Veteran actress and talk show host Simi Garewal has been felicitated with a "UK Golden Flame Award" for her contribution to Indian cinema.
The 70-year-old actress received the award on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the annual Tongues of Fire UK Asian Film Festival here.
This is like a homecoming because I went to Mumbai from London to try my luck in films for one year. That one year became a lifetime, said Garewal, best known for her roles in films like 'Mera Naam Joker' and 'Karz' and as the host of Bollywood talk show 'Rendezvous with Simi Garewal'.
She is also set to pay tribute to her late co-star Shashi Kapoor at a special festival screening of their 1973 classic film 'Siddhartha' over the weekend.
Garewal was joined at the opening of the film festival by Pakistani star Mahira Khan, whose latest film 'Verna' will be screened at the festival.
Khan, who received the Flame Award for film and activism, lamented the politicisation of art by a "handful of people" that has led to a ban on Pakistani actors in India.
We need to rise beyond politics and come together and enjoy films together, she said.
Marking 100 years of women winning the right to vote in the UK, the theme of the 2018 film festival has been classified as "F-Rated" a special rating assigned to films that have been recognised for their progressive representation of women, or those with women behind the camera.
In our 20th anniversary, Tongues on Fire UK Asian Film Festival are proudly going back to our roots of a female driven festival with a F-rated perspective to our films and events," said Dr Pushpinder Chowdhry, the founding-director of the festival.
"While curating films this year, I was aware that there is a lack of female directors in the industry. Through this festival, we endeavour to proactively reach out to, support, and inspire new filmmakers, giving them a chance to showcase their work, she said.
This year the London-centric festival, running from March 15-25, will also travel around other UK cities of Leicester, Manchester and Edinburgh.
We are pleased to support the 20th anniversary of the festival, enabling it to expand to reach more people across the UK and to engage audiences with a broad range of South Asian cinema, said Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences at the British Film Institute (BFI).
The line-up of the festival marks a mix of films from South Asia, including British-Pakistani co-production Cake which became the first Pakistani film to receive a red-carpet world premiere in Londons Leicester Square earlier this week.