For those who have not taken to the mainstream Hindi film, the upcoming Indian Film Festival which will run from August 17th to the 21st in Sydney will highlight a different style of film.
Hindi films aren't all just song and dance and contemporary Hindi directors have been tackling a wide variety of issues and subjects in recent times. Some of the best are included here, Waiting, Gour Hari Dastaan (The Freedom File), Massan and Aligarh showcase this trend.
The much acclaimed Aligarth is a moving drama based on fact depicting the story of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra a university professor dismissed from his position due to homosexuality. It features a fantastic performance from Manor Vajpayee, from Gangs of Wasseypur.
Waiting, featuring insightful performances by Nasseruddin Shah and Kalki Koechlin is a wonderful example of this trend in Indian cinema as borne out by its prize for Best Director at the London Asian film festival. Waiting is a very human drama about a mature man and a newly married young woman, who meet and find companionship while waiting for medical test results (or to find if their respective spouses will live or die) .
Rajkahini is a Bengali film directed by Srijit Mukherjee who will be at the festival with the lead actress Rituparna Sengupta. Rajkahini is a period drama set at the time of Bengal's partition in 1947.
Regional cinema has been on the rise in India, both in production numbers and quality. Marathi cinema has made a particularly strong impression in the last few years. Two Marathi films will be screened, the closing night film Ekk Albela, a bio-pic of an early Indian actor/director whose most famous film was Albela. The film features Hindi actress Vidya Balan's in her Marthi debut.
In all 11 features will be shown, including a Tamil and Malaylam film, along with Deepa Mehta's (Water, Midnight's Children) new film Beeba Boys, in English, set in Canada's underworld and exploring the rule of a Sikh crime lord.
The festival will screen at Cinema Paris in Sydney.