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Shatranj ke khiladi This colorful period drama about colonialism and indigenous culture is set in 1856 at the court of Wajid Ali Shah in Lucknow, the capital of Oudh. It features two parallel narratives: the first shows the interminable games of chess played by two hookah-smoking zamindars; the other dramatises the conflict between Wajid Ali Shah and General Charles Outram who represents Lord Dalhousie's treacherously implemented annexation policies. Wajid Ali is shown as a politically weak figure who surrenders to the British without a fight.
Awaken to the eternal Nisargadatta's model and example of self-discovery based on turning within in search of the true self as the key to self-knowledge and enlightenment. Clear presentation of the sage's technique and teachings.
Karam in Jaipur This is the third film in renowned ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall's long-term study of childhood and adolescence at the Doon School in northern India. It follows Karam, the main character of the earlier "With Morning Hearts," into the next phase of his life in Jaipur House, one of the five "Main" houses of the school. Revealing the day-to-day ups and downs of a schoolboy's life, the film gives a penetrating insight into Karam's experiences and into the aspirations of the Indian middle class in one of its most characteristic postcolonial institutions.
The new boys This documentary is the fourth film in renowned ethnographic filmmaker David MacDougall's long-term study of childhood and adolescence at the Doon School in northern India. This film focuses on life in a school dormitory. A new group of 12-year-old students is arriving to start their lives at the school. The film follows them from their first day, exploring their emotional and intellectual lives as they experience homesickness, fights, classroom teaching, and the stirrings of group identity. Although these boys are the same age as those in the earlier "With Morning Hearts," the group dynamics captured here are very different from that film.
Unlimited girls Looks at the role of feminism in the lives of urban Indian women: feminists who remember the songs and actions of the Indian women's movement, yuppies who discuss their modern marriage, a policeman writing films for women's upliftment, women shopping at a bra sale, college kids practicing a dance, teachers who feel girls must not take injustice, or break a home; a woman cab driver, a priest, academics, activists, and of course the unseen but much-heard women in the feminist chatroom, all talking of their engagements with feminism and its place in their lives today.
Science for survival Activist and ecologist Vandana Shiva is the leader of a people's movement in India that opposes "reductionist Western science". She argues that the failure of the Green Revolution was due to the fact that women's knowledge of traditional seed varieties was ignored. Shiva is devoting her scientific knowledge to proving that local farming methods, which recognize diversity and complexity in their polycultures, are vital to the survival of the Indian ecosystem. Millions of women, with their managerial, economic and scientific skills, are the backbone of India's rural economy. The film also looks at the work of Dr. Sharadini Dahanukar who has set out to prove that ayurvedic medicine, which relies heavily on women's knowledge of plants and herbs, has scientific validity. Also the fil [...]
Shakti Taking inspiration from the spiritual concept of Shakti, the Great Mother or supreme female deity of the Hindu religion, this program celebrates the power of women to drive social and economic change in India. Female-centric activism propels an organization that combats the practice of child marriage, and another which has created a banking system for the poor. The video also examines a renowned scientist who promotes eco-feminism and a married couple fighting for the rights of the traditionally shunned Dalit caste. These stories support the idea that Shakti is a phenomenon to be reckoned with-a source of creative energy for cultural transformation.
Cinema Asia While northern India's 100-year-old film industry is best known for flamboyant dance sequences and romantic plot lines, its directors have begun to step outside established formulas and explore grittier subject matter. This program surveys the world of Bollywood filmmaking, examining the personalities as well as the commercial and thematic concerns that drive central Asia's answer to Tinseltown. Interviews with directors Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowariker, and Yash Chopra are included, along with commentary from choreographers, musical directors, and Cinemaya Magazine editor Aruna Vasudev. The industry's newfound attention to poverty, homelessness, and other social concerns is examined. Several film excerpts are included.
Larger than life This program travels extensively through the colorful landscape of Indian cinema, providing insightful contrasts and comparisons to the film industry most Westerners know. Interviews with Shah Rukh Khan, India's rugged action hero, and Manisha Koirala, a top female star, examine the unusual pressures of Indian film acting. Sensuality without sex, the brevity of female stardom, and the premium placed on fantasy and escape are some of the issues discussed. For an exploration of "the other Hollywood"-vastly different from, yet surprisingly similar to, America's-Larger Than Life promises an unequalled itinerary.