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10th Annual Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council
Film Festival

Walter Reade Theater
165 W 65th Street, New York City

November 11-18

Co - Presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center
Supported by Manya Patil Seth and the Smita Patil Foundation.
Together with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, MIAAC is delighted to offer this tribute to one of Indian cinema's brightest stars, Smita Patil. Born in 1955, she entered the cinema through her work in several audacious, influential films by Shyam Benegal. SoonSmita Patil Sidebar, an emerging generation of independent, ambitious Indian filmmakers-Ketan Mehta, G. Aravindan, Mrinal Sen, Kumar Shahani, Saeed Mirza-adopted Smita as their muse. She also worked in several "Bollywood" productions, appearing with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, and Shashi Kapoor, but her heart was always with the New Wave. Intelligent, beautiful and engaged with a wide array of social issues, Smita embodied a new and hopeful spirit in Indian cinema. Her tragic death in 1986 robbed the cinema of a great, great actress as well as an icon of courage and progress.
Select film screenings also include pre- or post-screening discussions with cast and crew (noted below). In addition to this film series, there will also be an exhibit in the Furman Gallery on Smita organized by her sister, Manya.
Save with a Three-Film Pass!
$27 General Public/ $21 Students & Seniors / $18 Film Society Members

Single Screening Tickets (Click on movie times below to purchase tickets)
$12 General Public/ $9 Students/ $8 Seniors/ $7 Film Society Members

Save before 6pm Monday through Friday!
$9 General Public/ $7 Students/ $6 Seniors/ $5 Film Society Members

G. Aravindan, India, 1985; 103m
Named after the famed temple town in South India, Chidambaram tells the story of a farm laborer who kills himself after he finds his wife Shivakami (Smita Patil) in the arms of Shankaran, an office superintendent of the farm. Wracked with guilt, Shankaran leaves the farm and takes to drink, and eventually turns to spirituality. Finally he reaches the Chidambaram, where he meets the last person he ever expected to find there. Based on a short story by noted Malayalam writer C. V. Shriraman. With Bharath Gopi, Sreenivasan, and Mohan Das.
Sun Nov 14: 3:00
Wed Nov 17: 3:45
Thu Nov 18: 8:45

Shyam Benegal, India, 1976; 134m
Smita Patil plays Bindu, an "Untouchable" peasant girl, opposite Girish Karnad as a young veterinary surgeon who comes to a village to set up a dairy cooperative. His arrival upsets not just the middlemen, who had been exploiting the villagers, but also challenges the traditional feudal structure of the village, soon sparking an uprising among the local Untouchables. Based on a true story of a milk cooperative that led to an economic revolution in rural Gujarat, the film was financed by 500,000 members of a farming cooperative, each of whom donated one or two rupees to assure the film would be made. With Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Naseeruddin Shah, and Mohan Agashe.
Thu Nov 11: 3:40
Tue Nov 16: 6:15

Satyajit Ray, India, 1981; 52m

In one of only two Satyajit Ray films he did not make in his native Bengali, a rich landowner hires an Untouchable to do some odd jobs for him. The man orders the peasant to chop up a large tree trunk with an axe. Working under a burning Indian sun, the hungry and malnourished man collapses and dies, and his corpse lies untouched on the road in the village. Under cover of night, the landowner finds he has to drag the corpse that no one will touch to its cremation ground. With Smita Patil, Om Puri, and Mohan Agashe.
Screening With:

SHARP NOTE (Teevra Madhyam)

Arun Khopkar, India, 1974; 21m

In her screen debut-a short film made by Arun Khopkar as a diploma film at the Film and Television Institute of India-Smita Patil plays Shama, a lover of classical music who married a Marxist. When a strike compels her husband to work full-time for the Party, Shama must decide if she will give up her music and join him. With Ketan Mehta and Vikram Sahu.
Sat Nov 13: 5:15 - with post-screening discussion : A conversation with actor Mohan Agashe, led by Asseem Chabra
Thu Nov 18: 1:30

A FOLK TALE (Bhavni Bhavai)
Ketan Mehta, 1980, India; 135m
Ketan Mehta made his assured debut film, bringing in traditional Indian performance of bhavai with a nod to Bertolt Brecht and Goscinny along the way. A group of Untouchables pause for a night on the way to a drought-stricken city, and begin to tell a story. Many years earlier, a king declared he would sacrifice an Untouchable so that the gods would fill his well. Combining traditional folk idioms with documentary footage from India's freedom movement, A Folk Tale weaves India's past and present together with powerful references to contemporary events such as caste riots in modern India. With Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, and Om Puri.
Fri Nov 12: 1:00 - with pre-screening discussion : A conversation with director Ketan Mehta, led by Richard Pena
Sat Nov 13: 9:15
Bhavni Bhavai

