After the disappointment of having no Spring season of Bollywood films on Channel 4 this year and then the slightly underwhelming, documentary-heavy Autumn season last year, I’m excited by this year’s Autumn line-up of Bollywood films.
Those in charge of programming have struck what looks to be a really nice mix of new/old and left-field/populist films that takes in a crime thriller, an award-winning legal drama and more besides.
Assuming I remember to record it – certainly not a given if past years are anything to go by – I’ll finally get to see Delhi 6, whose songs were playing when I first started listening to Raj & Pablo.
There’s also a bhaijaan blockbuster in the shape of Ek Tha Tiger, and in fact Being Bhaijaan was one of last year’s documentaries that did grab me, though I still struggle to fully understand the very particular nature of some of his hardcore fans.
Other highlights, for me at least, will be Queen and Mary Kom (and the Nutan season also looks very interesting).
Check TV guides for exact timings – and there should be more details here, but the film’s begin on Monday 19 September at 01:05 with Court.
Channel 4’s 2016 Indian film season
Court: Chaitanya Tamhane’s 2014 debut is a multi-award-winning, Kafkaesque drama set in the labyrinth of Mumbai’s law courts that follows an ageing Mumbai folk singer accused on sedition.
Badlapur: A dark tale of vengeance and moral ambiguity from last year that sees a distraught father vow revenge on the robbers who caused the death of his wife and son.
Ek Tha Tiger: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif star in writer-director Kabir Khan’s blockbuster action-thriller – violent, but with a romantic twist (naturally).
Delhi-6: Abhishek Bachchan staring portrait of family life from director Rakeysh O Mehra.
Dil Dhadakne Do: Zoya Akhtar’s 2015 bittersweet drama about a rich Delhi family who celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary by taking their family and friends on an extravagant cruise of Europe.
Tanu Weds Manu Returns: Romcom sequel starting Kangana Ranaut and R Madhavan that followings the titular characters after their eventful wedding.
OK Kanmani: Mani Ratnam’s 2015 drama that explores attitudes to marriage in India today.
Mere Dad Ki Maruti: A Bollywood version of the Hollywood movie Dude, Where’s My Car? Clearly, it will either be genius, or toe-curlingly awful.
Mary Kom: Biopic about the celebrated female boxer from the Kom tribe in Manipur, north-eastern India that stars Priyanka Chopra.
Gaman: The first film in a two-part tribute to Smita Patil, who died in 1986 aged just 33. In Muzzafar Ali’s moving 1978 drama she plays a young wife who’s left behind with her mother-in-law when her husband leaves their impoverished village to try and find work in Mumbai.
Manthan: The Smita Patil tribute concludes with Shyam Benegal’s 1976 film about a vet’s struggle to improve the welfare of small-scale milk producers by setting up a dairy co-op in rural Gujarat and making them self-sufficient.
Queen: Kangana Ranaut’s 2013 film about how a romantic disaster unexpectedly brings a woman self-confidence and independence.
Mumbai Meri Jaan: Drama based on the 2006 Mumbai train bombings and the city’s reaction to the attacks.
Shuddh Desi Romance: Maneesh Sharma’s love-triangle romcom, which offers a fresh take on relationships in modern small-town India.
Anari: The first in a four-part tribute to Nutan Samarth Bahl, better know simply as Nutan, who would have been 80 this year. Here she stars with Raj Kapoor in a tragic romance about a penniless artist who finds love after honestly handing a cash-stuffed wallet back to its owner.
Paying Guest: That’s followed by Nutan stars alongside heartthrob Dev Anand, in what was considered one of the era’s leading romantic screen pairings.
Bandini: Set during the British Raj of the 1930s and based on the memoirs of a jail superintendent, this psychological drama that was a huge hit with Indian cinema-goers and film critics alike. It sees Nutan star alongside Ashok Kumar and Dharmendra.
Sone Ki Chidiya: The final Nutan film – and last in Channel 4’s Autumn Bollywood season – was written by feminist Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai and explores the exploitation of women. It being a 1950s Bollywood film, there’s also a poet involved.