‘University of New Castle to celebrate 101 years of Indian Cinema’

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 To celebrate 101 years of Indian cinema, especially Bollywood and its reach in the world, the School of Design, Communication and IT, University of Newcastle, NSW is organizing a two days event – Bollywood 101 Film Festival on February 20 at the Tower Cinema and Bollywood and Its Other(s) conference on February 21 at the TV Studio, ICT Building, DCITT, University of Newcastle, Callaghan.

The film festival and conference is convened by Dr Vikrant Kishore (University of Newcastle), Dr Susan Kerrigan (University of Newcastle), and Dr Amit Sarwal (Deakin University) with Mr Parichay Patra (Monash University) as the coordinator.

 On 3 May 1913, Dadasaheb Phalke presented to India its first silent film, Raja Harishchandra. He proved that film-making can be both aesthetically satisfying and a lucrative business in India, which is expected to grow to US$ 3 billion by 2014.

 According to Dr Vikrant Kishore this Film Festival and the Conference will trace the various “other(s)” of Bollywood.

 He says that  Bollywood as a globalized culture industry has successfully transcended the confines of India, urging scholars to discuss its global histories.

 Dr Susan Kerrigan, President of the Australian Screen Production Education Research Association (ASPERA), and the symposium’s co-convenor, feels that the symposium with academic and practitioners as presenters will help Australian community know more about the key issues in Bollywood.

 She is confident that University of Newcastle can play an important role in “highlighting bringing such academic interventions to re-evaluate Australian-Indian film connections.”

 Dr Amit Sarwal, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation (Deakin University) and co-convenor of this event, strongly believes that Bollywood, with aesthetics of its own, is a veritable storehouse of material that can be read in as many ways as possible.

 While Parichay Patra, doctoral candidate at Monash University and coordinator of the conference, considers that while the history of the industry before the widely debated economic liberalization was that of an ongoing confrontation with the state, it has become a part of Indian state’s cultural diplomacy after the liberalization.

 He says that this  conference will challenge this normative mode, bringing out the ruptures prevalent in the mainstream history, of cinema as well as of the state.

Bollywood 101 Film Festival will feature three short films/documentaries.  I Am Megha, a 2011 Indian anthology film by Onir (presented by Raj Suri), Dancing to the Tunes of Bollywood – a documentary by Dr Vikrant Kishore which explores the use of  Song and Dance in Bollywood films and Indian Aussies: Terms & Conditions Apply – a short documentary by well-known filmmaker Anupam Sharma.

 The highlight of this evening would be Raajneeti (Politics), a 2010 Indian political thriller directed and produced by Prakash Jha, which stars Ajay Devgan, Nana Patekar, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee and Naseeruddin Shah in the lead roles. The film is being screened courtesy Prakash Jha Productions and Screen Hunter Central Coast.

According to the conveners, the conference on February 21, will concern itself with the possibility of writing alternative histories of the film industry – Bollywood.

Other prominent presenters include Arun Kumar Goel ( Consul General of India in Sydney);  Anupam Sharma (a film maker, author, and one of the leading Australian international experts on Indian cinema), John Winter (an Australian film and television writer, director and producer); Kumud Merani (Executive Producer of Hindi Programs with SBS Radio), Raj Suri (a Sydney based professional photographer, media producer and talent spotter);  Alex Singh (a Bollywood and Melbourne based filmmaker, theatre director, writer, actor and community worker),  Anita Barar (an accomplished writer, playwright, and poet in both Hindi & English), Christopher Raja (a national award-winning writer), Rohit Revo (Editor of online portal indianherald.com.au), Savitri Naidoo (Founder and Artistic Director of Chakras Performing Arts Australia), Shveata Chandel Singh (a Sydney based journalist) and Yash Desai (a filmmaker, photographer and writer). These practitioners from the media industry would be joined by senior and early career academicians from both Australia and India in presentations and panel discussions on finding find ways to work on combined film ventures between the two countries.

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