience Award is voted for by our very discerning, film-loving community throughout the festival period. The Satyajit Ray Short Film Award chosen by the jury recognises the best short in the short film competition category.

The ICON AWARD is presented to artists and filmmakers who have excelled in their craft and the Outstanding Achievement Award is presented to exciting or new breakthrough artists.

Audience Award in London 2023: Barir Naam Shahana (A House Named Shahana)

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2023: Nishachar Burger (Nocturnal Burger)

Audience Award in London & Birmingham 2022: Chhello Show (Last Film Show)

This is truly inspiring, uplifting, and enlightening! As a filmmaker the only dream I cherish is to be loved by the audience. And all credits goes to passionate Cary Rajinder Sawhney and his excellent team at the London Indian Film Festival along with Birmingham, and Manchester, they work so hard to bring the best of Indian cinema to people in the UK that too in amazing venues with in-person shows.

Pan Nalin, Director

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2022: Jaagran

Jaagran was an over-ambitious 20 page dream that we saw together. Miraculously, we put together an experienced team who believed in the script and helped us learn and turn our dream into reality. Today, after getting the honour of receiving an award with Satyajit Ray’s name on it, we’re back to square one. We’re back in a dream. Only this time, it’s not limited to the two of us. This one belongs to twenty more dreamers. Thank you team Jaagran and Thank you LIFF.

Ritviq Joshi & Hardik Sadhwani, Co-directors

ICON Award 2022: Aparna Sen

Outstanding Achievement Award 2022: Taapsee Pannu

Outstanding Achievement Award 2022: Konkona Sen Sharma

Outstanding Achievement Award 2022: Nandita Das

Audience Award in London & Birmingham 2021: W.O.M.B, Woman Of My Billion

It’s heartening to see that people have connected to the film in such a powerful way. A country is made up of its people and we can change our reality today if we all consider each other equal irrespective of gender, we are more powerful if we are equal. It is a privilege to be able to share the stories of the women of my billion and I hope that this film inspires each of us; men and women, to do our bit and make a difference in our own ways.

Srishti Bakshi, Founder of CrossBow Miles

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2021: Black Goat

It’s such a great honour to receive an award with Satyajit Ray‘s name on it. Black Goat is a coming of age story about a Buddhist nun getting her period for the first time. We made this film in Nepal, working with female crew members from all over the world. I’m overjoyed to be the first female director to receive this award in history and I’m looking forward to more Asian movies coming from female directors. This is our time. Thank you

Yi Tang

ICON Award 2021: Hanif Kureishi

ICON Award 2021: Asif Kapadia

ICON Award 2021: Karan Johar

Outstanding Achievement Award 2021: Shruti Haasan

Outstanding Achievement Award 2021: Janhvi Kapoor

Audience Favourite 2020: Mississippi Maslala

This year, this is a special mention from the festival line-up to Mississippi Masala (1991). Directed by Mira Nair, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, it was the most viewed film on the platform.

Mira Nair, Director

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2020: Darling

It’s a special honour to receive an award that has Satyajit Ray’s great name on it. He is someone I have and will always look up to and learn from. The entire Darling team is so grateful to the London Indian Film Festival and the jury for this award and especially grateful for making films available to the audiences in these difficult times.

Darling team

Special Mention: Song We Sang

The Satyajit Ray Short Film Jury offer a special mention to Song We Sang, by 24 year old woman director, Aarti Neharsh.

ICON Award 2020: Deepa Mehta

It is such an honour to receive the ICON Achievement Award at the London Indian Film Festival this year. I love LIFF & the amazing work being done by Cary Sawhney and his team. So grateful for this award.

Deepa Mehta

ICON Award 2020: Shabana Azmi

Acting is a very rewarding profession because you inhabit the world of a character you may never have known and thus enrich your life. I wish to thank the London Indian Film Festival for conferring the prestigious ICON award 2020 on me. I am both delighted and humbled. In these days of the lockdown. Films and the arts have provided great solace to troubled minds and I am proud of being an actor.

Shabana Azmi

Outstanding Achievement Award 2020: Freida Pinto

I’m delighted to receive this award from the London Indian Film Festival, who have shown my films over the years. The team continue to champion South Asian cinema to the UK, and globally now, via this new online platform, moving with the changing times, with a true passion for diverse storytelling.

