Sun Mark Ltd, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and distributors in the food and beverage market, has played a key role in this year’s Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, through its sponsorship of the festival and its annual Icon Awards.

Harmeet Ahuja & Reena Ranger present actress Sharmila Tagore with the Sun Mark Icon Award at the 7th annual Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival

The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, now in its seventh year in London and second year in Birmingham challenges stereotypes of India and South Asia, wrestling tough and topical issues, has become synonymous with cutting edge films. Positioned as the ‘punk rock of Indie cinema,’ each year the festival attracts the very best film makers to help promote the alternative side of Indian film-making.

Sun Mark Ltd, established in 1995 not only represents major international brands such as Nestle, Heinz and Unilever, but has also launched its own brand ranges including Laser Oil, Pure Heaven drinks and Bulldog energy drink all of which are now fast becoming household names and available in all major supermarkets across the country.

The roots of the family run business lie within the Indian community and as such supporting south Asian arts and culture has become a focal part of the company’s strategy. The company founded by the Indian businessman and philanthropist, Dr Rami Ranger CBE, was represented by Harmeet Ahuja, CEO of Sun Mark Ltd says: “Sun Mark started from humble beginnings, with the support of the community and over the past 22 years the company has become an international player. We see it as part of our responsibility as one of the UK’s leading Asian businesses to promote and support talent within the community. Bollywood is a well-known facet of south Asian culture, but the independent film scene is a growing industry with a huge amount of talent that rightly deserves the platform that the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival has created.”

As well as creating a platform for new talent, the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival also pays due homage to the heroes that made Indian cinema a global force to be reckoned with, and this year was no exception, with Sun Mark presenting the Sun Mark and Pure Heaven Icon Awards to two true industry legends – Satyajit Ray’s favourite actress Sharmila Tagore from Kolkata and the only Indian filmmaker to truly cross from Bollywood to Hollywood – Shekhar Kapur.

The picture shows Harmeet Ahuja, CEO of Sun Mark Ltd and Reena Ranger presenting actress Sharmila Tagore with the Sun Mark icon award.

Harmete Ahuja continues: “Sun Mark was the brainchild of a first generation immigrant, and the reins of the business will be handed down from generation to generation – but without the imagination, vision and dedication to his dream Sun Mark would not be where it is today. And it’s the same with the film industry – 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.”

This year, the festival which ran from 14th July – 21st July in London hosted a gala red carpet premiere of the highly acclaimed film Parched attended by one of India’s foremost female directors Leena Yadav and Bollywood star turned producer Ajay Devgn and closed with director Ketan Mehta’s moving and insightful adaptation of Manto’s story of partition Toba Tek Singh.  Alongside gala premieres, the festival also hosted numerous talks, discussions, and debates with over 20 of the filmmakers featured at the festival and screened over 50 films across 15 sites in London and Birmingham.

The eighth Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival returns to London and Birmingham in July 2017.

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