The Hindi Nation and its Fragments

Bollywood Film Festival April 15-23, 2015

deewar

APRIL 15-23, 2015

Department of South Asia Studies

University of Pennsylvania

All UPenn students, faculty and staff are invited to attend free screenings of four milestones of Bollywood cinema:

PYAASA (1957) 

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in Pyāsā.

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman in Pyāsā.

April 15, 6:00 PM

826 Williams Hall

Director: Guru Dutt

Starring: Guru Dutt, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehman, Johnny Walker

This classic of the 1950’s social drama genre follows the love triangle of Vijay, a destitute poet, Meena, his former love (now married to a wealthy publisher), and Gulabo, a prostitute who falls in love with Vijay through his poetry.  Set in Calcutta, the film is a commentary on social inequalities and features some of the finest poetry and music of Bollywood cinema.

Sunil Dutt, Nargis, and Rajendra Kumar in Mother India.

Sunil Dutt, Nargis, and Rajendra Kumar in Mother India.

MOTHER INDIA (1957) 

April 16, 6:00

111 Annenberg Hall

Director: Mehboob Khan

Starring: Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kumar

Perhaps the most famous nationalist film of Hindi cinema, Mother India follows the journey of a poor peasant family in rural India over two generations– depicting the ravages of nature, economic exploitation, and social stigma with which its members must contend.  This highly allegorical film nevertheless evinces the optimism and prospect of social justice that characterized Nehru-era India.

DEEWAAR (1975)  

Amitabh Bacchan in Deewar.

Amitabh Bacchan in Deewar.

April 22, 6:00 PM 826 Williams Hall

Director: Yash Chopra

Starring: Amitabh Bacchan, Sashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh

Produced at a time of major ideological and social change, Deewar presents an allegory of the nation in the form of a family (a poor woman and her two sons– one a gangster, the other a police officer) but in a manner that was drastically different than that of the films that preceded it.  It also ushered in the first mega-star of Bollywood: Amitabh Bacchan.

Manoj Bajpai and Reema Sen in Gangs of Wasseypur Part I.

Manoj Bajpai and Reema Sen in Gangs of Wasseypur Part I.

GANGS OF WASSEYPUR (2012)

April 23, 6:00 PM

B26 Stiteler Hall

Director: Anurag Kashyap

Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Piyush Mishra, Richa Chadda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaideep Ahlawat, Huma Qureshi

Gangs of Wasseypur, a two-part mafia saga, is perhaps the boldest example of a new wave of Bollywood cinema that has once again moved away from the big city to concentrate on the life of small-town India, making extensive use of local language, musical traditions, and themes.  The film follows a Muslim family in the mineral-rich but economically poor state of Bihar as they compete with local mafias, families, and politicians for a piece of the overflowing– but illegal– wealth of the state.

Screenings are being held in conjunction with course 227/527: The Hindi Nation and its Fragments.

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