Freida Pinto

Outstanding Achievement Award 2020: Adil Hussain

Conception, pre production, shooting, post production, showcasing platforms, reviewers, critics and finally the audiences – in these stages, I play but one of the roles as an actor. I joyously accept this kind recognition by the outstanding team of the London Indian Film Festival who, very diligently and carefully curated independent films from Indian Subcontinent for the last 10 years. I also, humbly, share this award with my acting teachers and friends who always believed in me. Thank you.

Adil Hussain

Outstanding Achievement Award 2020: Vidya Balan

I’m aware of the work LIFF has been doing to champion Indian subcontinental cinema, across the UK. In this year, where going online has become inevitable, I’m very pleased to be celebrated, alongside many wonderful films, and cinematic legends.

Vidya Balan

Audience Award 2019: Article 15

Delighted to have won the LIFF Audience Award. So happy that the film actually connected with Indians abroad and with non Indians alike, who are not facing this version of inequality on a daily basis.

Anubhav Sinha, Director

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2019: U Ushacha

LIFF has always held a special significance for me as one of world’s most prestigious film festivals, that emphasises on quality cinema. It is a great honour for me and my team to have our film win the coveted Satyajit Ray Short Film Award.

Rohan Kanawade, Producer

ICON Award 2019: Anurag Kashyap

I’m so grateful to receive this award, but I suspect that the ICON award is trying to tell me that I must retire, which I refuse to do as I will never retire from filmmaking. LIFF will have have to give me many ICON awards before I retire. I love LIFF.

Anurag Kashyap

Outstanding Achievement Award 2019: Richie Mehta

I’m honoured to receive this award. LIFF continues to shine a light on independent South Asian cinema. While my recent work is in the series space, it’s still independent in spirit, and made by a team of people who believe in the power of storytelling to move and inspire.

Richie Mehta

ICON Award 2019: Gurinder Chadha

I am delighted to be honoured and recognised as an icon by LIFF. Working as a British Asian woman in the entertainment industry has many struggles, so it feels good to be recognised. Thank you.

Gurinder Chadha

ICON Award 2019: Buddhadeb Dasgupta

LIFF is a wonderfully curated film festival that’s been growing strength to strength, with the festival Director Cary Sawhney and his team’s relentless hard work and commitment towards it. It is an important festival worldwide and I believe it will grow further because of its love for pure cinema.

Buddhadeb Dasgupta

Outstanding Achievement Award 2019: Radhika Apte

I’m so honoured to receive the award at LIFF. I want to congratulate the festival for creating an opportunity every year, for Indian cinema to be showcased in England, and also the for the UK audience to experience the best of Indian cinema and talent.

Radhika Apte

Rising Star Award 2019: Harshvardhan Kapoor

This award is an unbelievable honour. I’m so shy and awkward when it comes to these things, and I’m still trying to feel my way into the industry. It’s nice whenever people recognise you for doing good films, and it feels good.

Harshvardhan Kapoor

Audience Award 2018: Eaten By Lions

The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festivals Audience Award went to Eaten By Lions by Jason Wingard

The story follows half-brothers Omar (Antonio Aakeel) and Pete (Jack Carroll) as they travel to the British seaside resort of Blackpool looking for Omar’s biological father.

ICON Award 2018: Irrfan Khan

The ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presented to Indian actor Irrfan Khan who is known for films like The Namesake, Life of Pi, and Slumdog Millionaire

Irrfan presented a masterclass at the British Film Institute at the festival in 2013, reuniting on stage with BAFTA and Academy award winner Asif Kapadia, who directed him in The Warrior, accepted his ICON award privately, while undergoing major medical treatment in London.

ICON Award 2018: Manoj Bajpayee

The ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presented to Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee.

Manoj Bajpayee (Aligarh) enthuses: “An actor is always in the making, it’s a process that one follows, and getting this honour at the festival is quite remarkable, more so from the perspective that this year, 2 films of mine, Love Sonia and In The Shadows have showcased here. This being a festival of Indian subcontinental independent films – these I feel, are films that often do complete justice to the medium of cinema, where creativity is at its peak. Getting this award at this prestigious film festival, it definitely is a matter of privilege for me, also in London, the city I love the most.”

The Sunmark Ltd Outstanding Achievement Award 2018: Richa Chadha

The festival has garnered a stellar reputation of highlighting emerging South Asian talent on the international stage. The Sunmark Ltd Outstanding Achievement Award went to Bollywood actress Richa Chadha who starred in the legacy hit film of the festival, Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, and in this year’s opening night world premiere of Tabrez Noorani’s Hollywood-Bollywood continent jumping film Love Sonia, which was a very close contender for the audience award.

