UI events mark 100th anniversary of Indian cinema

URBANA — In observance of the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema, the University of Illinois Library presents "Past, Present, Future: Indian Cinema at 100," a semester-long program of events including screenings of key films, public forums on Indian film and popular culture, and an appearance by filmmaker and activist Onir.

An average of 14 million Indians go to the movies every day. The Mumbai film industry (known by some as "Bollywood") alone produces more than 800 films per year, considerably more than Hollywood.

The UI Library program provides viewers with an opportunity to discover the variety of work that characterizes Indian cinema in a program that includes everything from enduring classics and art house favorites by established auteurs Mehboob Khan, Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, and Mani Ratnam, to new works such as international festival favorite, "Miss Lovely" (2012) by newcomer Ashim Ahluwalia.

The screenings are on Tuesdays throughout the semester in the Knight Auditorium at Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., U. All films are presented in their original languages with English subtitles.

This Tuesday, internationally renowned film scholar Professor Lalitha Gopalan of the University of Texas will be at Spurlock to discuss Ahluwalia's film and to talk about other new developments in contemporary Indian film.

And Thursday, Gopalan will join Professor Sumita Chakravarty of the New School, Professor Ajay Gehlawat of Sonoma State University and Professor Manjunath Pendkur of Florida Atlantic University in a symposium on the history and evolution of Indian cinema and film culture, from 1 to 5 p.m. in Room B02 of the Coordinated Science Laboratory, 1308 W. Main St., U.

After the symposium, filmmaker and activist Onir will present his groundbreaking 2003 feature film, "My Brother...Nikhil," the first Indian feature film to address the issue of AIDS in India. After the screening, Onir and the symposium participants will take part in a panel discussion.

And Friday, Onir will screen his 2010 film, "I Am," a collection of four short works, each of which investigates a specific social issue facing contemporary India. A reception for Onir will start at 6 p.m. in the Spurlock lobby, and a question-and-answer session, hosted by UI Professor Rini Mehta, will take place after the screening.

A full list of films, times and other information is available at http://publish.illinois.edu/pastpresentfuture2013. For more information, contact ppf@library.illinois.edu.

All events are free and open to the public.

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