Films

Friday, September 11, 2015 | 7:00 pm

SIDDHARTH (2013)

Language: Hindi
Time: 82 mins
Directed by Richie Mehta who will be present, via Skype, for the panel discussion.

A working class father searches for his 12 year old son, who has failed to return after he had been sent to work in another town. This poignant film takes us along on a bewildered father’s encounters with unscrupulous employers, rude and unsympathetic police and the underbelly of Indian slums with street children managing on their own. The film reminds us of “Bicycle Thieves”, Vittorio De Sica’s classic masterpiece of Italian Neorealist cinema.

“Siddharth” will be preceded by a short introduction on two exhibitions by South Asian artists, at Concordia University’s FOFA Gallery at 1515 Ste-Catherine St. West. EV 1.715. (September 8 to October 23, 2015)
1) Nikhil Chopra’s new site-specific work, La Perle Noire, will involve a durational performance in Montreal’s Jarry Park from Sept 18-20, with an accompanying exhibition in FOFA Gallery’s Main Space. The Goa-based artist is known throughout the world for his performances which bridge theatre, painting, performance, live arts and drawings. This is his first Canadian exhibition
2) Multi-disciplinary artist, Aanchal Malhotra’s exhibition on Remnants of a Separation is a photographic study into objects that refugees brought with them when they fled their homes on either side of the India-Pakistan border during the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Saturday, September 12, 2015 | 7:00 pm

THE BOY MIR (2011)

Language: Hazargi
Time: 94 mins
Documentary by Phil Grabsky.

This film tracks the irrepressible and lovable Afghani boy, Mir, from a naïve 8-year-old to a young adult. Not only is it a journey that follows Mir into early adulthood in one of the toughest places on earth, but it mirrors and unveils the vitally important story of modern Afghanistan.

Saturday, September 12, 2015 | 7:00 pm

THE PAKISTAN FOUR (2014)

Languages: Urdu and English
Time: 36 mins
Documentary by Shehzad Hameed Ahmad.

From the strict traditional setting of the rural Hazara tribe (where Grabsky had to be careful about focusing the camera on women) the second film of the evening introduces us to the lives of second generation Pakistani-American women pursuing alternative careers-away from the mainstream of business, engineering, medicine etc.

Sunday, September 13, 2015 | 1:00 pm

GANESH, BOY WONDER (2009)

Languages: Telugu and English
Time: 75 mins
Documentary by Srinivas Krishna who will be present, via Skype, for the panel discussion.

Named after Lord Ganesh, this young boy deals with a progressively enlarging and deforming nose, due to a growing tumour. The film follows him and his parents as they attempt to get medical help, while they eke out a meagre existence.
In a 2002 British Film Institute online poll Srinivas Krishna’s 1992 film “Masala” was voted the best film of all time made by a diaspora Indian. Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” was voted the best Indian film ever.

Sunday, September 13, 2015 | 1:00 pm

ZEN (2014)

Languages: Urdu and English
Time: 19 mins
Documentary by Arshad Khan.

A Sikh husband and his Muslim wife bravely deal with grave neurological abnormalities of their son, resulting from hypoxia at birth. The couple also faces continued estrangement from the wife’s parents, who had objected to their marriage.

Friday, October 2, 2015 | 7:00 pm

KURMAVATARA (“The tortoise- an incarnation”) (2012)

Language: Kannada
Time: 120 mins
By Girish Kasaravalli.

When the principal actor dies suddenly, an un-ambitious civil servant is persuaded to accept the role of Gandhi in a television serial because of his physical resemblance to the legendary leader. In the process of inhabiting the character he begins to review and question his own conduct in life. Is it possible to live up to Gandhi’s ideals while resisting pressures from his family and other parties who want to take advantage of his growing fame? The title of the film draws upon the mythology of Lord Vishnu’s tortoise avatar as a metaphor for the immense backbreaking stress that great responsibility brings even for the strongest among us.

Saturday, October 3 2015 | 7:00 pm

MARGARITA, WITH A STRAW (2012)

Languages: Hindi and English
Time: 100 mins
By Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar.

Laila is a spunky, talented teenager from a middle class Delhi family. She was born with cerebral palsy. Her speech is distorted and she is wheelchair bound. Laila’s heart is broken in Delhi University and her mother enables her to transfer to New York University, where she meets a feisty young woman, Khanum, and the “chilled out dude”, Jared. Always curious about sexuality Laila never dreamed she would actually experience it! At the end of the semester, Laila and Khanum go home to India. Secrets and lies surround everyone until events force a path of honesty and courage for all.

Sunday, October 4, 2015 | 1:00 pm

APUR PANCHALI (2013)

Language: Bengali
Time: 104 mins
By Kaushik Ganguly. The director of the previous evening’s film, Shonali Bose, of Bengali origin herself, will participate in the panel discussion.

This fiction film is inspired by the life of Subir Banerjee, the child actor who played the iconic role of Apu in Satyajit Ray’s 1955 masterpiece, “Pather Panchali”. In an interesting turn of events, Banerjee’s real life started bearing a somewhat uncanny resemblance to the ‘reel” life of the character, Apu. He didn’t act in any other film and, with age, became a recluse. In ‘Apur Panchali’ a young film school student, Arka, is sent to persuade the reclusive Banerjee to attend a German film festival and accept the award of the “Best child actor of all time”. Gradually, Arka breaks through Banerjee’s resistance and draws him out to reminisce about the important events of his youth and adult life. Can a new bond be formed between the older Bannerjee and the young student, similar to that of the adult Apu with the son he had abandoned, in “Apur Sansar” (The World of Apu)?