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An ode to the Indie cinema

Four films celebrating the spirit of Indian Independent cinema will be screened in a one-day movie marathon at the Godrej India Culture Lab in Vikhroli tomorrow. Organised close to the Independence Day celebrations in association with the National Centre for Development of Cinema, these films celebrate the freedom of cinematic expression that Indie cinema has kept alive in the country; each originating from all the four regions of India -- East, West, North and South.


A still from Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse), the opening film

The movie marathon opens with the acclaimed Punjabi film Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (Alms for a Blind Horse, 2011), directed by Gurvinder Singh. It looks into the plight and problems of farmers, rural working class and landlords in Punjab in the early 1980s. Winner of three National Film Awards in 2011 including Best Direction, Cinematography and Best Punjabi Film, the film has travelled to film festivals across the world including Busan, Venice, and the Abu Dhabi Film Festival – where it won the $50,000 Black Pearl Trophy.

“All the films are about changing India, an alternate India that is often ignored by the popular media,” says Parmesh Sahani of India Culture Lab. “We wanted to do something around Independence Day, and these films not only talk about independence, but also explore the challenges it brings with it,” he adds.


A still from Gangoobai, the closing film of the one-day movie marathon

Challenges like loneliness and redundancy among the aged people in India -- as shown in the Malayalam film Parinamum (The Evolution, 2004), directed by Venu -- and how corruption has destroyed the vision of a free India as shown in Apurba Kishore Bir’s Oriya film Shesha Drushti (The Last Vision, 1997) through the eyes of a dying freedom fighter.

The idea of freedom takes a newer form in the film Gangoobai (2013), directed by newcomer Priya Krishnaswamy, which tells the story of a maid in Matheran. Gangoobai lived a life with simple aspirations, until one day she finds a new purpose of buying a designer sari. 


A still from Parinamam (The Evolution)

She follows her dream to the big city of Mumbai, like the millions of Indians who come to cities to earn the freedom to buy things. “Gangoobai is going to be the closing film,” says Sahani, adding, “And it’s also my favourite; mostly, because it deals with simple human emotions and desires, in a challenging time like ours,” he adds.

The event will also see filmmaker Kamal Swaroop giving away copies of his new book, A Journey: Tracing Phalke, along with a small talk on Independent cinema in India.

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