India on Film – Screenings of rarely seen cinema classics at MAC

Our partners at Midlands Arts Centre are celebrating rarely-seen classics of Indian cinema this month, by screening films of historical, political and cultural importance, including some of the most influential moments in Indian cinematic history.

You can see the list of films below, click through for more details on MAC’s website.

Britain On Film: South Asian Britain
Friday 15 September, 5.30pm

In the 70th anniversary year of Partition and Indian Independence, explore the history of Britain’s South Asian population with our latest Britain on Film programme weaving together archive footage from across the UK throughout the 20th century.

See an unusually early study of London’s multiculturalism in 1924, as well as a festival at Britain’s first mosque and Indian regiments being mobilised for the Second World War. Visit 1959 Indian Independence celebrations in Leicester, a beautiful Sikh wedding, and Asian fashion and jewellery workshops, with a discussion of the changing role of traditional dress. Learn about the hostility faced by Bangladeshi migrants to ‘70s East End and the heartbreak of family estrangements due to immigration policies.  Watch as second generation youth in the 1980s explore the roots of their culture in music and dance, alongside deeper questions of what it means to be a young British Asian.

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Hotel Salvation (PG)

A film based on relationships and family written and directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani and produced by Sanjay Bhutiani. The film stars Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl in the lead roles. Faced with his father’s untimely and bizarre demand to go and die in the holy city of Varanasi and attain Salvation, a son is left with no choice but to embark on this journey.


India In A Day

Powered by Google, India In A Day is a new form of non-fiction film making that uses footage shot by millions of people in India on one single day to assemble a lyrical portrait of modern India. (Part of the wider India on Film season in partnership with Flatpack: Assemble).

More information at

The Clay Bird (PG)

The masterpiece of Bangladeshi director, producer, screenwriter and lyricist Tareque Masud (who was tragically killed in an accident in 2011), The Clay Bird won the FIPRESCI Prize in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2002 and was the first Bangladeshi film to compete for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, despite being initially banned in its home country.

Inveighing against religious extremism, it is also a humane and affecting film with an empathetic eye for the innocence of childhood, a quiet wisdom and a wry sense of comedy; all beautifully backed by imagery of life on Bangladesh’s waterways and in its towns.


The Music Room (U)
Friday 6 October, 5.15pm

Produced between the final two parts of Satyajit Ray’s celebrated Apu trilogy, The Music Room depicts a changing India, its society in flux with long-held privilege in decline and threatened by new wealth. Set in the late ’20s, it follows decadent Bengali zamindar (landlord) Biswambhar Roy (the beloved Chabi Biswas), an otherworldly man who prefers spending time listening to music and dreaming of the past. His greatest joy is the music room in his now dilapidated mansion, a shadow of its former self.

A defining work by Ray and perhaps his most evocative film, it is magnificently beautiful and filled with observant detail.


The Cloud Capped Star (PG)
Thursday 12 October, 2pm

An undisputed arthouse classic that introduced a new vision of Indian cinema to the world. Writer/director Ritwik Ghatak’s story of a post-partition Bengali family is a dark melodrama, full of expressionistic beauty and showing a rare empathy for its female characters. A visually sublime, provocative and deeply personal account of poverty and exile, The Cloud-Capped Star is a bitter critique of the harsh social and economic conditions arising from Partition.


Pyaasa (U)
Sunday 15 October, 2pm

Guru Dutt’s soulful, romantic masterpiece Pyaasa is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time. Made in 1957, the same year as Mehboob Khan’s Mother India, it was part of Hindi cinema’s golden age.

Translating as ‘The Thirsty One’, Pyaasa, set in post-independence Kolkata (then Calcutta), tells of a young poet’s ambition. Vijay (Dutt) is unemployed and striving to become a published poet, but his efforts are initially only appreciated by his loyal mother, his girlfriend (Mala Sinha), his comic pal, masseuse Abdul (Johnny Walker) and a young prostitute he befriends, Gulab (played by then rising star Waheeda Rehman). But after he is mistakenly believed killed in an accident and his reputation instantly soars, he sees that success may hang only on a twist of fate.


The India on Film tour is part of the wider celebrations for UK-India 2017 led by the British Council.

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