Common perception and presentation of Indian cinema in this country is often limited to Bollywood, and perhaps the films of Satyajit Ray if we’re lucky. Looking at HOME’s film slate for the coming year, now is the perfect time to get to grips with the films of the second most populous country in the world. Coming in September is ‘Not Just Bollywood’: a film season showcasing the best in recent independent Indian cinema, including works from the New Waves emanating from Tamil and Malayalam. First though, HOME looks backwards with ‘Partition’: a weekend of cinematic representations and responses to the events that divided India, initially creating Pakistan and later Bangladesh.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1947 act of Partition – a traumatic event which led to displacement, communalism and forced migration. HOME’s mini-season sees recent films such as Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House and Anup Singh’s Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost – which will presented with a director Q&A – provide a modern view of events. Meanwhile, two early ‘60s works from celebrated filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak – a director for whom the Partition was a driving force – take us right back to the aftermath of the division. (Ghatak’s refugee drama The Cloud-Capped Star in particular has been tipped as unmissable by those in the know.) Finally, for those of us uneducated in the nuances of the period, Indian film expert Omar Ahmed will be on hand to provide context with a one hour introduction to Partition cinema.