Indian cinema? You're thinking Bollywood, lavish romantic dramas, sudden outbursts of song and dance, and Hollywood-blockbusters re-made Hindi style. But hold on just a sec... Recent years have seen a breakthrough for India’s independent film production. It's actually tempting to speak of a new wave.
What may be a little known fact to some of you is that the Indian film industry is actually the largest in the world. With just about 1300 new film productions each year, India produces more films annually than all of Europe put together. This year the Indian film industry celebrates its 100th birthday.
At AIAIAI we became aware of this New Indian Wave thanks to Cinemateket and CPH PIX in Copenhagen, who have been running the cavalcade Indian Indies since August 19th. As part of the cultural project ”India Today/Copenhagen Tomorrow”, Cinemateket and CPH PIX gives us a taste of the rich palette that contemporary Indian film making has to offer – from an open air celebration of wonderfully colourful Bollywood with ”Om Shanti Om” - to the newest aspiring film artist of Cinema Prayoga (Indian experimental films).
If you're real quick (and happen to find yourself in Copenhagen these days), you can still catch an indie. Indian Indies is on until Sunday September 16th, closing off with a restored version of the classic indie ”Charulata” (”The Lonely Wife”) from 1964 by one of India's renowned and highly influential film makers, neorealist Satyajit Ray who’s sort of India’s answer to Godard. You can also catch a glimpse of new Indian cinema on Danish TV network DR K from now until September 29th.
New Indian Cinema is an interesting new acquaintance for those of us who suffer from the above-mentioned delusion that Indian film is all soap opera and spectacular dancing in the streets of Bangalore. Turns out India has other perspectives to offer, such as a progressive avant-garde film scene and an alternative and autonomous perspective on cinema. It really shouldn't come as a surprise for the enlightened global-minded moviegoer, but the fact remains that these films seldom hit the screen of your local theater. So now that the chance is here, go grab it.
We hope to see more of India on the silver screens of Copenhagen in the coming years. And we don’t actually have to wait that long. In November, the documentary film festival CPH:DOX shows a selection of contemporary Indian documentaries. We can’t wait.