And so Channel 4′s autumn season of Indian films will shortly come to end, but it does so in style with a double-bill combining a documentary on legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar and a rare showing of the 1972 film Pakeezah.
Lata In Her Own Voice sees the singer, whose voice has appeared in films for more than six decades, talk about her life and work. (Trivia fans: this version of the documentary is distilled from a six-part series of the same name, originally shown on Channel 4 in 1990.)
Following straight on from the documentary will be a showing of the Meena Kumari starring Pakeezah. The film features Kumari as both a courtesan/ dancer rejected by her lover’s traditional family and then also her duaghter.
Its legend was assured not only by an 11-year gestation, but also by the untimely death of Kumari from cirrhosis of the liver just weeks after its release, bringing the audience in their droves to see her in her final, and most memorable, performance.
But that double bill’s still a week and a half away. Before that we get the Nargis/Raj Kapoor/Dilip Kumar classic Andaaz and a very interesting looking documentary.
Celluloid Man is a portrait of archivist and film historian PK Nair, who worked for three decades as the director of the National Film Archives of India in Pune single-handedly preserved India’s cinematic heritage. His story is told through extensive interviews and a wide variety of film excerpts, which in themselves trace the history of Indian film.