Film fans can delve into a newly flourishing independent film scene at HOME this September as curator Omar Ahmed demonstrates that Indian cinema is about more than just Bollywood with a brand new film season. Charting territory that has so far been left unexplored by British film programmers, Ahmed, a UK-based film scholar and PhD researcher (Indian Cinema) at the University of Manchester – who will add context to the season with a One Hour Intro on Saturday 16th September – has selected a varied mix of films and events in order to showcase the new voices, talent and production companies that have helped to define the lively new ‘Hindie’ (Hindi + Indie) film scene over the past decade.
Filmgoers might be familiar with Ritesh Batra’s hit lovestory The Lunchbox – a surprise international success and audience favourite upon its 2013 release – which launches the season on Thursday 14th September, but there are plenty of discoveries waiting amongst the programme. Amit Masurkar’s socio-political satire Newton emerges, prize in hand, fresh from this year’s Berlin Film Festival for a screening on Saturday 16th September, while The Cinema Travellers (Sun 24th Sept) is an acclaimed documentary from directors Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, who detail their journey uncovering an “unforgettable subterranean sub-culture of dreamers, cinephiles and projectionists.”
HOME will welcome award-winning actor, writer and director Rajat Kapoor for a Q&A following a screening of his 2013 film Ankhon Dekhi. Described as a “heady mix of Bergman, Fellini and De Sica”, this key work of the Hindie movement promises semi-philosophical comedy about family and self-identity and family, the film also features a career defining performance by Sanjay Mishra. The season also features a panel discussion entitled ‘India’s Independent Cinema – Past, Present & Future’ which will assess the current Hindie landscape following a screening of Venice Film Festival award winner Court – a political melodrama from first-time director Chaitanya Tamhane.
With many of the featured films barely (if at all) gracing UK cinema screens, it’s exciting to see HOME lead the way with this kind of cutting edge programming. By shining a light on an emerging corner of the Indian film industry, Not Just Bollywood should help to shift perspectives and broaden conversations around the nature of contemporary Indian cinema.