Ten films show this week in the Indian Centenary Film Festival
Ten of Indian’s landmark films will be screened in Bangkok this week as part of the Indian Centenary Film Festival. Organised by the Indian Embassy in cooperation with the Directorate of Film Festivals and SF World Cinema, the films cover a range of genres and showcase the diversity of Indian culture, depicting both old and modern India.
In Hindi as well as a few of the regional dialects – Bengali, Tamil and Kannada – they are all by prominent directors and besides having celebrity casts, have won several awards.
From 1913, the silent “Raja Harishchandra” is the very first Indian film. It’s the tale of the noble and righteous King Harishchandra, who first sacrifices his kingdom, followed by his wife and eventually his children to honour his promise to the sage Vishwamitra.
It’s showing along with the Bollywood blockbuster “Maqbool” on Thursday night at a special opening screening that’s by invitation only.
For the general public, the festival gets underway on Friday with Satyajit Ray’s “Jalsaghar” (“The Music Room”). It centres on a zamindar – a member of a dying class of aristocrats – who has nothing left but respect and sacrifices his family and wealth trying to retain it. From 1958, it’s the fourth film from Ray, recognised as one of the world’s leading auteurs.
In the fact-based “Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani” (1946) by V Shantaram, a heroic young Indian doctor goes to China during World War II. He joins the Chinese resistance, meets and courts a Chinese girl, cures a virulent plague and is captured by the Japanese army.
Madhur Bhandarkar directs the 2006 Bollywood hit “Corporate” about the competition between two corporate giants recklessly trying to maximise their profits.
From 1999, Sanjay Leela Bhansali presents “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” (“Straight from the Heart”), a sweeping musical about star-crossed lovers starring Aishwarya Rai and Salman Khan. It won awards for its music and choreography.
A classic is “Anand”, a 1971 drama by Hrishikesh Mukerjee. Rajesh Khanna stars as a cancer patient who believes in living his life to the fullest while his doctor (Amitabh Bachchan) is a bitter, pessimisitic man.
Girish Kasaravalli’s “Gulabi Talkies” from 2008 is centred among the fishing communities of Kundapura, in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka.
“Kannathil Muthamittal” (2002) by Mani Ratnam is the story of a child of Sri Lankan Tamil parentage adopted by Indian parents, who desires to meet her biological mother in the midst of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
And Vijay Anand’s Guide” from 1965 is about a self-promoting tourist guide in the Rajasthani city of Udaipur. It was India’s submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
FREE FOR ALL
n The Centenary of Indian Film Festival is at SF World Cinema at CentralWorld. All films have English and Thai subtitles. Here’s the schedule:
Noon – “Jalsaghar”
2pm – “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam”