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Beyond Bollywood: Last film in India series airs today

The University of Toronto Scarborough and the Humanities Centre are presenting a different perspective on South Asian films beyond Bollywood.

Film South Asia is a festival of cutting-edge films from India which document the dreams, struggles and lives of ordinary people. It started last Wednesday and continues on selected Wednesdays, from 5 to 7 p.m. The screenings of the four featured films are being hosted by U of T Scarborough history professor Jayeeta Sharma.

“Bollywood films are fun, but they don’t need us to promote them. It is important to highlight the new, educated filmmakers of places like India and Bangladesh that are rising up to show another side to Indian culture,” says Sharma. “These are contemporary, award-winning documentaries made by independent filmmakers about issues like the environment and feminism, which are just as relevant in Canada, but seen through the perspective of South Asians. The films show how the people are not waiting for a savior from outside to come and help, but are persevering and creating change from the inside.”

The films, which were obtained directly from the filmmakers, will be made available through the University of Toronto Scarborough library after the screening to students and instructors interested in South Asian contemporary issues and film studies.

The final film in the series will be shown today:

March 21, AA112 Kumar Talkies

(Pankaj Rishi Kumar, 2002: 76 mins) Cinema's transformative role in the lives of a small town and its people.

Previous films shown this term have included:

January 31, AA112Words On Water

(Sanjay Kak, 2004: 85 mins) Indigenous people struggle against environmental destruction & the Narmada dams.

February 7, AA112 The Play Goes On

(Lalit Vachani, 2005: 84 mins) Janam, a people's theatre group, has performed over 75,000 times at factories, streets and stages.

March 7, MW170 Unlimited Girls

(Paromita Vohra: 94 mins) Feminism and its many definitions in contemporary urban India: women speak out.

Visit for details on these and other events on campus.

Swetha Chirravur is a fourth-year student in English and economics. She is currently serving as a work-study student in Marketing & Communications.

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