Bollywood movies dominate at ZIFF

India, one of the countries of focus besides Poland at this year’s ZIFF whose theme is Animated Realty, has a good selection of films.

This is in line with its continued support to cultural relations between Zimbabwe and India.

His Excellency the Ambassador of India to Zimbabwe, Mr Ajit Kumar presented the acclaimed film Paheli during the Opening Night ceremony.

He is also expected to give a brief background of the film as well as Bollywood in general.

“We are not running for Hollywood but it is an alternative to tell our own stories. With a population of more than a billion, we have the largest number of tickets sold because film is one of the major forms of entertainment in India.

“For over six decades, Indian films have been popular in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In recent times, thanks to the large Indian Diasporic audience in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and South Africa,” he said.

He said Indian films were released simultaneously in some Western countries and South Africa and made millions of US dollars.

According to a BBC online poll, the best actor of the 20th century cinema is an Indian actor named Amitabh Bachchan.

There are reports that today, Bachchan is mobbed whether he is in Cairo or Kuala Lumpur and remains a favourite star.

Directed by Amol Palekar, Paheli stars two great actors – Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan as well as Rani Mukherjee, Juhi Chawla, Anupam Kher, Dilip Prabhavalkar and Rajpal Yadav.

It is based on a story of a lovely girl Lachci (Rani Mukherji) who was married to a man interested only in making money. There was a ghost (Shahrukh Khan) who fell madly in love with her. On the wedding night itself, the husband left home for five years as a result of his business.

The ghost assumes the role of her husband and enteres her life. Later, when the husband returns home the villagers as well as the relatives are bewildered.

How this situation gets resolved is what is known as “Paheli” (riddle). It shows the dilemma of the girl who had to choose between the ghost’s eternal love and her husband’s insensitive monotone.

Other Bollywood films are Baghban directed by Ravi Chopra showing on September 2 at 8.30pm at Vistarama,

Raj Malhotra and his wife Pooja have successfully raised four sons who are now nicely settled in their respective professions. Their lives are filled with love and prosperity and all this has been possible because Raj has invested all his income including his provident fund in his children who, according to him, are his assets to secure his future.

But when he retires, life suddenly changes. None of his sons are ready to take care of their parents.

There is also Ghulam directed by Vikram a film about an orphaned, uneducated son of a former neighbourhood boxing champion, Sidu who was raised by his loving and caring older brother who works for the local Don, keeping his accounts and organising his plans.

When Sidu falls in love with a local rich girl, his life begins to change. His sweetheart’s brother encourages him to work hard and to fight injustice and oppression, but is later murdered by the Don for getting in the way of his plans.

This sets him in a collision course with the Don and his brother.

Bhatt Perumazhakkalam (Malayalam) and a film called Girni (Marathi) will also be screened during the festival.

Every year, Bollywood holds the India Film Academy Awards in the world’s major cities. Last year the awards were held in Kuala Lumpur. Movies are the most popular forms of entertainment.

Much of the commercial cinema revolves around social dramas and thrillers with many songs and dance sequences thrown in.

From its beginning in the silent era of movies, the popular film industry of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), which is popularly known as Bollywood, has come a long way.

The cinema industry takes a serious look at the Indian society and there has been a widespread recognition of Indian artists and directors at film festivals in different parts of the world.

September 2006
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