Parallels: Indian New Cinema (1965-1981)

  • April 26, 2024 | Friday
  • Oldham Theatre
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About the programme

Asian Film Archive presents Parallels, a curated programme of 7 Indian classics made between 1965-1981. Rarely-seen in Southeast Asia, these films are now being presented in new 2K and 4K restorations!

Following from the post-war cinema of pioneering auteurs such as Satyajit Ray, a fervent new generation of cineastes developed in the subcontinent during the late-60s and early-70s. Tapping into a dynamic toolbox of approaches from documentary and avant-garde, to narrative cinema, they tackled challenging topics such as caste oppression, gender inequality and historical trauma. Poetically expressive and artistically rebellious, these works are situated within an alternate canon of moving image-making in the region. Contested and revered in equal measure, Parallel Cinema, New Cinema, New Wave were just some of the many labels that were given to this multifarious movement.

Containing an expansive range of themes, genres, and cultural identities the selection reflects the plurality of India’s evolving modernisms of the time. From the social realist dramas of Shyam Benegal’s Smita Patel-starrer Bhumika and trailblazing woman director Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane, Mani Kaul’s metaphysical romance Duvidha and Mrinal Sen’s playfully comedic Bhuvan Shome, this showcase also features legendary Bengali visionary Ritwik Ghatak’s post-Partition tragedy Subarnarekha. Bringing in dynamic narratives from the nation’s Southern regions are the documentary-style circus film Thamp̄ by Malayalee filmmaker Govindan Aravindan and John Abraham’s Tamil-language satire Donkey In a Brahmin Village.

Through formal experimentation and socio-political rootedness, these films collectively sought new, divergent pathways from the predictable formulas of mainstream industries of cinema. These emergent parallel lines of the past thus paved the way for India’s ecstatic cinematic futures.

– Viknesh Kobinathan, Programmer

Film Lineup

Thamp̄ (തമ്പ് / The Circus Tent) (1978, Govindan Aravindan)
Bhuvan Shome (भुवन सोम / Mr. Shome) (1969, Mrinal Sen)
Donkey in a Brahmin Village (அக்ரகாரத்தில் கழுதை / Agraharathil Kazhuthai) (1977, John Abraham)
36 Chowringhee Lane (1981, Aparna Sen)
Bhumika (भूमिका / The Role) (1977, Shyam Benegal)
Duvidha (दुविधा / The Dilemma) (1973, Mani Kaul)
Subarnarekha ( সুবর্ণরেখা / The Golden Thread) (1965, Ritwik Ghatak)



This programme is kindly supported by the National Film Development Corporation of India and the National Film Archive of India.

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Oldham Theatre’s opening hours

Important Notice:
Do note that Oldham Theatre operates on a free seating arrangement. Doors will open 20 minutes before showtime so arrive early to choose a seat and avoid disrupting the screenings as AFA does not play ads and screenings will start promptly.
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