Channel 4 brings the movie strand back to screens starting this evening.
Channel4’s annual Indian film season returns on Monday and Thursday nights this September with a selection of independent films from across the country spanning themes of mortality, forbidden love, the caste system and British Colonial rule.
All but one of the films in the season, which gets underway tonight with indie comedy-drama Hotel Salvation, are showing for the first time on free to air British television and the schedules includes a rarely seen late film from revered filmmaker Satyajit Ray – The Chess Players. Channel 4 has also added another first to their list with this year’s run of movies, with all the content from the season available on catch up via All4.
Tonight’s first feature is Hotel Salvation which airs from 2.10am aired in Hindi with English subtitles. Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl star in writer-director Shubhashish Bhutiani’s feature debut, a gentle, upbeat indie comedy-drama about family relationships and death. Businessman Rajiv (Hussain) is getting on with his hectic life when his 77-year-old father Daya (Behl) dramatically announces that he’s foreseen his own imminent death and wants to seek salvation by passing away in the holy city of Varanasi.
Rajiv is thus forced to drop everything and accompany his father on his last journey. In Varanasi, they check into a hospice-hotel that offers free accommodation to those in the final two weeks of their lives. However, Daya’s premonition isn’t as accurate as he’d thought. As their days in the ancient city by the Ganges stretch into weeks, the two men are given an opportunity to properly get to know each other.
The season continues on Thursday night at 1.30am with Sairat which is in Marathi with English subtitles. Writer-director-producer Nagraj Manjule’s powerful Marathi drama is a compelling contemporary love story and a strong indictment of the caste system. A huge hit in India on its release, the film follows the fortunes of young star-crossed lovers Parshya (Akash Thosar) and Archie (Rinku Rajguru). Parshya is the academically high-achieving son of a fisherman, while Archie’s father Tatya (Suresh Vishwakarma) is a wealthy landlord and politician.
The two met as students at college, fall in love and secretly begin dating. However, when he discovers this, Tatya stops at nothing in his campaign to prevent Archie from spending time with her low-caste boyfriend, including beating him and attempting to frame him for rape. Narrowly escaping a potentially murderous attack, the young couple flee their village by train and escape to the shantytowns of the city. But even there they face adversity at every turn and their naive idea of romance is tested against the harsh realities of the city.