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1947 Earth

Source : Flickr (by Michael Foley)
Source : Flickr (by Michael Foley)

The plot: Based on the novel “Mister Candy” by Bapsi Sidhwa, this film is set in Lahore in 1947, when India is about to be separated from Pakistan. Lenny, a child from a good family, follows the family nurse on walks. Stories of separation, turmoil, religion and community unfold during this time, that serves as great symolism for the turmoil of the time in Lahore.

Fact sheet: Directed by Deepa Mehta en 1998, with Aamir Khan, Nandita Das, Maia Sethna and Rahul Khanna.
Why it is a must see:

  • For a deeper understanding of the religious challenges experienced by India in the aftermath of independence.
  • Because it tells of a passionate love story.
  • For the role of small Lenny, aged 9 and narrator of the horrors experienced by his country.

Monsoon Wedding

Source : Flickr (by Abhinay Omkar)
Source : Flickr (by Abhinay Omkar)

The plot: While the family prepares Aditi’s marriage with a man she does not love, she enters into a relationship with a known television presenter. Other intrigues interweave, including the history of Verma, servant of the family, which converts to catholicisim to escape the caste system.

Fact sheet: Directed by Mira Nair en 2001, with Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty et Vijay Raaz.
Why its a must see:

  • Because it deals with several hot topics (even taboo) in India: forced marriage, caste system and incest.
  • For the sequences shot in shoulder camera, typical of Mira Nair.
  • For teh color, music and dances reminiscent of Bollywood films.

Passage to India

EMI Films
EMI Films

The plot: The film tells the story of Adela Quested and her first trip to India to visit her future husband Ronny, who is working there for the British government. One day she visits the mysterious caves Marabar with Dr. Aziz, he is then accused of trying to rape her and the incident shakes the country, reviving tensions between India and Britain.

Fact sheet: Directed by David Lean with 1984, with Judy Davis, James Fox, Alec Guinness and Peggy Ashcroft.

why it is a must see:

  • For its treatment of the cultural divide and misunderstandings between cultures.
  • Because the film’s denunciation of colonialism is fairly objective.
  • Because it received three Golden Globes, two Oscars and one BAFTA in 1985-86.

Amal

Rickshaw Inde
Source : Flickr (by Chris Goldberg)

The plot: The is the story that tells the life of Amal, a particularly honest rickshaw driver, who is upset when a multimillionaire, touched by his condition, bequeaths all his property before dying, leaving Amal to decide whether to stay humble or keep the riches.

Fact sheet: : Directed in 2007 by Richie Mehta, with Rupinder Nagra, Naseeruddin Shah, Seema Biswas and Koel Purie.

Why it is a must see:

  • Parce qu’il raconte la vie d’un personnage central en Inde et pourtant souvent oublié des films, le chauffeur de rickshaw.
  • Pour l’émouvant personnage d’Amal dans un décor très peu séduisant.
  • Pour l’évolution des techniques cinématographiques tout au long du film.

Lagaan

Cricket Inde
Source : Flickr (by premasagar)

The plot: Lagaan is the name of the tax on the grain harvest, as the head of the local British government wanted to double it even though the villagers were on the brink of starvation. To settle the dispute, the officers proposed to organize a cricket match.

Fact sheet: Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker in 2001 with Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne.

Why it is a must see:

  • To see the stunning landscape of Gujrati.
  • For the exploration of the central role of cricket, as a major sport in the Indian subcontinent.
  • For the performance of Aamir Khan, the indisputable star of the film.

If you enjoyed these films, please take a look at our Mumbai film guide, the birthplace of Indian cinema.

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