Bollywood in US

Turner Classic is celebrating Indian cinema with a 12-film festival dedicated to Bollywood.

india Updated: May 12, 2003 20:00 IST

Slowly but surely, Bollywood is making its entry into the American homes in a big way. Starting this summer, Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the world of Indian cinema with a 12-film festival dedicated to Bollywood every Thursday from June 5.

For the mainstream Indian cinema, that has come a long way to win such an international acclaim, this indeed is celebration time.

The month long film festival, which is being co-hosted by a reputed Indian born filmmaker Ismail Merchant, will focus on the commercial film industry that has produced most-viewed films in the world ever since its inception in 1930s.

The films in TCM's festival, rarely available to American audiences, represent the grandest and most colourful Bollywood films that range from tragic melodramas like Raj Kapoor's Aawara, Guru Dutt's Pyaasa, Balraj Sahni's Do Bigha Zameen, Nargi's Mother India to romantic hits like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Rangeela, Junglee and Sholay.

All the movies chosen aptly, are unique in their own ways and depict versatile approach to filmmaking, use of colour and elaborate choreography for which the Indian Cinema is well known.

The festival covers films from the early 1950s through the beginning of the 21st century. "Bollywood has added a new dimension to entertainment audiences all over the world. It is full of energy and charge, and the TCM move to show these selected films is a great opportunity for viewers to tune into Bollywood," says Ismail Merchant, producer/director and partner, Merchant-Ivory Productions. Apparently Turner Classic Movies network is a seemingly strange home for Indian musical melodramas. However, the network is trying to gain new viewers by switching over to ethnic programming.

"As a film fan, I guess I had heard a lot about Bollywood, about the clich's, about the music and the dancing and the prolific nature of the film industry in India, but I had never actually seen a Bollywood film," says Charlie Tabesh, SVP of programming for TCM, in an interview to CableWorld.

"I was curious. I thought other people would be curious", he added.

First Published: May 12, 2003 00:00 IST