Indian Film Series, Spring 2014

As part of two courses taught by Prof. William Elison, "Imagining India" (ANTH 12.7/AMES 42.4) and "Sacred Laws, Social Injustice" (ANTH 50.7/AMES 42.5), the Anthropology Department is pleased to announce a film series for Spring 2014:

Films from India:

All screenings will begin at 7:00 on Sunday evenings at Rockefeller 003. Indian snacks will be served as long as supplies last. Screenings are open to the whole Dartmouth community!

May 11, 2014

CHINTU JI (Ranjit Kapoor, 2009)

In a contemporary reversal of Jagte Raho, Rishi Kapoor (son of Raj Kapoor) plays himself, a rich celebrity from the city, who relocates to a village. Schemes involving politics and filmmaking draw in villagers who see the big man as the key to the modernization of their little backwater. Chaos, farce, and social criticism ensue....

May 4

SANT TUKARAM (dirs. V. G. Damle and Shaikh Fattelal, 1936; Marathi)

Tukaram was a sixteenth-century poet-saint--a very South Asian combination--who expressed his devotion to the Lord Vitthal (Krishna) in songs that are sung to this day. His story is told in an evocative and magical film from before Independence. Vishnupant Pagnis's charismatic performance as Tuka is rivaled by Gauri's portrayal of his grouchy but loving wife, who finds it isn't easy being married to a saint.

April 27

JAGTE RAHO ("Stay Awake," dirs. Sombhu Mitra and Amit Maitra, 1956; Hindi)

"India's Showman," Raj Kapoor, perfected a Chaplinesque everyman persona who roamed the new nation's roadways and cities in the 1950s. Here the Tramp wanders into a vast and inhospitable middle-class housing complex--an urban Indian version of a gated community--looking for a simple drink of water. Chaos, farce, and social criticism ensue.

April 20

FOREST OF BLISS (dir. Robert Gardner, 1985; ambient Hindi)

This documentary about the Hindu holy city of Banaras (Varanasi) is an experiment in ethnographic filmmaking. No voiceover intervenes between the viewer and the vivid, sometimes confrontational images of the life cycle and its ritual management along the banks of the Ganges.

April 13

MRITYUDAND ("Death Sentence," dir. Prakash Jha, 1997; Hindi)

Bollywood goes feminist in this contemporary melodrama set in a caste-ridden North Indian village. Superstar Madhuri Dixit is Ketki, who marries into the village and won't let the forces that rule it beat her down. Corruption, treachery, sex, and plenty of singing and dancing spice up a fervently reformist social message.

April 6, 2014

AGNI VARSHA ("The Fire and the Rain," dir. Arjun Sajnani, 2002; Hindi)

 A great Vedic fire sacrifice is the focus of intrigue among priests and kings. Bollywood gives us ancient India in a lush and arty interpretation of an episode from the Mahabharata epic. Yoga, magic, and forbidden love in an age when gods and demons walked the Earth. Amitabh Bachchan makes a cameo as Indra, king of the gods.