Glasgow Film Festival goes Beyond Bollywood for Indian spark

With its Beyond Bollywood strand beginning tonight, co-director Allan Hunter has talked to STV about the flourishing of independent Indian cinema which is being showcased at the Glasgow Film Festival 2011.

So why has the festival branched out in this direction? Hunter said: “Every year we’ve focussed on the cinema of a particular country. We’ve covered Japan and Mexico, and tried to look at countries where it’s not so easy to see films from those countries in the UK.

“This year we decided to look at Indian cinema, partly because there seemed lots of connections, which were useful.

“Obviously the Commonwealth Games pass from Delhi to Glasgow, but particularly over the last year I think a lot of festivals, like Cannes and Toronto, there’s been a higher profile there for Indian cinema, which started to make you think that there’s something interesting going on here.”

He added: “It’s not just Bollywood cinema. Everyone has an image of Bollywood cinema as all-singing, all-dancing three-hour films with romance and melodrama, but there seems to be a sudden flourishing of independent Indian cinema that people were trying to tell different stories in different ways, and reflect some of the realities of life in India. It just seemed a good moment to take a look at what was going on in Indian cinema.”

So what’s lined up for the strand? Hunter replied: “The films in Beyond Bollywood are a mixture of stuff. There’s a documentary, there’s a couple of archive classics, one of which, A River Called Titash, has been restored by Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, which he set up a while back to basically help restore classics from Third World Countries where there isn’t quite as much investment.

“There’s also a number of films that represent that kind of new, independent Indian cinema. Road, Movie, which is the one that we’re opening with, which has a charming, slightly Cinema Paradiso feel to it. There’s a film called Autograph, which has echoes of an earlier Satyajit Ray film, who I guess is probably the one great mast of Indian cinema that people will probably know.”

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