Spanning films from the 1930s to the Present, the series features historical spectacles that celebrate the justice and tolerance of the Mughal imperium as an antidote to colonial rule; films of aching beauty that focus upon the figure of the courtesan, at once alluring, romantic and tragic; and stories of Muslim social life that dramatize the changing social roles of a society in transition.
Social Dramas and Shimmering Spectacles: Muslim Cultures of Bombay Cinema not only reveals the rich expressive idioms of Bombay Cinema, but also reflects the radical transformations in Indian Society of the past 80 years, from the resistance to colonial rule and the challenge to feudal customs and values posed by modernity, to the deep divisions between Hindu and Muslim wrought by the Partition, communalism, and social discrimination.
Film-makers tentatively scheduled to appear include Ashutosh Gowariker, director of the hugely successful historical epic, Jodhaa Akbar starring Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan, and Khalid Mohamed, director of Fiza and writer of Mammo.
“These rich and vibrant films from Bombay are a captivating addition to the many world cinemas we present at the Film Society,” says Mara Manus, Executive Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
“Post Slumdog, there is a new awareness that a great cinema exists in India beyond the work of a few art-house auteurs,” says co-curator Richard Allen, Professor and Chair of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. “In this series, the history of Bombay cinema is presented through films that portray Muslim culture and forms of social life that not only furnish an extraordinary repository of aesthetic idioms but provide a deeply moving commentary on the nature and effects of social change in India over the past century.”
“This beautifully curated series offers a fresh and fascinating perspective into that treasure chest that is the Bombay cinema,” says Richard Pe