Girish Karnad – Utsav aka The Festival (1984)

utsav Girish Karnad – Utsav aka The Festival (1984)

thgc Girish Karnad – Utsav aka The Festival (1984)

Playwright, actor, director, and theatre scholar Girish Karnad conceived this film as a popularly-accessible tribute to the glories of Sanskrit drama, turning one of the most beloved of classical plays, the ca. 5th century “Little Clay Cart” (ascribed to Shudraka) into a contemporary spectacle with A-list stars and music by major filmi composers. Lavish sets and costumes, jewelry and hairstyles, all inspired by classical paintings and sculptures, evoke the glories of the Gupta age, while saucy dialog in contemporary (if properly Sanskritized) Hindi recreates the playwright’s satirical vision of the demimondaine world of the city of Ujjayini. By reminding viewers that, for ancient Indians, “pleasure” and “profit” (kama and artha) were right up there with “virtue” (dharma) among the principal Aims of Life, the film can serve as a refreshing antidote to the over-emphasized philosophical and mystical preoccupations of the much-studied texts of the classical period (e.g., Bhagavad-gita). Its Rabelaisian cast of characters — the voluptuous and talented courtesan, witty cat burglar, pompous monk, wild-eyed revolutionary — mirror those found in the worldly-wise story anthologies of the classical period (such as those translated in J. A. B. van Buitenen’s Tales of Ancient India), and thus bring to life their urbane world of fleshly delights. Continue reading

Madhushree Dutta – Scribbles on Akka (2000)

ur9b Madhushree Dutta – Scribbles on Akka (2000)

In this short film on the life and work of the 12th century saint-poet, Mahadevi Akka, her radical poems, written with the female body as a metaphor, have been composed and picturised in contemporary musical language. Mahadevi, framed as Akka – elder sister, while leaving the domestic arena in search of God also abondoned modesty and clothing. The film explores the meaning of this denial through the work of contemporary artists and writers and testimonies of ordinary folk who nurtured her image through centuries in their folklore and oral literature. A celebration of rebellion, feminity and legacy down nine hundred years. Continue reading

Ashutosh Gowariker – Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India AKA Land Tax (2001)

 Ashutosh Gowariker   Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India AKA Land Tax (2001)

thgc Ashutosh Gowariker   Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India AKA Land Tax (2001)

Considered to be a modern classic of Indian cinema, LAGAAN is a musical drama which tells the story of a central Indian farming village in 1893. The village waits for the monsoons to come and rain on its crops, but the ground remains dry and infertile. Meanwhile, British ruler Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) demands lagaan–or double normal taxes–from the villagers. When it becomes clear that they can’t pay, Russell challenges the villagers to a game of cricket, a game they know nothing about. Teaching the villagers about the game falls on the shoulders of farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan). As they begin to learn, the villagers are inspired to go up against Russell, with tax negotiation as the stakes for the game. Full of choreographed musical numbers and climaxing in a pulse-pounding cricket match, LAGAAN is a fun, heartwarming British/Indian production that should have no difficulties translating across other national borders. Continue reading

Aparna Sen – 15 Park Avenue (2005)

3daltyazicomb1567f375bc Aparna Sen   15 Park Avenue (2005)

thgc Aparna Sen   15 Park Avenue (2005)

The narrative pivots around the relationship of two sisters, older sister Anjali (Shabana
Azmi) is a successful professor with a powerful personality. She is the anchoring rock for
her family and carer for her sister Meethi whose progression into schizophrenia has been
speeded up by traumatic experiences. Anjali has always dominated the life of her attractive
younger sister, and jealously warded off Meethi’s handsome fiancé Jojo (Rahul Bose) with
fear of Meethi’s impending illness. Years later when Meethi and Anjali are on holiday in the
Hills there is a chance meeting with Jojo, now with his new wife and children. He is
shocked to discover that Meethi does not now recognize him, but lives in a world visited by
an imaginary husband and children of her own. Continue reading

Mrinal Sen – Chorus (1975)

chorusle Mrinal Sen   Chorus (1975)

thgc Mrinal Sen   Chorus (1975)

A small company advertises for 100 vacancies and 30,000 apply. The applicants are all from the ranks of the poor and there is a virtual riot. Everyone around is seeking for opportunities. Among them are the applicants who desperately need the job, the photographer who is busy seeking a scoop, the village moneylender who is busy exploiting the poor, the ineffective police, the employers who are advertising posts even while a six month old strike has nearly caused the workmen to become destitute. It is a story of society captured in a tiny framework of a small business. Ultimately, the workmen, the unemployed and the farmers all get to gether to protest against this exploitation… Continue reading

Prem Lalwani – Aatank (1996)

aatankwi4 Prem Lalwani   Aatank (1996)

logoimdbb Prem Lalwani   Aatank (1996)

Plot Synopsis (IMDB):

Jesu and Peter are childhood friends who live in a coastal village in India and depend on fishing as their livelihood. The community is oppressed by a powerful gangster named Alphonso. Jesu is an orphan, while Peter is brought up by his aunt and uncle, after the passing away of his mom. The community is all thrilled when Phillips finds black pearls off the coast. But then so does Alphonso, who asks his divers to get all the pearls, thus disturbing the ocean. Peter meets with Suzy D’Silva and they fall in love with each other, and get married. While enjoying a quiet swim on the sea-shore, Suzy disappears. A search is carried out, and a number of human body parts are recovered. With shock and horror this community finds that their livelihood is being threatened by a gigantic, virtually undestructible man-eating shark. Continue reading

Siddharth Sinha – Udedh Bun AKA Un-Ravel (2008)

ub1h Siddharth Sinha   Udedh Bun AKA Un Ravel (2008)

logoimdbb Siddharth Sinha   Udedh Bun AKA Un Ravel (2008)

Udedh Bun (English title: Unravel) is award winning short Bhojpuri film released in 2008 directed by Siddharth Sinha. The 21-minute diploma film by Siddharth Sinha, an Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune graduate, was selected for world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, [1], where it won the Silver Bear for Best Short Film at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, first ever such award in the history of Bhojpuri cinema [2][3]. Later it won the National Film Award for Best Short fiction Film.[4][5]. Continue reading

pixel Siddharth Sinha   Udedh Bun AKA Un Ravel (2008)