A Century of Films

In a country where Bollywood is considered a religion, the irony is difficult to miss. Most people are only aware of their contemporaries; so stars such as Katrina Kaif and Aamir Khan enjoy the spotlight, but ask somebody about the journey of Indian cinema and chances are he/she will not know much," says Narendra Panjwani. As a professor of film studies at St Xavier's College, Fort, this ignorance has continued to intrigue him. In a bid to tackle this he has curated the event, "Century of Cinema- a Past with a Future". Slated to take place from February 14-24, this is a 10-day event that is being organised by a Mumbai organisation, The Seventh Art, and supported by arts interActions and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan.

The event will feature an exhibition of around 45 original film posters that have been sourced by Panjwani, a series of discussions about Indian cinema and screenings of two films. "Unfortunately, we haven't been able to save much from the films of the silent era. But we have featured posters of films such as Amar Prem, Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor, Bobby and Guddi in the exhibition. Also, Indian cinema has reinvented itself at every stage. It has drawn from the past and yet managed to come up with its own new version; hence, the exhibition bears the name 'A Past With A Future'," says Panjwani.

While classics such as Madhumati (1958) and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983) will be screened to highlight their sheer brilliance and relevance, panel discussions — to be held at Max Mueller Bhavan, Kala Ghoda and St Xavier's College — will revolve around subjects such as positives and negatives of Indian filmmaking, and challenges and opportunities in the industry. Panjwani asserts that the idea is to create an awareness that extends beyond today's popular cinema. "For instance, one of the first filmmakers to work with Bombay Talkies was Franz Osten, a German citizen. Nuggets like these go a long way in throwing light on the journey of Indian cinema," he elaborates.

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