Not Just Bollywood 2019 programme announced
Third annual season is dedicated to the work of women directors
Wed 11 Sep – Wed 2 Oct
HOME’s annual celebration of contemporary Indian culture, Not Just Bollywood, will return for a third year and will reflect HOME’s ongoing Celebrating Women in Global Cinema season with the programme devoted to films directed by women. Curated by UK-based film scholar, Omar Ahmed and HOME’s Head of Film Rachel Hayward, the 2019 programme is presented in partnership with much-loved Bombay café, Dishoom, who will also present an Indian cookery workshop as part of the season’s special events programme.
Kicking off the season on 11 September, is the first film in Deepa Mehta’s controversial ‘Elements’ trilogy, a body of work exploring homosexuality in contemporary India (Fire, 1996), the horrors of Partition (Earth, 1998), and religion (Water, 2005). Rarely screened before in the UK, the trilogy highlights the work of two of Indian cinema’s most politically engaged women filmmakers – director Deepa Mehta and prolific actor-director Nandita Das (Manto, Firaaq) who stars in both Fire and Earth.
Reflecting the increasing prominence of women filmmakers in independent Indian cinema, the 2019 programme also includes three debut features. Konkona Sen Sharma’s A Death in the Gunj (2016) is a critically acclaimed period piece featuring an ensemble cast of some of India’s most well-respected actors, including Ranvir Shorey, Tillotama Shome, Kalki Koechlin and Om Puri. Rohena Gera’s Sir (2018) is a contemporary urban fairy tale set in Mumbai, while Anu Menon’s Waiting (2015), shot in the historic coastal city of Kochi, offers a philosophical commentary on death, love and social media. Spectacular locations are also on display in Ukrainian-born Dar Gai’s second feature, Namdev Bhau in Search of Silence (2018), which follows an old Mumbai man as he journeys to Silent Valley in the high Himalayas on a mission to find some peace and quiet.
The award-winning and critically acclaimed Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016) from Alankrita Shrivastava, one of India’s leading contemporary writer-directors, will screen on 21 September. Initially banned by the censors in India, the film, about four small-town Indian women, is a timely exploration of sexual desire, resistance and patriarchal oppression. Season co-curator Omar Ahmed cites Shrivastava’s film along with Waiting and Sir, as examples of an ongoing wave of films that celebrate the emergence of the “New Woman” in contemporary India, a topic that will be discussed in a special One Hour Intro event on 28 September – “The New Woman and Contemporary Indian Cinema.” The University of Warwick’s Dr Saba Hussain will lead an illustrated talk about the impact of the #MeToo movement on Indian society and cinema, linking this to the rise of on-screen resistance and the growing power of the female audience at the Indian box office.
Other special events in the season include a Dishoom workshop exploring the flavours, traditions and techniques of Indian cuisine. Dates and booking details for the workshop will be released in due course.
Season co-curator Omar Ahmed comments: “Building on the tremendous success of last year’s edition, we’re excited that Not Just Bollywood 2019 will showcase the innovative and radical work of women directors past and present. My thanks go out to HOME for continuing to exhibit and celebrate alternative and independent Indian films and I’m delighted that HOME will be hosting regular Not Just Bollywood programming throughout 2020.”
Fellow co-curator and HOME’s Head of Film, Rachel Hayward, adds: “We’re delighted with the synergy between Not Just Bollywood 2019 and our ongoing year-long Celebrating Women in Global Cinema programme, designed to champion and celebrate women in film across the world. We’re also excited to welcome Dishoom on board as partners and encourage our audiences to try out their menu of Bombay comfort food and award-winning tipples, including the ‘Bollybellini’, as the perfect accompaniment to the programme.”
Not Just Bollywood 2019 is presented in partnership with Dishoom, the Bombay café in Manchester. Just as Not Just Bollywood celebrates Indian culture beyond the mainstream, so too do Dishoom, who pay loving homage to the Irani cafés and food of Bombay. Like these beloved Bombay institutions, which were the first places in the city where people from all walks of life shared tables, rubbed shoulders and broke bread together, Dishoom is dedicated to breaking down barriers. Their menu brings together dishes from the city’s restaurants, street stalls and homes, from Parsi, Hindu and Muslim traditions. This is also expressed through the restaurants, which employ and serve people from all walks of life, at their events, and through their commitment to charity (donating a meal for every meal, totaling 6.6 million meals so far).