Richa says: “This means a lot because it’s an international achievement. Very few festivals celebrate diversity from India. When you say Indian films, people assume it’s just Bollywood and that’s untrue. We have independent films, that survive the onslaught of the nexus, and festivals like LIFF help us in making the right noise back home, so these films stand a chance against the mainstream expensive spectacle films. Thank you for being a true patron of the arts.”

The Sunmark Ltd Best Newcomer Award 2018: Mrunal Thakur

Bollywood newcomer Mrunal Thakur who won the Sunmark Ltd Best Newcomer Award, says: “I always wanted to do a film that would touch the audience and Love Sonia it is! And the journey is so beautiful, as actor to get to witness the harsh realities of life through cinema. I am on cloud nine to receive this award.”

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2018: The Peanut Seller

The annual Satyajit Ray Short Film Award of £1,000, supported by the Bagri Foundation, went to the Indo-German co-production The Peanut Seller and award winner Etienne Sievers. The judges found the work cinematically well crafted, with a simple but powerful humanist story of a lost child.

Etienne Sievers, who grew up in India, says: “I’m incredibly grateful to receive this much coveted award. It’s a huge encouragement to continue to make films that address important social issues in an authentic, aesthetic and engaging way. Many thanks to the LIFF for honouring my film and enabling it to travel even further.”

Audience Award 2017: A Billion Colour Story

The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festivals Audience Award went to A Billion Colour Story, by Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy.

Were thrilled and truly, absolutely honored, to receive this award, said the films director Padmakumar Narasimhamurthy and producer Satish Kaushik. It’s incredibly special for us that A Billion Colour Story resonates with audiences across countries and continents. It continues to vindicate our faith that people and their hearts are the same across cultures and horizons. We dedicate this award to the victims of the recent lynchings, in India.

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2017:Papa

The short film jury awarded the Satyajit Ray Short Film Award, carrying a cash prize of £1000, in association with the Bagri Foundation, went to to Siddarth Chauhan for Papa.

Chair of the Short Film Award jury, Satwant Gill, said: PAPA is mature storytelling, which balances a realistic sense of claustrophobia and frustration with a finely nuanced thread of subtle, deadpan humour. We keenly await this talented young director’s next film.”

Siddarth Chauhan commented on winning the festivals award:”It was an honour to be a part of this competition and it is an even greater honour to win this Award. A heartfelt thank you to the entire jury who thought that my film was worth this prestigious award. I dedicate this award to my mentor: Daisaku Ikeda who has taught me how to win, how to persevere and to never give up! I am sure my ‘papa’ & my entire team will be very happy to know about this!”

Icon Award 2017: Ashutosh Gowariker

TheICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presentedto directorAshutosh Gowariker.

Ashutosh Gowariker directed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan in the Oscar – nominated Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India(2001) and won the Audience Award at Locarno International Film Festival that year. Under his direction, star Shah Rukh Khan delivered one of the finest performances of his career in Gowarikers Swades (2004), as did Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the Mughal-inspired epic Jodhaa Akbar (2008).

Icon Award 2017: Pratibha Parmar

The ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presented to award-winning filmmaker, artist and professor Pratibha Parmar.

Icon Award 2017: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

The ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presented to director Adoor Gopalakrishnan.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan is one of India’s most acclaimed contemporary filmmakers. His debut feature, Swayamvaram (1972) won National Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cameraman and Best Actress. Since then he has made 12 feature films and several documentaries and shorts, all which have won multiple national and international awards and have been screened at important festivals around the world. All his films stay true to the culture and history of his native Kerala.

Sunmark Achievement Award 2017: Anjali Patil

LIFF premiered Anjali’s first feature Delhi In A Day in 2011 and has been delighted to witness the development of her increasingly strong body of work over the last few years.

Audience Award 2016: Song of Lahore

The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival s Audience Award went to Song of Lahore, by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken.

Said, directors, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken We are delighted that Song of Lahore has won the audience award. The film is a labor of love, and an ode to the beautiful city of Lahore and the Sachal orchestra.

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2016: Mochi (The Cobler)

The short film jury awarded the Satyajit Ray Short Film Award, carrying a cash prize of £1000, in association with the Bagri Foundation, went to to Saqib Pandor for MOCHI (The Cobbler).

Chair of the Short Film Award jury, Satwant Gill, said: “This multilayered film, evocative and striking, manages to inject real suspense in a short timespan. The drama stays with you long after it has finished, and heralds in a talented new filmmaker. A special commendation went to Debanjan Nandy for his emotional, warm and haunting animation CHHAYA.”

