Indian Film Series 2005
All screenings at the Wang Center Theater at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Swades (We the people)
From the writer/director of the Academy Award nominated Lagaan comes the story of Mohan Bhargav, a NASA engineer working on a rainfall monitoring satellite known as the Global Precipitation Measurement, which is lifted into a orbit aboard the Space Shuttle. Completely engrossed in his high-profile job, he has little time for himself. But, one day, he decides to give it all a break and visits his homeland. Mohan left his country for a better life abroad, but now, he faces an emotional conflict–whether to stay in his homeland or return to the United States. The movie is a modern tale dealing with the awakening of the human spirit. (Ashutosh Gowarikar, 2004, 180 min., Hindi with English subtitles)
Free to all.
Previous Films in the Series:
Awaara (The Vagabond)
Director Raj Kapoor's cinema spoke the language of love. What makes his earlier films riveting was that they layered the complexities and densities of romance with a socio-political thrust. In Awaara, a down-on-luck thief's love for a righteous heroine helps his quest for his higher self in this nature vs. nurture struggle. Judge Raghunath (Prithviraj Kapoor) staunchly believes that a thief's son will always be a thief and a good man's son will always turn out good. In a series of flashbacks, the film showcases the stormy repercussions of this belief. (Raj Kapoor, 1951, 193 min., Hindi with English subtitles)
Free to all.
1950’s Bollywood queen, Nargis, stars as Radha, the quintessential earth-mother. After her husband is maimed in a horrific accident, Radha raises her children alone, under threat of financial ruin and sexual advances from the moneylender. Years pass and one son becomes committed to vengence. Radha, caught between her son and the honor of her community, is faced with the most painful decision of any mother’s life. "Blazes across the screen like an Eastern Gone with The Wind."—Sunday Mail
(Mehboob Khan, 1957, 163 min., Hindi with English subtitles) Free to all.
Pakeezah (Pure Heart)
Nargis (Meena Kumari) who was raised in a brothel grows up to become a beautiful and popular dancer/singer Sahibjaan. Aristocratic Salim Ahmed Khan (Raaj Kumar) is enthralled by Sahibjaan's beauty and innocence, and eventually convinces her to elope with him. But trials and tribulations await Sahibjaan as she is recognized by men wherever she goes in the company of Salim. Exquisitely photographed on elaborate sets, the movie won a Filmfare award for its art direction. It contains song-and-dance sequences that become an integral part of the story. (Kamal Amrohi, 1971, 125 min., Hindi with English subtitles)
Free to all.
Sholay inaugurated the modern period of commercial Hindi cinema. Often described as India's best-known "curry" western, Sholay was patterned on American westerns. Two convicts and small time crooks (Amitabh and Dharmendra) are chosen by Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), a former police officer, to seek vengeance on the dangerous bandit Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) because he killed all of Thakur's family (except a daughter-in-law) and maimed Thakur for life.This was a result of an earlier incident in which Thakur had captured Gabbar and helped in his conviction. Gabbar managed to escape and wreaked havoc in Thakur's life. The ensuing action makes for one of the most exciting Indian movies made to date. (Ramesh Sippy, 1975, 204 min., Hindi with English subtitles) Free to all.
Amar Akbar Anthony
A smuggler on the run from the police, leaves his three sons in a park. All of them are found and raised separately–the eldest becomes a Hindu police officer, the youngest becomes a Muslim tailor/singer, and the middle son becomes a Christian hooligan. Delirious fun with a wildly chaotic story of lost and found identities, family and religion, and creepy villains make up this spectacle's riotous palette. With extravagant comedy, fast-paced action, and moments of inspired lunacy you are bound to leave the theater skipping and humming. (Manmohan Desai/1977/163 min/Hindi with English subtitles)
Free to all.
A Hindu-Muslim couple and their twins face the ravages of communal riots that tear the city of Bombay and their lives apart. The magnificent music of A. Rahman of Bombay Dreams fame and the directorial genius of Mani Ratnam further enrich this controversial and moving film. Ratnam's trademark, virtually unique to Indian cinema, is the combination of art-house concepts with the technical excellence predominant in big-budget commercial films. Effectively shown through the personal story of two small lives, this is a powerful indictment of the intolerance that religion can breed. (Mani Ratnam, 1995, 130 minutes, Hindi with English subtitles) Free to all.