India On Film season in November & December

20 October 2017

We will be celebrating 70th anniversary of India’s independence with a short film season of rarely-seen classics of Indian cinema in November and December. The India On Film season includes three classic titles, a new release and a feature length completion of archive footage, and runs in QUAD from Wednesday 1st November to Thursday 7th December

Day Shall Dawn (U) (In Urdu with English subtitles)

India/Pakistan/Bangladesh/UK  1959  Dir: A.J. Kardar

Screening November 1st at 12:30pm & 6:15pm and November 2nd at 3:20pm & 8:50pm.

A long-lost treasure of Pakistani cinema and an extraordinary collaboration between artists in West Pakistan, East Pakistan, India and the UK. The film is inspired by Manik Bandopadhay’s 1930 novel Padma River Boatman and focuses on the intimate struggles, humanity and dignity in the daily lives of fisherfolk in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), a world dominated by poverty and exploitative loansharks. Prior to the film’s initial release in 1958, when the government asked the producer not to go ahead with it, to the film’s recent removed from Mumbai Film Festival over political tensions between India and Pakistan, this film has rarely been screened over the years. 

The evening screening on 1st November will be introduced by film director Ahmed Jamal. 

Pyaasa (U) (In Hindi with English subtitles)

India  1957  Dir: Guru Dutt 

An immortal classic, Guru Dutt’s soulful, romantic masterpiece Pyaasa is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time. Made in 1957, the same year as Mother India, it was part of Hindi cinema’s golden age. Translating as ‘The Thirsty One’ it is set in post-independence Kolkata (then Calcutta), and tells of a young poet’s ambition. Vijay is unemployed and striving to become a published poet, but his efforts are initially only appreciated by his loyal mother, girlfriend and his few friends. But after he is mistakenly believed killed in an accident and his reputation instantly soars, he sees that success may lie in a twist of fate. Beautifully restored in 2015, the stark black and white photography powerfully evokes the antagonistic forces at work in this classic romantic melodrama.

Screening November 8th at 12:00pm & 6:10pm and November 9th at 3:20pm & 8:55pm.

Miss Lovely (cert TBC) (In Hindi with English subtitles)

India  2012  Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia

Vicky and Sonu Duggal are partners in crime, churning out horror films for the underground Mumbai’s small picture houses, where opportunism and corruption abound. Skirting censorship and gangland distributors, hustler Vicky struggles to run their operation, leaving the legwork to Sonu, who becomes increasingly resentful. On the train home one day, Sonu is mesmerised by the mysterious Pinky, a struggling actress. So Sonu decides to produce his dream romantic film, Miss Lovely. But nothing is what it seems in the underworld of shifting alliances and doomed love….

Screening November 10th at 3:10pm & 6:10pm and November 11th at 1:00pm & 8:50pm

Britain On Film: South Asian Britain (PG) 

UK  2017  Dir: Various

A collection of archive footage from across the UK, curated by the BFI, exploring the history of Britain’s South Asian population throughout the 20th century. Weaving together and touching on disparate communities originally from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the films show life before and after British rule in South Asia, this illustrates how the relationship between Britain and the region was complicated by the Empire, and its and legacy, and how the South Asian diaspora in the United Kingdom has enriched life in our country. Britain On Film: South Asian Britain (certificate PG) screens at QUAD on Wednesday 15th November at 3:30pm and 8:45pm, and on Thursday 16th November at 12:30pm and 6:30pm.

Screening November 15th at 3:30pm & 8:45pm and November 16th at 12:30pm & 6:30pm 

The Chess Players (PG) (In mixed Urdu/Hindi with English subtitles)

A classic masterpiece set in Lucknow in 1856, where two noble landowners Mir (Saeed Jaffrey) and Mirza (Sanjeev Kumar) incessantly play chess every day - oblivious to the political developments happening around them. The daily life of these two chess devotees is set against the backdrop of the colonising aims of a powerful British army seeking to annex the Indian state of Awadh. With the King of Awadh’s devotion to religion and pursuit of pleasure, he neglects his state duties, and British rule is asserted. Director Satyajit Ray uses chess as a subtle metaphor for the larger political game being played out around Mir and Mirza. Narrated by Amitabh Bachchan with Richard Attenborough as General Outram.

 Screening December 6th at 12:30pm & 6:05pm and December 7th at 3:00pm & 8:40pm.