As everyone and his wife have been mentioning today, this is the centenary of the Bombay film industry, and I thought it was a particularly wonderful (planned) coincidence that this year’s IAAC NY Indian Film Festival featured three documentaries about film-making there.
May 1st saw a paired screening of Bombay Movie, Alexandra Eaton’s heartfelt and eye-opening study of the struggles that indie films face to get made (in this case, Barah Anna) and reach an audience in the Indian film capital amidst all the big studio releases, together with Rudradeep Bhattacharjee’s The Human Factor, a film about the father and two sons of the Lords family, Parsi musicians who collectively worked for four decades on Hindi films.
And May 2nd was the screening of Jaideep Varma’s Baavra Mann, an in-depth and fascinating film about director Sudhir Mishra and his work, but that only half describes it. Aside from the extensive time Varma spent with his subject, where – seemingly – little or nothing was off limits, there are also dozens of other directors, writers and actors who have spoken about Mishra and the Hindi film industry in general.
Now down to the final two days of NYIFF, there are still several films on offer tonight and tomorrow, including the only one from Kerala to make the cut for this year’s festival: Dr. Biju Kumar’s Aakashathinte Niram (Color of Sky) starring Indrajit, Amala Paul and Prithviraj, set in the Andamans, and the closing film Saturday evening, Filmistan.
Happy anniversary to all of us who love Indian films, and thanks and love to everyone who makes them.