Move over melodrama, because moviemaking in India is becoming a serious affair. Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas pays tribute to alternative Indian cinema this month with a series of eclectic films that lurk on the fringes of the “Bollywood” genre. It’s not all dance numbers and sob stories.
If you can, take some time out tonight to attend the festival opening at SAAM, with a special 7:45pm screening of the 2004 film Meenaxi, directed by the recently deceased “Picasso of India,” M. F. Husain. You’ll also have the chance to chat with Tabu, a popular Bollywood actress who features in critically acclaimed films such as The Namesake and Ang Lee’s upcoming adaptation of Booker Prize–winning novel The Life of Pi.
Camp out at Volunteer Park Amphitheater every Friday night between July 15 and August 5 and enjoy a free movie under the stars. Bring a blanket, a box of tissues (naturally), and an empty stomach on July 22 and 29—I Want Curry Now and Sweet Treats food trucks will be on site.
Here’s the schedule:
Sanjay Leela Bhansali departs from his usual histrionic style with this gritty depiction of a blind and deaf girl’s (Rani Mukherji) struggle to communicate. July 15.
A love story tainted by familial disapproval, this Bollywood blockbuster musical stars former Miss World Aishwarya Rai and boasts a fantastic score by the Oscar–winning music director of Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman. July 22.
Chandni Bar (2001)
Director Madhur Bhandarkar earned his reputation as Bollywood’s anti-establishment filmmaker with this film, starring Tabu as a rural woman forced to become an exotic dancer in Bombay. July 29.
The Namesake (2007)
Award-winning director Mira Nair adapts Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel exploring an Indian-American’s (Kal Penn) effort to understand his immigrant parents (Tabu and Irrfan Khan) and his own identity. Shot in English. August 5.
All outdoor films start at 9:30pm at Volunteer Park Amphitheater. The July 6 events starts with a social hour at 5:30, program at 6:30, and film screening at 7:45pm, all at Seattle Asian Art Museum. Tickets are $10 members, $15 nonmembers.