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Preview: India on Film at Broadway Cinema

23 September 17 words: Ashley Carter

Broadway are offering the chance to see six classics of Indian cinema on the seventieth anniversary of the country's independence

You know whose blood flows in my veins? You want to see? Come...

The Music Room + Introduction (1958) - with English Subtitles

Director: Satyajit Ray

Starring: Chhabi Biswas, Sardar Akhtar

Running Time: 100 mins

Date: Friday 22nd September

Time: 5.15pm 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmaker's of the 20th century, The Music Room was Satyajit Ray's fourth feature film.  It was filmed between the final two parts of Ray's renowned 'Apotrilogy', based on the popular short story by Bengali writer Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay.  Depicting the end days of Biswambhar Roy (Chhabi Biswas), a decadent landlord who is unable to adapt to the changing world around him, it's is a parable of traditional values clashing with modernity.  Set in his ways within the walls of his decaying palace, he sacrifices his family and wealth in a desperate attempt to maintain his respect.  

Brother, I want to survive

The Cloud-Capped Star + Introduction (1960) - with English Subtitles

Director: Ritwik Ghatak

Starring: Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee

Running Time: 126 mins

Date: Saturday 23rd September  

Time: 5.00pm 

Heralded as the film that introduced a new vision of Indian cinema to the world, writer/director Ritwik Ghatak's The Cloud-Capped Star is a dark drama that explores the lives of refugees coping in the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal during the Partition of India in 1947.  Overtly sombre, it's a film made in stark contrast to the traditional Bollywood output of Mumbai at the time, combining melodrama and surrealism, most notably with it's use of sound effects.  The Amrita Bazar Patrika described it as, "a glorious triumph for the rising group of young film-makers who have been striving to rescue the cinema from the quagmire of escapist entertainment."

I'm going to have you married in less than ten days. I will have my way.

Bombay + Introduction (1995) - with English Subtitles

Director: Mani Ratnam

Starring: Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala

Running Time: 138 mins

Date: Sunday 24th September  

Time: 5.00pm 

The second in Ratman's trilogy of films that explore human relationships against the backdrop of Indian politics, Bombay is the story of star-crossed lovers set during the 1993 Bombay riots.  The film caused considerable controversy upon release in India and abroad for its depiction of inter-religious relations and religious riots, later being banned in Singapore and Malaysia.  A.R. Rahman's (Slumdog Millionaire) soundtrack went on to become one of the biggest selling film soundtracks of all time, selling over 15 million units.  

Be it the heat of weather or of money ... only donkeys are happy in that

Pyaasa + Introduction (1957) - with English Subtitles

Director: Guru Dutt

Starring: Mala Sinha, Guru Dutt

Running Time: 138 mins

Date: Monday 25th September 

Time: 7.45pm 

The story of Vijay, a struggling poet striving for recognition in post-Independence India whose work becomes well known after people think he has been hit and killed by a train.  A stark, aesthetically stunning exposition of the cruel way in which the world treats artists, Pyaasa is Dutt's masterpiece.  

Once home and outside were like Heaven and Earth for me. Now it's all the same

The Clay Bird + Introduction (2002) - with English Subtitles

Director: Tareque Masud

Starring: Nurul Islam Bablu, Russell Farazi

Running Time: 98 mins

Date: Tuesday 26th September 

Time: 7.45pm 

 

A subtle, compelling examination of the social and personal dynamics of a Muslim family living uneasily in a Hindu community in Eastern Pakistan, The Clay Bird is the word of Bangladeshi master Tareque Masud.  Awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes 2002, its main strength lies in the stunning imagery of life in Eastern Pakistan, and from the naturalistic performances from its mostly non-professional cast.  

Now Allah has created Pakistan for us, who wants to die miserably here?

Scorching Winds + Introduction (1974) - with English Subtitles

Director: M.S. Sathyu

Starring: Balraj Sahni, A.K. Hangal

Running Time: 146 mins

Date: Wednesday 27th September 

Time: 7.45pm 

 

A sensitive depiction of the deep-running prejudices on the Indian subcontinent following the creation of Pakistan, M.S. Sathyu's Scorching Winds follows a family who remain in India to fight against the Hindu country's anti-Muslim prejudice. Set in the dark days following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, it is often credited with pioneering a new wave of Art cinema movement in Hindi Cinema.  

The India on Film Season wraps up with South Asian Britain on Film on Sunday 1st October.

 Tickets for all screenings are available now.  

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