Three films, photo exhibit part of Focus on India series

By From page A9 | November 09, 2011

The Mondavi Center will host screenings of three films from India on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 14-15, as part of a yearlong Focus on India series. There also will be an exhibit of photographs from India, to be displayed in the Mondavi Center lobby.

Titled “Growing Up in India,” the series will begin with “Salaam Bombay!,” a 1988 film (not rated, 113 minutes) directed by Mira Nair. This stark look at the lives of Bombay’s street children earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film in 1989.

The story centers on Krishna, a child left by his family at a young age, who learns to survive on the streets alongside prostitutes and drug addicts, hoping to save enough money to return home. The film screens at 7 p.m. Monday.

The series continues with “Pink Saris,”  a 2010 film (not rated, 96 minutes) directed by Kim Longinotto. This film is an unflinching and often amusing look at the all-woman vigilante Gulabi Gang in Northern India and their charismatic leader, Sampat Pal, who acts as judge and jury for girls and women who are being abused by outlawed patriarchal traditions and the caste system.

“Pink Saris” screens at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The series concludes with “Udaan,” a 2010 film (not rated, 134 minutes) directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. The story concerns Rohan, who is abandoned for eight straight years in boarding school. Then Rohan returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur and finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father and a younger half-brother who he didn’t even know existed.

The film screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15.

All three films will be shown in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Tickets to individual films are $10 general and $5 for students. A series ticket covering all three films together can be purchased at a discounted rate of $25 general. Information and tickets are available at MondaviArts.org and (530) 754-2787.

The photographic exhibit in the Mondavi Center lobby is curated by Dinesh Khanna. The three-part show will take place in the Yocha Dehe Grand Lobby beginning Monday and continuing through Dec. 18. It will include solo works by Indian artists Anusha Yadav, Prashant Panjiar and Dinesh Khanna, each exploring different aspects of Indian society and culture.

“The opportunity to delve into the artistic trends of such an important nation and culture fits perfectly the Mondavi Center mission to expose our region to the best from diverse world cultures,” said Don Roth, Mondavi Center executive director.

“This project began with a partnership with both faculty and community members, especially Professor Sudipta Sen and UC Davis alumnus Sundeep Dugar, who have been able to put us in touch with leading artists working in India today in dance, photography and film.”

Other events in the Focus on India series will take place in 2012:

* Kalanjali: Dances of India and Rachana Yadav, Wednesday, March 21, 8 p.m. Kathak dancer Yadav portrays the moods and moments of a typical Indian day in a solo performance commissioned by the Mondavi Center.

Zakir Hussain and Masters of Percussion, Thursday, March 22, 8 p.m., Jackson Hall. Tabla player Hussain last visited the Mondavi Center last year in a fusion trio with banjo player Bela Fleck and bass player Edgar Meyer. This time, Hussain will be performing traditional Indian ragas and related music of his homeland.

Anoushka Shankar, Tuesday, April 17, 8 p.m., Jackson Hall. Returning to the Mondavi Center, sitar player Shankar will bring together the music of Spain with the Indian classical tradition.

Tracing the musical commonalities of the gypsies’ journey from their homeland in Rajasthan passing through Iran, Iraq and Armenia and finally settling in Spain, Shankar and her band will explore the link, separated by a thousand years, between Spanish and Indian music.

Jeff Hudson

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