The secondIndian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) kicks off on Apr 14 with the LApremiere of Rituparno Ghosh's period piece Chokher Bali (A Passion Play) and closes on Apr 18 with SudhirMishra's drama Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi (A Thousand Dreams Such As These).

All in all thefestival will screen 25 pictures including six North American premieres and aspecial tribute to the distinguished Indian actress Kirron Kher (Bend ItLike Beckham, Bariwali).

Chokher Bali stars Indian superstar Aishwarya Rai (Devdas) as a young woman attempting to escapethe stigma of widowhood and regain her sexual identity in British-occupied Kolkataduring the early 1900s.

HazaronKhwaishen Aisi pitsthree friends against the political unrest and uncertainty of the Indian stateof emergency in 1975. Kay Kay Menon, Chitrangda Singh and Roshan Ahuja star.

Other picturesinclude the LA premiere of Khamosh Pani (Silent Waters), which stars tribute honouree Kher in her Locarno InternationalFilm festival Silver Leopard-winning role as a widow whose son begins to exploreIslamic fundamentalism.

The Apr 15screening will be followed by an on-stage interview and Q&A session hostedby Screen International's US editor Mike Goodridge.

Documentariesinclude Andrew Levine's The Day My God Died, about Nepali and Indian girls abductedand sold into South Asia's prostitution trade, and Shilpi Gupta's When TheStorm Came, whichexamines the experiences of a group of women allegedly assaulted by Indiansecurity forces in the disputed region of Kashmir.

"We're sopleased with the outstanding assortment of features, documentaries and shortspresented in this year's festival," IFFLA director Christina Marouda said in astatement.

"Our programmingteam has selected a range of entertaining, thought-provoking and unique films,including the Los Angeles premieres of some of the best examples of recentIndian cinema."