SACF South Asian Cinema in UK


Reel India - Understanding Indian Cinema

Thursday 1st May and Friday 2nd May, 2014

The October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1N 3AL

This unique short course has been designed to introduce audiences to the vast cinematic heritage of India, from historic roots to unprecedented growth. It will convey how Indian Cinema is unique within world cinema and, as it passes its landmark 100 - year anniversary, deserving of far more global recognition. Sessions will be led by Lalit Mohan Joshi alongside Kusum Pant Joshi and Raza Ali Abidi.


Day 1: Thursday 1st May 2014

Session 1 — 10am to 11:15pm
The First Steps: The Silent Era to the Talkies

Indian Cinema was born on July 7th 1896 barely six months after the technology first appeared in the West. Despite this, it soon developed a form that was distinctly Indian. This opening talk will chart the emergence of cinema in India- from foreign curiosity to captivating new art form.

Session 2 — 11:45pm to 1pm
Boom and Bust: The Rise and Fall of the Studios

In 1931 Indian Cinema reached its next landmark - the release of its first talkie, Alam Ara. This was followed by the rise of the Studio System in the 1930s and 1940s. We will examine this period in depth and look at the significance of music at this time as well as its lasting centrality on Indian cinema.

Session 3 — 2pm to 3:15pm
The Classic Touch: Post-independence and the Golden Age

With political independence as its starting point, this period looks at he influential films of the 1950s and 1960s- the so called Golden Age of Indian Cinema. The directors of this era drew on diverse cultural sources including classical Indian literature, art and music and created epic productions such as Mughal-e-Azam, Mother India and Guide.

 Day 2: Friday 2nd May 2014

Session 1 — 10am-11:15pm
Let’s Get Real: India’s New Wave Cinema

In the 1950s, Satyajit Ray’s realism put Indian cinema on the global film map. In the 1960s and 1970s, Ray’s cinema as well as other factors led to the New Wave movement and films such as Ankur, Manthan and Bhuwan Shome.

Session 2 — 11:45pm-1pm
Going Big: The Era of Romance, Action and Superstardom

This session will contrast two Indian superstars of the 1970s- Rajesh Khanna as the fresh faced heart-throb and Amitabh Bachchan as the rugged action hero. We will discuss the contexts from which they emerged and examine the arrival of the majestic Khans in the 1990s.

Session 3 — 2pm-3:15pm
Into the Future: The Beginning of Independent Cinema

In our final talk participants will be led into the bold new world of independent cinema. We will discuss the changes the industry is undergoing with reference to important directors such as Anurag Kashyap, Sujoy Ghosh and Vishal Bhardwaj.

 ADMISSION: £15 per day
For reservation email -
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About the speakers

Lalit Mohan Joshi is a respected film historian, critic and former BBC broadcast journalist. He is the co-founder of the South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF) alongside Kusum Pant Joshi, who is a social historian, researcher and community worker. Raza Ali Abidi is a journalist and broadcaster with a long career working with the BBC Urdu Service. He has published many short-stories and has a deep understanding of Hindi film music.

The Bagri Foundation was founded in 1990. One of its key objectives is to encourage learning through scholarships, bursaries, lecture series and exhibitions. The Foundation seeks to promote a better understanding of art and culture, particularly of South Asia. In recent years it has helped fund major lecture series on aspects of Indian culture and history; including art, architecture and religion.