The Mughals Take ManhattanBy Lavina Melwani • May 1st, 2010 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog
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A Feast of Cinema – and a Real Mughal Feast…
What better way to launch a film series about a rich culture than with a Mughal feast?
Fabulous jewels, opulent palaces, courtesans, high melodrama and a vanishing way of life is what enthralled us in the classic historical movies like ‘Pukar’, ‘Najma’, ‘Mirza Ghalib’, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, and more recently ‘Jodhaa Akbar’.
Hindi cinema has always had a fascination for historic epics, courtesan tales such as ‘Pakeeza’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’, as well as for Muslim social dramas like ‘Garam Hawa’, ‘Mammo’, and ‘Mere Mehboob’ which captured a hidden world and way of life. Now the Film Society of Lincoln Center encapsulates the flavor of those bygone days with a rich cinematic feast worthy of the Mughals.
Social Dramas and Shimmering Spectacles: Muslim Cultures of Bombay Cinema, which is being presented in collaboration with IAAC and the Indian Consulate, brings a cache of Muslim tales to Manhattan, from historical epics to the agony of partition to the Bombay riots. Among them are also old and new classics like ‘Chaudhvin Ka Chand’, ‘Fiza’, ‘Umrao Jaan’ (the new version starring Aishwariya Rai), ‘Sardari Begum’ and ‘Salim Lagde Pe Mat Ro’. These capture the Muslim culture in India through the past to the present.
For fans, it’s a treat to watch such major stars of the Hindi film industry as Madhubala, Dilip Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Meena Kumari, Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman along with the stars of today, of ‘Bollywood’ as the industry is better known to the South Asian diaspora, stars like Hrithik Roshan, Aishwariya Rai, and Saif Ali Khan.
The series of 14 films, curated by Richard Allen and Ira Bhaskar, can be seen at the Lincoln Center from May 19-27. To get you deeper into the topic, there is a fascinating new book, ‘Islamicate Culture of Bombay Cinema’ by Ira Bhaskar and Richard Allen. More details about both can be accessed here
An Invitation from the Mughal Emperor
To help celebrate the launch of the festival and the book, IAAC has organized ‘Mughal Court’ on May 15 at K Lounge in Manhattan, transforming the place with Mughlai food, wine, poetry and ‘mujrewallis’ or courtesans.
“Everyone will come dressed as though they are invited guests at a Mughal Court. Mughlai khana, an open bar, music from films like ‘Pakeezah’, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’ will play all evening, a paan wala will dispense paans from his paan-daan and mujerawallis will entertain the court,” says Aroon Shivdasani of IAAC.
Mughal Court attire is mandatory at this event, ‘in deference to His Majesty the Shahenshah.’ So get ready for a right royal evening!
Details for the Mughal Court party here
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