Indian cinema has again returned to UK television as Channel Four kicks off another season of Bollywood films.
For the last 28 years the channel has provided a masala mix of Indian films from Mumbai and beyond. This time around it’s a 12 film season focused on early Bollywood classics.
It kicked off last week with the first two films, but before that the scene was set with The Golden Years of Indian Cinema, a 75-minute special from Movie Mahal, the Indian cinema series from the late 1980s.
As Channel Four put it in the press release to accompany Movie Mahal:
“The programme provides an insight into the glorious years of Hindi cinema from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. Concentrating on songs, singers, composers and lyricists, there are interviews with key film personalities Lata Mangeshkar, Helen, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar as well as archive footage featuring songwriters and singers Talat Mahmood, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Laxmikant.
“It also looks at the work of actors like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan. Despite the tremendous increase in production and far wider reach of what is called ‘Bollywood’ today, The Golden Years of Indian Cinema shows the enduring impact of the 1950s, the decade in which great masters of Indian film started making world-class cinema.”
The films being aired – in the usual insomniac-friendly slots reserved for Indian cinema – are:
• Mother India – aired Monday 6 September, 02:15-05:15
• Andaaz – aired Tuesday 7 September, 00:45-03:25
• Mahal – Monday 14 September, 01:10-03:40
• Mr & Mrs ’55 – Tuesday 15 September, 12:45-03:20
• Pyaasa – Monday 21 September
• Madhumati – Tuesday 22 September
• Awaara – Monday 28 September
• Shree 420 – Tuesday 29 September
• Junglee – Sunday 4 October
• Mere Mehboob -Monday 5 October
• Gunga Jumna – Monday 11 October
• Sholay – Tuesday 12 October
I’m not sure if the last film on the list will be Shole (1953) or the more famous Sholay (1975), the former seems possible given the release dates of the other films. If so, perhaps the latter will be shown in a future 1970s/80s retrospective.
Films will be shown very early in the morning on the dates given above – i.e. set your recorders the day before or you’ll miss them.