Tuesday, 22 May 2012

South Asian Cinema Foundation to Honour Shyam Benegal

The South Asian Cinema Foundation is set to honour the work of pioneering Indian filmmaker Shyam Benegal with a series of events in London this June.

Benegal is one of the most prolific screenwriters and directors in India and has often been called the father of the Indian New Wave: a genre which sprang up in the 1960's and 70's as an alternative to mainstream Bollywood.

During its heyday in the early 1970's, Benegal spearheaded the movement with such classics as Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975) and Bhumika (1977).

The underlying socio-political themes of his movies prompted Bollywood to demystify its portrayal of India.
Benegal also paved the way for such acting stalwarts as Shabana Azmi, Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah to shine.

Presented by the South Asian Cinema Foundation in association with BFI Southbank and The Nehru Centre, 'Honouring Shyam Benegal' will include screenings of Bhumika and Junoon, a filmmaking masterclass as well as a lecture on the current state of the Indian New Wave.

For more information, visit http://www.southasiancinema.com/interviews.php
- Poonam Joshi

Programme of Events:

Bhumika (The Role), 1977
143 mins. Hindi & Urdu with EST. PG. Dir: Shyam Benegal. With Smita Patil and Amol Palekar
This powerful exploration of the tragic life of a Bombay studio screen actress was a crowning achievement for actress Smita Patil and a career highlight for this notable director. Screen roles of virtue and self-sacrifice conflict with the reality of domestic violence, adultery and despair as actress Usha tries to break free of the constraints of gender and class. Shot on authentic locations, and using montage as well as colour tinting and contrasting film stock, this is emotionally intense, visual storytelling and a rare insight into the history of Indian cinema itself.
Sat 9 June, 13:30, NFT 1

SACF Excellence in Cinema Award to Shyam Benegal
Benegal will discuss his life and work with film historian and SACF Director Lalit Mohan Joshi & Q&A
The South Asian Cinema Foundation, in partnership with the Nehru Centre, will present him with the SACF Excellence in Cinema Award. Benegal and film historian, filmmaker and SACF director Lalit Mohan Joshi will discuss a rich, enduring career, and the conversation will include clips and an opportunity for the director to take questions from the audience.
Sat 9 June, 16:15, NFT 1

Bhumika Masterclass with Shyam Benegal conducted by Rosie Thomas
Attendees will be able to share the director’s view on the making of this masterpiece.  As a counterpoint to critical or academic perspectives, join this masterclass and share a film director's own insight into the making of this major work. Taking a shot-by-shot look at fragments of Bhumika, director Shyam Benegal will reflect on some of the key creative and practical challenges in the production process of this remarkable film. Attendees of the masterclass should be familiar with Bhumika (screening on Sat 9 June) so that they can fully appreciate this session.
Sun 10 June 13:00 NFT3

Junoon (Obsession), 1978
134 mins. Hindi & Urdu with EST. Dir: Shyam Benegal with Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendal, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Ismat Chugtai, Nafisa Ali
Junoon means 'obsession' in Hindi and this theme underlies this passionate, sensual and violent story, set against the turbulent period of the so-called 'Sepoy mutiny' of 1857. Often considered as the First War of Independence, it is a period that still resonates in India today. Casting star names include Shashi and wife Jennifer Kapoor (née Kendal).  Benegal has adapted Ruskin Bond's A Flight of Pigeons and developed a tale in which an infatuated Pathan soldier interacts with the women of an assimilated colonial family, dividing loyalties and challenging connections between coloniser and colonised.
Sun 10 June 17:45 NFT2

Shyam Benegal to Release Kaal, a New Novel by Sangeeta Bahadur. (By Invitation only)
Mon 11 June 14:30 House of Lords, Committee Room 1

Phalke Memorial Lecture: “New Indian Cinema Circa 2012” by Shyam Benegal
Mon 11 June 18:30 Nehru Centre
Benegal to open SACF’s Shyam Benegal Exhibition curated by Dr Kusum Pant Joshi with Uttara S. Joshi

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