The British Film Institute (BFI) is embarking on a celebration of Indian film throughout the rest of 2017 as part the UK India Year of Culture.
Co-curated by BFI Head Curator Robin Baker and writer and programmer Meenakshi Shedde, the BFI’s India on Film programme is running at BFI Southbank, London, from April to December.
The programme has kicked off this month at BFI Southbank with Bollywood 2.0, a focus on ‘New Bollywood’ films which have pushed the boundaries of conventional Indian filmmaking. They combine song and dance numbers with more realistic stories that tackle issues such as caste, crime, homosexuality and feminism.
The films in Bollywood 2.0 have been acclaimed at festivals worldwide as well as finding large audiences in India and overseas.
Running alongside the India on Film programme is a free exhibit called The Art of India Cinema including stunning posters and other promotional material drawn from the collections of the BFI National Archive, immersing visitors in the colour, spectacle and artistry taken from the golden age of Indian cinema art.
Screening in April will be crime thriller Raman Raghav 2.0, based on a real-life serial killer, who confessed to killing over 30 people in Mumbai in the 1960s. The film, by cult filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, ‘king’ of Indian indie cinema, was selected at Cannes in 2016.
Meanwhile three stories intersect by the Ganges in Neeraj Ghaywan’s superb debut feature, Masaan, which won two prizes at Cannes, and Shahid is a powerful thriller based on the life of Shahid Azmi, the Muslim human rights activist and lawyer who freed many poor people, including Muslims, languishing in Indian prisons without evidence of their crimes.
The poignant Kapoor & Sons redefines the traditionally saccharine Bollywood family with a story of a dysfunctional family grappling with homosexuality, parental infidelity and death.
And Chaitanya Tamhane’s debut feature Court is an art house film that redefines what a Bombay film in Hindi can be and it deservedly won top prizes at Venice in 2014.
Completing the programme is April is Queen, a delightful film about a traditional young Delhi woman who is stood up by her fiancé on the eve of her wedding. She decides to honeymoon in Europe alone, and finds that her adventures make her more confident, liberated and less judgmental.
India on Film continues at BFI Southbank in May with Music in Indian Cinema: Song and Dance.
Watch the trailer of India on Film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cMeSZ-17TI
For further information about BFI India on Film programme, visit: http://www.bfi.org.uk/india-on-film