Century of Cinema – A Past with a Future…

Tarika Agarwal discusses the past, present and future of Indian Cinema

Mumbai: 100 years of Indian cinema in India, and today we face the question of what the future holds for us. The ‘Century of Cinema’ exhibition at the Goethe-Institute Mumbai was a celebratory collaboration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of making films in India. It gave us a chance to look back on the wonderful years of Indian cinema through a poster exhibition, series of panel discussions and audio-video and live music presentations.

The exhibition was curated by Mumbai film theorist and writer Narendra Panjwani. There was a range of 40-50 original hand-painted film posters on display, on loan from the venerable studio Kamat Foto Flash. These were categorized by genre, and ranged from some of the first Indian film posters to contemporary printed ones. Apart from classics like Mother India (1957) and Deewar (1975), some of the original posters on display included CID (1956), Teesri Manzil (1966), Bobby (1973) and Aar Paar (1954) under ‘Thillers & Romance’; Pukar (1939) and Bandhan (1969) under ‘Early Years’; Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) and Andaaz Apna Apna (1994) under ‘Comedy’; and Lagaan (2001) and A Wednesday (2008) under ‘Politics’.

One of the panel discussions centered on the future of Indian cinema. Some of the issues that were discussed at the panel were about the challenges that the future holds in relation to current issues with film making, and opportunities to achieve a positive and freer future for the industry. Another aspect of the discussion regarded the role that the youth will play in the industry in the coming years, and how it is their responsibility to create a bright future and give audiences something to look forward to.

The panel was attended by students, academicians and professionals, and the panelists included Anand Gandhi, an independent film maker, screenwriter and playwright; Nina Gupta, CEO of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and Anjum Rajabali, a film writer and teaching faculty at a university in India.

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