Ram Sethi, 1983, India; 163m
Although a veritable icon of independent, "new wave" cinema, Smita Patil did work a few times in major Bollywood productions, such as this delightful confection. A king promises Vikram, his commander, that he will be treated like his son if he will marry into the royal family and obey the Queen's every wish. The Queen arranges for him to marry a princess, unaware that Vikram was already in love with and had fathered a daughter with Kesarbai, a beautiful dancing courtesan, played by Smita Patil. Upon discovering this, the Queen banishes Kesarbai. But fate takes some wondrous turns in this musical period delight that also stars the great Indian actor Shashi Kapoor as the handsome Vikram and Waheeda Rehman as the domineering Queen.
Fri Nov 12: 3:40
Sun Nov 14: 12:00

IN SEARCH OF FAMINE (Akaler Sandhane)
Mrinal Sen, India, 1980; 115m
Widely considered to be Mrinal Sen's masterpiece, this bold and self-critical work follows a film unit on location in a distant Bengali village. After settling into a regally crumbling mansion, they begin work on their film: a fictional reconstruction of the horrors of the man-made 1943 Bengal famine. As the unit grapples with trying to replace the lead actress with a village woman, history resurfaces in unsettling ways. Descendants of the survivors of the famine emerge, fearful of the intentions of this new group of outsiders. With Smita Patil, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Sreela Majumdar, Gita Sen, and Rajen Tarafdar.
Fri Nov 12: 6:40
Tue Nov 16: 2:00
IN SEARCH OF FAMINE (Akaler Sandhane)

Mahesh Bhatt, India, 1982; 138m
Two of Indian cinema's greatest actresses each turn in powerful, assured performances in this blistering melodrama. Shabana Azmi is the insecure Pooja, who loses her husband and the home she has dreamt of to the glamorous film actress Kavita, played by Smita Patil. Deserted by her husband, Pooja chooses to leave for a single working women's hostel to start life anew, while Kavita's passionate affair begins to cool. Fate will bring their lives together and then separate them again, as each woman struggles to free herself from the domination of men. But even as the beautiful Kavita becomes unstable and a new man courts Pooja, each women has to decide on their lives without men. With Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Raj Kiran, Rohini Hattangadi, and Dina Pathak.
Thu Nov 11: 1:00
Fri Nov 12: 9:00


THE ROLE (Bhumika)
Shyam Benegal, 1977, India; 140m
One of Smita Patil's best-loved performances was as Usha in Shyam Benegal's masterful film based on the memoirs of the Marathi actress, Hansa Wadkar. Usha tears free from a stifling marriage to a man who becomes her manager and seeks control of her life even as she moves into unsatisfying liaisons with a self-centered film director and a domineering married man. Benegal's masterpiece recreates and interprets the roles of an Indian actress, with references to popular cinema and earlier performance genres. With Amol Palekar, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Anant Nag, and Dina Pathak.
Thu Nov 11: 7:00
Wed Nov 17: 1:00
Thu Nov 18: 6:00

SPICES (Mirch Masala)
Ketan Mehta, 1986, India; 98m

Arriving in a small village to collect taxes, a soldier catches sight of a beautiful but married woman, Sonbai (Smita Patil). The soldier makes no secret of his intentions, forcing Sonbai and other women take refuge in the village spice factory. Stung by her defiance, the soldier and his men threaten to destroy the town unless the factory watchman and the terrified village men hand Sonbai over to them. Set during the time of the Raj, director Ketan Mehta delivers a socially alert and stirring drama that turns on a captivating performance by Smita Patil, who is ably aided by Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, and Deepti Naval.

Sat Nov 13: 7:00 - with pre-screening discussion : A conversation with director Ketan Mehta, led by Richard Pena
Tue Nov 16: 4:15
Mirch Masala

THRESHOLD (Umbartha)
Jabbar Patel, India, 1982; 151m

Against the disapproval of her family, Savitri seeks out a career as a social worker at an institute for troubled and abused women. Forced to balance the demands of her work, local businessmen, and politicians, Savitri nevertheless gradually gains the trust and respect of her charges and co-workers. But when she is blamed for the death of two inmates, Savitri has to choose whether to fight the charges or return in shame to a family of virtual strangers. Smita Patil as Savitri plays a woman refusing to accept the limits thrust upon her by a patriarchical if outwardly progressive society. With Girish Karnad.

Tue Nov 16: 8:50
Thu Nov 18: 3:10

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