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David Chute

IFFLA centerpiece Harishchandrachi Factory

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles: the 2 Percent Solution

A title card at the end of Paresh Mokashi's Harishchandrachi Factory, India's Oscar submission for 2009 and a centerpiece of the Eighth Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, states the nation's claim to an output of more than 900 films a year. IFFLA is a jewel of a festival, one......
Sita Sings the Blues

IFFLA: Bollywood in Black and Blue

Priyas Gupta’s visually impeccable Siddharth: The Prisoner hitches a disquisition on urban angst to that most moth-eaten of noir conceits, the old “switched bag” trick, as an ex-con novelist’s precious comeback manuscript changes places with an identical briefcase full of mob money. Within minutes, the movie, which screens at the......
Das directs on the Firaaq set

Parallel Visions: Bollywood Meets Indian Indies at 7th Annual Festival

Every great film festival is like the fabled elephant being pawed by blind men, each of whom describes it differently. This year’s Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, the seventh since 2002, feels especially elephantine, if not literally (25 short and feature programs over six days), then certainly in its......
Monk from another motherland; Credit: Sheena Sippy

Bollywood Goes East — Far East — for Chandni Chowk to China

One of the most persistent legends about the Chinese martial arts is that their world-famous crowning glory, shaolin kwan (Shaolin temple boxing), was actually invented by a visitor from India. Admittedly, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the story began to get around that in the mid-500s C.E., during......

Mumb-ai Chihuahua

It feels like the perfect time to be writing about Bollywood. Hardly a week goes by without some brazen new act of synergy being committed, like the news that DreamWorks SKG is getting bankrolled by the Indian company Reliance-ADA. There are some worrying indications for the future of this rapprochement,......
Amal; Credit: Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

Bollywood Comes to Hollywood for Sixth Annual IFFLA

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (Click to enlarge) Amal Richie Mehta’s gorgeously realized Amal, a Canadian indie filmed in the teeming streets and elite suites of Delhi, makes perfect sense as the opening-night presentation at the sixth annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). An impeccably crafted urban......

Bollywood Bohème

I’ve long thought that the opera crowd could provide fertile soil for raising Bollywood consciousness in the United States, and of all the current A-list Mumbai directors, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has the most fulsome operatic temperament. There were sequences in his 2002 Devdas that played like long-lost snippets of Verdi,......
Mr. India

Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

India’s commercial Bollywood movie industry is the only foreign cinema that still has a flourishing theatrical presence in the U.S. But like all popular screening circuits, this one categorically excludes certain kinds of material. The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, which kicks off its fifth season on Tuesday, aims......
Its all in the beard. (Eros International)

Bloody Royals

{mosimage} The first good sign is Amitabh Bachchan’s real beard. As the eponymous royal bodyguard in writer-director Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya: The Royal Guard, a battered human relic whose ancestors have protected the same family of Rajisthani kings (or Ranas) for nine generations, the most popular movie actor in the......
Gong climbs the palace steps before her pollen allergies get the better of her. (Bai Xiaoyan / Sony PicturesClassics)

Curse of the Golden Flower: Too Many Flowers, Not Enough Power

It’s a safe bet that most of the people who snickered through the screening I attended of Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower had never seen a grand opera performance. Even that frame of reference might not have been enough to make them love the movie: All told, Zhang’s......