Sampling India’s Popular Cinema — and Global Reach
Film clips from Bollywood will be starring in a talk now set for Friday, Oct. 6 at 5 p.m. at Portland Public Library.
This is the first event to be scheduled in the community events series leading up to the 2024 Camden Conference on India: Rising Ambitions, Challenges at Home on Feb. 16 – 18.
Long the world’s largest film industry, India’s commercial Hindi-language cinema largely based in Mumbai has long surpassed Hollywood in number of films produced and tickets sold.
Jon Cavallero, Associate Professor and Chair of Rhetoric, Film and Screen Studies at Bates College and Founding Director of the Bates Film Festival will introduce Bollywood’s unique cinematic style, as well as its global power, particularly in the developing world where Hollywood’s sales have lagged.
To help audiences prepare for his talk, Cavallero has picked several films viewers can access easily from home.
Historical epic “Lagaan” (2001) on Netflix proved a refreshing way to jump into Bollywood. One reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes online service calls it a “great introduction to the joys of Indian popular cinema.”
According to another RT reviewer, it’s a “good example of the ‘masala’ type of Indian filmmaking where politics, romance, class conditions and long musical numbers are stirred together in an entertaining stew.”
An alternate top choice would be “Diwale Dulhania LeJayenge” (1995) or DDLJ for short, on Prime. The New York Times recently dubbed it “a musical romance set in a society in churn with the choices offered by economic opportunity clashing with tradition.”
Cavallero also recommends “RRR” on Netflix. This is a film from Tollywood, a cinema industry that operates separately from Bollywood. He also cites “Guilty Pleasure: Dhoom 1/2/3” on Prime.
More information as available on scheduling of community events will be posted on our website’s Events page.