Channel 4’s Indian film season unveils line-up
Staff Reporter | On 27, Oct 2019
Channel 4’s annual Indian film season returns this week, showcasing 10 films in seven weeks to present a cross-section of the best contemporary and classic Indian cinema.
Curated by longstanding season consultant and Indian cinema expert Nasreen Kabir, the annual Indian film season is the longest running strand in Channel4 ‘s history, running over 30 years. Every year the season showcases premieres of arthouse festival hits and golden classics plus the latest Bollywood blockbusters and strands on actors, directors, themes and musicians.
The 2019 season spans drama, thriller, romantic comedy, musical, documentary, independent Indian cinema, mainstream Bollywood and includes a remastered little seen film from Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema.
Eight of the films are network premieres, and eight films from the season will be available for catch-up viewing on All 4 following their broadcast.
It kicks off on Monday 28th October with Vikramaditya Motwane’s urban thriller Trapped (2016), as Rajkummmar Rao plays a young man inadvertently held captive in a disused apartment block high above the streets of Mumbai in a desperate fight for survival.
Next up is a change of gear for mainstream Bollywood cinema in female-buddy comedy Veere Di Wedding (2018), which Channel 4 describes as “Friends meets Sex and the City”. It follows a group of independent women navigating married life and refusing to conform to gender stereotypes.
Goa’s 1960’s unsung jazz musicians take centre stage in A Star Is Born story with an Indian twist with Nachom-ia Kumpasar (2015), featuring an award-winning performance from actress Palomi Ghosh.
Celebrated hard-hitting director Anurag Kashap delivers a lighter tale with Manmarziyaan (2018), a modern love triangle with a young, free-living group of characters set against the colourful backdrop of Amritsar in the Punjab.
Winding back the clock, Satyakam (1969) is a moving drama from that was much appreciated in its time. In 1945, as India’s Independence looms, Satyapriya – a man of high principles – dreams of building a new country but his moral certainty ends up being shaken forever.
Current Independent Indian cinema continues to flourish with Nude (Chitraa, 2018) as a young mother down on her luck takes a job as a cleaner in an art school. In order to make enough money for her son’s college fees, she decides to pose as a nude life model for the art students, despite the shame it may bring.
Following that is a madcap caper of mistaken identities in Mudassar Aziz’s jet-setting romantic comedy sequel Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi (Happy Runs Away Again, 2018), further bridging cultural ties between the Indian and Chinese film markets.
The season continues with Satyajit Ray’s 1965 remastered little-seen Kapurush, a subtle, moving chamber piece of lost love and atonement. A quiet film that leaves a significant emotional impression and a classic example of Ray’s unforgettable filmmaking.
Returning to the popular rom-com genre Tanu Weds Manu (2011) sees young successful Manu returning to India after working in London to meet potential brides. When he sees Tanu it’s love at first sight, but Tanu is already in love with the maverick Raja and intends to elope with him. Naturally struggles of the heart ensue.
The season concludes with documentary The Space Between the Notes (2018). Filmmaker Sumantra Ghosal captured a wonderful performance by two contemporary legends in Indian music in 2017 — tabla genius Zakir Hussain and sitar maestro Niladri Kumar. Interlacing insightful interviews with concert highlights Ghosal explores what allows these two very special artists to collaborate, creating their unique musical magic.