Category Archives: Hindi

Bengali cinema documentary heralds start of Channel 4’s autumn Indian film season

Channel 4’s autumn Indian film season kicks off in the early hours of tomorrow morning and its recent trend to look further than the Mumbai film industry continues.

It begins, unusually, with a documentary in Bengali – though made by Polish director Andrzej Fidyk – about a mobile cinema run by Mr Battu and his two assistants.

Battu’s Bioscope (1998) is the first in a seven-strong run of documentaries about the many faces of India’s obsession with cinema titled Cinema On Cinema and will be followed later next month a quintet of Bollywood feature films. Continue reading

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Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya trailer

Given its European premiere at last week’s London Goopi Gawaiya Bagha Bajaiya (The World of Goopi and Bagha) is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s similarly named 1968 Bengali film.

This time around the hapless singers are animated and their tale told in Hindi and, according to director Shilpa Ranade, the state-funded film is riding a wave of interest in animation in India.

Kahaani: a story in Kolkata

Kahaani film poster Vidya BalanI really enjoyed watching Kahaani (lit: story) recently, but two of the things that gave me the greatest pleasure about this Bollywood film were its setting for a short restaurant scene and the way the Bengali language was woven into the film’s plot.

There was much to recommend it beyond that, as it was also a great, a-typical, Bollywood film, with no dance scenes and little use of music. (Not, I hasten to add, that I think Bollywood films have to be a-typical or – heaven forbid, music-less – in order to be great).

The film also made great use of Kolkata as a backdrop – though admittedly I am always on the lookout for Kolkata on film, and it rarely makes it to glossy Bollywood films. Continue reading

Cartoons trump language

BheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmmmmThis afternoon I put on one of the Chhota Bheem DVDs we bought in India last year.

The cartoons about a super-strong boy were a firm favourite with both my boys when we were in holiday. (Though I might as well say that *cartoons* of any type tend to be a firm favourite with them.)

However, putting the DVD on this time I forgot to switch the language to English. Continue reading

Sneak peak: Channel 4’s Autumn Bollywood season

The centrepiece of Channel 4’s Bollywood programming, its Autumn film season promises to be a great one this year, coming as it does during Indian cinema’s centenary.

While Channel 4 hasn’t officially released any details of its main Bollywood season, for those anxious to get their filmi fix I can reveal perhaps just enough detail to whet your appetite. Continue reading

An American documentary-maker in Goa

The Pool film posterBollywood is a fantastically convenient shorthand for certain types of Indian film, but Channel 4’s latest Indian screening will likely stretch even the malleable use I put the term to here.

Made by American documentary film-maker Chris Smith, The Pool has an Indian setting and is in Hindi, but it’s unlikely to be ‘Bollywood’.

Part of a short world film season, The Pool transposes a short story by Randy Russell from Iowa to the sultry heat of Panjim, the capital of India’s long-established holiday destination, Goa. Continue reading

India and the joy of planning

Kolkata bus and streetWhoever said getting there was half the fun had clearly not reckoned with the unbridled joy that is (for me at least) planning a holiday.

Particularly, when it’s too India.

And even more so since it’s the first time in six years that we’re going there. Continue reading