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Lights, camera, experiment

Films Division of India to organise a three day festival to celebrate a century of innovation in Indian cinema. This year witnessed several celebrations marking the centenary of Indian cinema, but none of them were probably as unique as Films Division’s upcoming cinematic extravaganza.

bollywood Updated: Jun 24, 2013 15:37 IST
Arundhati Chatterjee
Arundhati Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Films Division,festival,Ashish Avikunthak

This year witnessed several celebrations marking the centenary of Indian cinema, but none of them were probably as unique as Films Division’s upcoming cinematic extravaganza — ‘100 Years of Experimentation: Retrospective of Indian Cinema and Video’.

The three-day festival, featuring over 50 films and 18 hours of film programming, will unearth some of the rarest works in their original formats — 16 mm, 35 mm and digital, most of which are virtually impossible to acquire otherwise. It is a creative venture to acknowledge ‘experimental narratives’ and to draw a clear distinction between popular cinema and offbeat works.

“The term ‘experimental’ has often been misused in the public sphere by the populists and the media. Anything beyond mainstream is stamped as experimental. For instance, Anurag Kashyap’s works are generally regarded so, which is a flawed notion,” says Ashish Avikunthak, curator, 100 years of Experimentation. The film screenings will be followed by interactive sessions moderated by historian Amrit Gangar and film scholar Lalita Gopalan.

The creative initiative is segmented into four sections — Experiments with Gods featuring the early narratives by Dadasaheb Phalke; Experiment with State showcasing the state-funded films made in Films Division during the late ’60s; Experiments in the School highlighting some of the major works by students in FTII and SRFTI and Cinema of Prayoga, which traces the roots of discursive imagination within Indian philosophical theories.

“The data has been collected from National Film Archive of India, Films Division Archives, archives of FTII and SRFTI. We are hoping to witness three extraordinarily charged days of madness,” adds Avikunthak.

The festival will go on from June 28 to 30, at RR Theatre, Films Division, Pedder Road, from 10 am to 9 pm. Entry is free

Must- watch films:
*Kanchan Seetha (Malayalam, 1977) by G Arvindan. The film is an invigorating retelling of the Ramayana.
*Satah Se Uthata Aadmi (Hindi, 1980) by Mani Kaul. A cinematic masterpiece based on the life of Hindi writer Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh.
*Kaal Abhirati (Bengali, 1989) by Amitabh Chakraborthy. A significant film of this era exploring the complexities of human existence within the confines of Indian philosophy.
*Raja Harishchandra (silent film, 1913) by Dadasaheb Phalke. The first Indian feature film, based on the legend of King Harishchandra.

What: Transformation: The Kiss of Life by Poonam Agarwal
Where: The Leela Art Gallery, Andheri (W)
When: June 24
Poonam Agarwal is an artist whose work is synonymous with the word spiritual. Her upcoming solo show is no different, as she exemplifies the true nature of the human spirit which is continuously evolving and eternal.

What: Beethoven and Jadin String Trios
Where: Experimental Theatre, NCPA
When: June 25, 7 pm
Hyacinthe Jadin was a contemporary of Beethoven. He came from a family of musicians and was born in Versailles. These performances of two of his string trios is a result of a commission received by Gauthier Herrmann to revive Jadin’s music.

What: Mamtaz Bhai Patang Waale
Where: Prithvi Theatre, Juhu
When: June 26, 9 pm
Kite flying is an art, and Mamtaz bhai is the artiste, and Bikki his student. This is the story of their relationship in which there is everything including jealousy, hatred, revenge and love.

What: Nerve Rek : Tribute to Michael Jackson
Where: Hard Rock Cafe, Worli
When: June 27, 8.30 pm
Hard Rock Cafe takes you on a journey tracing the formidable king of pop, Michael Jackson, belting out all your favourite hits and setting the stage on fire with a high energy act. Nerve Rek is a progressive rock/metal band formed by Arjun ‘Chiq’ Dhanraj in August 2003.

What: A Walk In The Woods
Where : Rang Sharda, Bandra
When : June 29, 8 pm
Two diplomats (an Indian and a Pakistani) in the middle of peace talks, take a private walk in the woods trying to achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations between the two countries.

What: Terrence Malick Film Festival
Where : Russian Centre of Science and Culture
When : June 30, 12 pm
Often described as one of the leading filmmakers, Terrence Malick is unique in cinema as a filmmaker-philosopher whose extraordinary movies are both beautifully impressionistic and hauntingly profound.

First Published: Jun 24, 2013 12:21 IST