The Indian Film Festival will once again be held in Melbourne from 10 August to 22 August. As a country with one of the biggest film industries in the world, churning out over 1500 movies annually, the cinematic experience is a crucial part of Indian lives. Like previous years, some of the biggest stars of Bollywood and beyond will be heading here to share their knowledge and celebrate with us. The movie listings are diverse, with something for everyone. Whether you are looking for some light entertainment, a romantic story or a hard hitting documentary on social issues, there will be something for everyone. Here are some of the top picks to check out.
The festival’s opening night screening has already caused controversy in India where they were initially banned by the censors for being overly “lady-oriented [about] their fantasy above life.” Thankfully the Indian censorship board overturned that ruling, so they, as well as the rest of the world will be able to see this contemporary film that challenges the stereotypes of traditional India.
The Delhi rapes which attracted international attention in 2012 is the topic of Deepa Mehta’s doco-drama. Mehta’s past work includes the Academy Award Nominated film, Water (2006), which gained world wide accolades. Mehta is not afraid to explore confronting issues and a result, there is no doubt she will do justice to this uncomfortable and often taboo topic of in India. One can only hope that by discussing these issues of rape and violence against women in India, society will be able to change and women will no longer be victims of misogyny.
Melbourne and the city of Kolkata in India share the presence of trams as part of their urban transport landscape. However, whereas in Melbourne trams plan an important role in the transport system, in Kolkata they have been deemed to be obsolete. In Tramjatra, Melbourne tram conductor, Roberto D’Andrea makes to trip to the bustling Indian city, where together with the conductor community of Kolkata, they try to advocate not only for this classic mode of transport, but also for history and culture. This documentary is a lovely way to see some of the many links between Melbourne and Kolkata, two cities which on the surface seem polar opposites.
One of the Bollywood films to be screened on the big screen at Federation Square, Dear Zindagi tells the story of Kaira (Alia Bhatt) and Jug (Shah Rukh Khan), and the impact that they have on each other’s lives. Already a hit movie in India, this movie follows the Bollywood formula complete with romance, song, dance and a heart warming ending. Sometimes all you need a cheesy love story to make you feel good.
Aparna Sen is a stalwart of Bengali films, having been acting and directing for over sixty years. In her latest film, Sonata, she explores and friendship between three middle aged, professional, unmarried women, and the uncertainties they are faced with in life.
The Indian Film Festival gives us a chance to enjoy the broad landscape that is Indian cinema. With a diverse range themes and genres, there is sure to be something for everyone.
Moni is of Indian heritage, was born in England and has grown up in Australia. As a result, she appreciates all things fusion.
The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne runs 10 to 22 August at various locations.
All of the films will be screened in their original languages with English subtitles.
All of the venues are wheelchair accessible.