India

Chaitanya Tamhane – Court (2014)

Quote:
A sewerage worker’s dead body is found inside a manhole in Mumbai. An ageing folk singer is tried in court on charges of abetment of suicide. He is accused of performing an inflammatory song which might have incited the worker to commit the act. As the trial unfolds, the personal lives of the lawyers and the judge involved in the case are observed outside the court. Read More »

Amit Dutta – Drawn From Dreams (2019)

Synopsis
An eighteenth century notebook from the Western Himalayan Hills has recorded in it dreams as omens. Scenes from the waking memory of the artist seem to have enlivened dreams from a bygone era.

Coming from the family ateliers of the master painter Nainsukh of Guler, this journal of dreams is interesting not only for its ethnographical documentation but also for the excellent artistic qualities of the illustrations, underlined delightfully with sound and rhythm by the director Amit Dutta. Read More »

Raj Kapoor – Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime (1978)

Synopsis:
As Pandit Shyam Sunder prayed in Bhagwan Shivji’s temple on the occasion of Janamashtami, his wife gives birth to a daughter, Rupa, and passes away, leaving her child to bear the brunt of being an ill-omen. Years later, Rupa burns her face from a frying pot, thus disfiguring the right side of her face completely, so much so that when she matures, the scar being so hideous, that no one in the village nor surrounding area wants to marry her. Then an Engineer named Rajeev arrives from Bombay, he approaches Shyam Sunder to seek his permission and blessings, so that he can marry Rupa. Read More »

Vishal Bhardwaj – The Blue Umbrella (2005) (HD)

Quote:
Young Biniya lives a poor lifestyle in a small village in the mountainous and snowy region of Himachal Pradesh in India along with her widowed mom and wrestler brother. She entertains various tourists, and while doing so with some tourists from Japan, trades in her bear-tooth amulet with a blue umbrella. She and her umbrella become very popular with both tourists and the local villagers. A restaurant-owner, Nandkishore Khatri, takes a fancy to this umbrella and attempts several times to buy if off of her – in vain. Read More »

Girish Karnad – Utsav aka The Festival (1984)

Synopsis:
Based on the 6th century A.D. Sanskrit play “The Golden Toy Chariot” by the famous Indian playwright Bhasa, “Utsav” faithfully follows Bhasa’s story-line. Vasantasena, a courtesan who dances at the King Palaka’s court hides in Charudatta’s house while running away from the amorous attentions of the king’s brother-in-law. She falls in love with Charudatta, though he is married and penniless. They have an affair. Meanwhile, the rightful heir to the throne – King Palaka’s brother – escapes from prison. While he is being pursued by the king’s troops, Charudatta helps him. Read More »

Roberto Rossellini – L’India vista da Rossellini (1959)

Quote:

Series of programs broadcast on RAI TV in Italy showing footage shot by Roberto Rossellini in India. The series was also broadcast on ORTF TV in France under the title ‘J’AI FAIT UN BEAU VOYAGE PAR ROBERTO ROSSELLINI’. The footage shown in the individual episodes seems to have been the same in the Italian and French series.

Rossellini stayed in India for almost 9 months, refusing to look at famous monuments and rather preferring to take a non-exotic view of India, by looking at lives of common persons. Read More »

Satyajit Ray – Parash Pathar aka The Philosopher’s Stone (1958)

Parash Pathar was Satyajit Ray’s immediate follow-up to his celebrated Aparajito. The film bears the heavy (but never oppressive) influence of Ray’s idol, French filmmaker Jean Renoir. Tulsi Chakravetry plays Parresh Dutt, an elderly clerk who comes into possession of a stone that can turn the humblest mineral into gold. Attaining vast wealth overnight, Dutt finds that he is still persona non grata in High Society. Taking revenge on his “betters,” he uses his wonderful stone to destroy the economy. Realizing the damage that he’s done, the clerk sacrifices himself to set things right again. When first shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1958, Parash Pathar was greeted with amused indifference; critics and viewers alike preferred the profundity of Ray’s “Apu” trilogy to this modest little fable. Music by Ravi Shankar. Read More »