Far from Bollywood: New York Indian Film Festival spotlights alternative fare
Indian movies—from art-house dramas to all-singing, all-dancing Bollywood musicals—may still be exotic to the average American moviegoer.
But they’re inching closer to the mainstream every year; movies like the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and offbeat romantic comedy Marigold, which paired Ali Larter and Salman Khan, played in multiplexes alongside Hollywood action pictures.
And the annual New York Indian Film Festival (May 4-8) is thriving.
Born in the shadow of 9/11 and conceived by the Indo-American Arts Council, the festival, now in its 11th year, has grown from a two-day showcase for a handful of features (including the New York premiere of Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding) to this year’s five-day feast of 25 feature films (many U.S. or New York premieres) and 22 shorts, including both documentaries and fiction films in Hindi, Bengali, English, Malayalam, Tibetan, Urdu, Marathi and various combinations. The only kind of filmmaking conspicuous by its absence is the Bollywood spectacle.