Channel 4’s Autumn Indian film season will kick off shortly with a brace of films from the late Bangladeshi director Tareque Masud, beginning with his most famous one, The Clay Bird (Matir Moina).
Set in 1960s East Pakistan, as Bangladesh was then known, the film focuses on Anu (Nurul Islam Bablu), who is sent to a madrasa (Islamic boarding school) by his strict and increasingly religious father in order that he might lead a more disciplined life.
Influenced by Satyajit Ray, the film is a study of childhood and family that was initially banned in its native country due to its critique of Islam.
The Clay Bird (2002) will be followed by a screening of Masud’s last film before his untimely death last year in a car accident.
Runway (2010) explores how unemployment and a hopeless future can draw young Bangladeshi men to find a sense of purpose in radical Islam. Ruhul (Fazlul Haque) is a young man in his 20s, a dropout from a madrasa, who lives with his family in a small hut near the runway of Dhaka’s international airport.
His family fragmented and financially stretched, Ruhul meets the confident Arif (Ali Ahsan), who introduces him to new and inspiring ideas, but also drags him into an underworld of intolerance and violence.
The two Bengali films – always a welcome addition to Channel 4’s ‘Indian’ film seasons – are followed by a shift to mainstream Bollywood pictures with thriller Kaminey (the scoundral) and Makdee, both directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.
Starting Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra the 2009 film centres on identical twins and their dreams of leaving behind the squalor of their lives to make it rich.
The scheduling then shifts from this adult thriller to a rare Bollywood film aimed at children.
Bhardwaj’s Makdee also features identical twins – not an unusual device in Indian cinema. The more mischievous of the pair causes the other twin to get into trouble (though there’s probably a better way of putting what happens when a witch turns you into a hen) and has to go to a haunted house to rescue her.
• Makdee – Thursday 27 September, 01:50 – 03:25
• Kaminey – Sunday 23 September, 00:05 – 02:20
• Runway – Thursday 20 September, 01:50 – 03:30
• The Clay Bird – Sunday 16 September, 01:10 – 02:55