Now entering its fifth year, HOME’s Not Just Bollywood has become a key event in the calendar of filmlovers in Manchester and beyond. The film season aims to expand and enrich our understanding of Indian cinema, and this year’s programme is as strong as ever, with highlights including a celebration of the late Irrfan Khan and a particular focus on Bengali film.
The film world was shocked by Khan’s tragic death last year at the age of fifty-three. The actor had earned fans and critical acclaim for his work on both Indian and Hollywood productions across a near forty-year career. To pay tribute, there will be a One Hour Intro dedicated to exploring Khan’s work, alongside screenings of Mira Nair’s culture-clash drama The Namesake (Sat 25 September) and Asif Kapadia’s The Warrior (Sat 2 October), which stars the actor as a guilt-ridden warrior who renounces violence and undergoes a spiritual journey.
For this year’s programme, curators Rachel Hayward, HOME’s Head of Film, and UK-based film scholar Omar Ahmed, have also teamed up with the Manchester Indian Film Festival, a new sister event to Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival. The partnership will entail a screening of six recent LGBTQIA+ shorts under the banner Too Desi Too Queer (Wed 29 Sept), and a showing of The Wanderlust of Apu (Mon 27 Sept) — Subhrajit Mitra’s follow-up to Satyajit Ray’s classic Apu Trilogy.
Other titles showing as part of Not Just Bollywood 2021 include the UK premiere of Amitabha Chatterjee’s Calcutta-set Manohar and I, which won Best Film at the International Film Festival of Kerala (Mon 4 Oct) and A Dog and His Man (Thu 20 Sept), the debut feature from Siddharth Tripathy, who is being touted as one of new wave of Indian independent filmmakers who continue to
question the status quo of Indian society. Then, as we approach Halloween, audiences can look forward to Tamil filmmaker Vijay Jayapal’s Nirvana Inn (Sat 9 Oct) — a contemporary Indian Gothic film that takes its cued from the likes of Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock.