17-23 April 2020

Festivals & Events

HIFF Blog

October 30, 2019

The Infinite Charm of Indian Cinema

Kanani Lyons writes on this year’s SPOTLIGHT ON INDIA which presents three films that showcase the creative capacity of modern Bollywood, an industry traditionally known for producing films of lurid colors, cultural dances, and beautiful songs despite the varying genres and subtler films. These three films showcase the evolved art-form that combines the charm of Bollywood films and the simplicity of every-day life and human emotion -- ultimately colliding style and story.

AADHAAR starts as a comedy but, as the story progresses, it turns into an absurdist social drama. 

The Indian film industry is one of the largest in the world, garnering ardent followers from every corner of the earth. While varying in style, genre, and profit, Bollywood films are commercially known for exaggerated camera movements, dramatic plot points, cultural dances, colorful set-designs, magnificent voices, and captivating ethnic songs. Internationally and locally, Bollywood style films have been imprinted on the minds of audiences so that subtler films have become disassociated with the mainstream over-the-top style of filmmaking. The Festival has bypassed the usual Bollywood fare in its annual SPOTLIGHT ON INDIA, and instead, programmed three films that are more character studies-from humanist to satirical, with one in full blown, traditional animation, capturing visceral human emotions with the shudder of a lens. 

AADHAAR: After Pharsua registers for an aadhaar (resident I.D. card), he learns that his number is cursed. Tirelessly attempting to change his I.D. number, Pharsua embarks on a Kafkaesque journey that surfaces issues of violence in society as well as inhumane government systems.

BOMBAY ROSE: The rough and tough streets of Bombay challenge multiple characters in BOMBAY ROSE. Kamala works as a garland seller and a nightclub dancer, hoping to feed her family. In her struggle to survive the booming urban sprawl, she falls in love with a muslim boy named Salim who has to contend with his own set of issues. Combining hand painted techniques and modern graphics, the frenetic streets of Bombay come alive in this feature length animated film.

THE LAST COLOR: Chhoti is a nine-year-old tightrope walker and flower seller. One day, she decides to help a widow alter class and gender barriers in their society. Inspired by the history of Holi, where the people splash color on one another as a symbol of freedom and rebirth, this friendship transcends societal rules and showcases the bountiful human spirit as more powerful than dated laws. 

View the entire SPOTLIGHT ON INDIA section. 


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