image from poster for "Bol"A screening of the Lahore-based film "Bol" will open an Indian film festival Friday.

Film festival to celebrate Indian cinema

A hundred years ago, before filmmaking turned into an industry, India produced what was long considered its first feature film, 1913’s Raja Harishchandra. Devotees now know that Dadasaheb Torne made Shree Pundalik a year earlier, hence the title of the centenary celebration of south Asian cinema, “A Hundred Years Plus One.”

The campus will play host to the festival with screenings and discussions over two weekends: November 15, 16, 22 and 23. All events are free and open to the public, in room 202, Toldo Health Education Centre.

The Indian Cinema Centennial Celebration will feature four contemporary films:

  • Bol at 6 p.m. Friday, November 15
  • Bombay Talkies at 3 p.m. Saturday, November 16
  • Madras Café at 6 p.m. Friday, November 22
  • Shuddh Desi Romance at 3 p.m. Saturday, November 23

As well, two panels will discuss related research by scholars unraveling the complex cultural politics of Indian cinema and its salience beyond “just entertainment.”

Panel discussion I begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, November 16.

Shahnaz Khan, professor of women and gender studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, will present “Cinematic agency and regulation in Bol,” examining the Lahore-based film that challenges the modern/traditional binary to suggest alternatives in modern Pakistan. She will be joined by Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai, professor of English and telecommunications at Michigan State University, presenting “What’s Indian about Indian cinema,” focusing on the predominance of melodrama, song and dance in mainstream Bollywood films.

Panel discussion II begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, November 23.

UWindsor communications professor Jyotika Virdi, author of The Cinematic ImagiNation: Social History through Indian Popular Films, will discuss the challenge to a national cultural framework in her talk “Bollywood: Indian cinema with transnational aspirations?” She will be joined by University of Michigan communications professor Aswin Punathembekar examining the role of the diaspora in shaping India’s media industry in “Looking LA, Talking Bombay: Diasporic entrepreneurs and the making of Bollywood.”

The event is presented by the UWindsor Department of Communication, Media and Film in association with South Asian Centre of Windsor, coordinated by Dr. Virdi and the centre’s director, Sushil Jain.