The director of the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, Cary Sawhney stated: “We are really pleased that this year, the festival has expanded in stature in both London and Birmingham and included films in 15 languages and 7 women filmmakers. Our awards aim to highlight just some of the many achievements of filmmakers and actors from South Asia, who may otherwise go unsung by the broader world film community.”

Icon Award 2016: Sharmilla Tagore

The ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema was presented to Bengali actress Sharmila Tagore (Apur Sansar -1959, Days and Nights in The Forest – 1970), who started her career with acclaimed director Satyajit Ray, and went on to be one of the greatest actresses of Indian cinema, playing in award-winning films in both Hindi and Bengali cinema.

Sharmila Tagore commented on winning the festival s award: The Festival has had a special focus on women and cinema this year with seven films by women directors. I am happy to receive the ICON award and have enjoyed doing the masterclass at this rapidly growing festival.

Icon Awards 2016: Shekhar Kapur

The second ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Indian and World Cinema – was presented to Lahore-born Director Shekhar Kapur (Mr India – 1987, Bandit Queen – 1994 & the Oscar-winning Elizabeth films). He is one of the very few Indian directors to have a truly global career from Bollywood to Hollywood, and UK cinema.

Sponsoring the ICON Award for the 2nd year running, Sun Mark Ltd C.E.O Harmeet ‘Sunny’ Ahuja stated: These individuals are not just icons but visionaries, that have forged a path for the new generation of filmmakers, and so for us, the relationship has great synergy. It was an honour to present the Sun Mark and Pure Heaven LIFF Icon Awards to these two giants of cinema.

Satyajit Ray Short Film Award 2015: Khargosh (Rabbit)

The festival s Satyajit Ray Short Film Award in association with the Bagri Foundation was won by Sudarshan Suresh s film Khargosh (Rabbit), he said:

“I was thrilled to simply be selected to screen in the company of such talented filmmakers and amazing films, but to be recognized with this award is an incredible honour. My heartfelt thanks to the Jury, and the amazing organizers and volunteers that make LIFF what it is. I’m indebted to my writer, my cast and crew and my family for their tireless support. We hope to be back at LIFF again with our future work! Thank you!

Lebara Play Audience Award 2015: Nachom-ia Kumpasar (Let’s Dance to the Rhythm)

The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival s Lebara Play Audience Award was won by by sleeper festival super-hit Nachom-ia Kumpasar (Let’s Dance to the Rhythm), directed by Bardroy Barretto, a film about Goan Jazz and its impact on Hindi film music. The film was so popular with audiences that additional screenings had to be added at Cineworld cinemas during the festival, to cope with demand. Aditya Thakur, CEO of sponsor Lebara Play, said:

The Audience Award is unique because it s voted for by the viewers, so congratulations to Nachomia Kumpasar. We re particularly proud to sponsor this award because our new entertainment service, Lebara Play, is all about meeting the needs of an underserved audience, so they can enjoy thousands of movies they miss and love including the films of ICON Award winner Mani Ratnam anytime, anywhere.?

Icon Award 2015: Mani Ratnam

The festivals inaugural ICON Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema from Sun Mark Ltd, was won by Tamil director Mani Ratnam, who has revolutionised the face of pan-Indian cinema, with films in multiple languages. Ratnam commented:I am honoured and humbled to receive this icon award. I think that Indian cinema is at the threshold of a new era, and The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival is a showcase for this next generation. I am sure that future awards will be won by some of the bright young talent that is coming up.

Sponsoring the ICON Award, Sun Mark Ltd CEO Harmeet ‘Sunny’ Ahuja stated:Sun Mark is delighted to further recognise the talent and achievements in film. Our ICON Award was chosen for the living legend, Mr Mani Ratnam. He is a most recognised and respected director and is known for tackling difficult subjects, which might otherwise be conveniently swept under the carpet. We congratulate him for his incredible contribution to international cinema, which has made him a true icon.

Pure Heaven Outstanding Young Talent Award 2015: Suraj Sharma

Delhi born actor Suraj Sharma, whose lead role in film Umrika helmed the festival, was the recipient of the festivals Outstanding Young Talent Award, presented by the festivals major sponsor Pure Heaven. Following on from Ang Lees Life of Pi, actor Suraj Sharma was lauded by the festival audience for his controlled lead performance in the Sundance winner Umrika. Sharma commented on winning the festivals award:“The festival has been so kind, awarding me its first outstanding young actor award and opening the festival with our film Umrika! The response for our film has been better than we could ever imagine. My gratitude goes out to the festival for doing such a great job!”

Spirit of Inspiration Award from Sun Mark 2015: Manisha Koirala

For her outstanding work in supporting the earthquake appeal in Nepal, Manisha Koirala was awarded the Sun Mark Ltd Spirit of Inspiration Award. Presented at a glittering gala at Grange Hotels St Pauls, an event to raise much needed funds to rebuild homes in earthquake torn Nepal. Manisha herself has been in the thick of this, working tirelessly to help, where the critical challenge is to shelter the homeless before the winter. This event raised funds for UK registered charity Indian Ocean Disaster Relief Fund (IODR). Sponsor Sunny Ahuja of Sun Mark stated:

We admire Manishas work in cinema where she was known for taking on difficult roles and her support for social causes and for those who have no voice and whose message needs to be spread.

Satyajit Ray Foundation Short Film Award 2014: Kush

The festival’s popular Satyajit Ray Foundation Short Film Competition was won by Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Kush. The award carries a cash prize of £1000. Kush previously won short film kudos at Venice and was long-listed for the live action short film Oscar. Ananya Kasaravalli’s Devil in the Black Stone (Kappu Kallina Saitana) won a Special Mention.

Shubhashish Bhutiani said, “Thank you so much to the London Indian Film Festival Jury and the Satyajit Ray Foundation for this amazing honour. His dealing with children and the way he told truthful and complex stories in such a simple way are some of the things I’ve learnt from Satyajit Ray. I heard the story for this film in a classroom many years ago, and felt compelled to share it after it resonated with me for all that time. With an incredibly supportive cast and crew, we made the film with the little resources we have, and for it today, to be recognized by our own community in such a culturally diverse part of the world, means a lot to me.”

Pure Heaven Audience Award 2014: Sold

Oscar winning director Jeffrey D Brown’s hard-hitting child trafficking drama Sold, executive produced by Emma Thompson and starring Gillian Anderson, which opened the 5th edition of the London Indian Film Festival, has won the festival’s Pure Heaven Audience Award.

Jeffrey D Brown said, “It’s really amazing. I hadn’t really anticipated this at all. I’m really grateful, humbled and speechless. I really hope this galvanises more people to see the film so that we can help the kids who’ve been through this ordeal and we can end this travesty around the globe.” Brown and producer Jane Charles are in advanced discussions with distributors with a view to securing a global release for Sold in early 2015.

The runner up for the audience award was Samruddhi Porey’s Hemalkasa, the festival’s closing night film starring Indian cinema icon Nana Patekar. The film is a biopic about a doctor couple that dedicated their lives towards improving the lot of tribal people in Western India with little or no help from the government.

Satyajit Ray Foundation Short Film Award 2013:Kaun Kamleshwar? (Who’s Kamleshwar?)

Anurag Goswami won the Satyajit Ray Foundation’s short film award, held in conjunction with LIFF, for Kaun Kamleshwar? (Who’s Kamleshwar?). The jury, comprising Atif Ghani (producer – Ill Manors), Kim Longinotto (director – Salma), Sunny Grewal (BBC London), Meghna Gupta (shorts director, Unravel) and Satwant Gill (LIFF), said: “The Satyajit Ray Foundation’s short film award goes to a film which was confident and ambitious in its storytelling, gave us engaging characters and was genuinely cinematic. Using some unforgettable images and off-beat humour the film explores how random decisions have the power to shape our lives.”

Anurag Goswami said: “It’s an honour and a great feeling that our efforts have been recognised at such a prestigious avenue. Short films are finding an audience like never before, courtesy festivals such as LIFF. It’s very encouraging and satisfying that our voices are being heard all over the world. Thank you LIFF!”

Special Jury Mention goes to Vikram Dasgupta for his entertaining, bold and vibrant interweaving of stories in the film Calcutta Taxi.

Audience Award 2013: Lucia

Director Pawan Kumar’s Kannada-language film Lucia has won the coveted Audience Award at the 4th London Indian Film Festival (LIFF, July 18-25). The inventive crowd-funded film, powered by UK-based online outfit Distrify, delighted sold out audiences across the city.

Pawan Kumar said: “To win this award in the face of such powerful competition is a dream come true for me. I thank the London Indian Film Festival for selecting the film for its world premiere and would also like to thank the London audience and the UK Kannada community for supporting the film.”