Riverside hosts Bollywood Film Festival

Jessica Kelly

This month marks the third Riverside Bollywood Film Festival, hosted by the Honors College and Housing and Residential Communities at the Riverside Community Center. Once a week, throughout the month of October, a different Bollywood film classic will be showcased.

Tonight at 7, the festival will present the family drama, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.” This film features Indian film stars Amitah Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Jaya Bachchan and Kajol and Karena Kapoor.

Bollywood is cinema from India in the Hindi language, said Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, assistant professor of Tibetan, Chinese and Himalayan history and faculty-in-residence for the Honors College Riverside Community.

“Bollywood is a distinct form of cinematic experience,” Holmes-Tagchungdarpa said. “It incorporates music and visual language that is extremely different from Hollywood but is linked with Indian poetic traditions, as well as being reminiscent of 1930s musical cinema in Western countries.”

Like Hollywood, Bollywood is concerned with depicting glamour, wealth and fashion, all of which are aspirations for the middle and lower classes, Holmes-Tagchungdarpa said.

“However, the aesthetics of Bollywood incorporate music and dance as essential storytelling elements, an art that has been lost in America,” she said.

Bollywood tells us a great deal about Indian cultural ideals, Holmes-Tagchungdarpa said.              “Common themes include family disputes, romantic love and marriage and social pressures faced by all different classes of Indian society, though the films often focus on upper class society for the glamour factor,” she said.

Holmes-Tagchungdarpa said students need to know about India because it is a rising power internationally and will catch up with China and the United States within the next few decades.

“Learning about Indian culture through Bollywood is a wonderful way to learn more about this fascinating country,” she said.

Holmes-Tagchungdarpa said the month-long film festival exposes students to a wide variety of Bollywood films, as well as get out and socialize with other people who share similar interests.

“People make friends at these events, and, since many Riverside residents are freshmen, this is important to make them feel welcome at UA,” she said.

Jeremy Henderson, Riverside Community director, said the Bollywood film festival exposes students to other cultures.

“It can broaden their horizons and get them to learn about different groups of people who may have a different way of doing things,” he said.

Another reason the event works so well is because of the involvement of the faculty-in-residence like Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Henderson said.

“We have faculty and staff that are onsite and they help bring their interests and areas of expertise to provide a more enriching experience to out residents on campus,” Henderson said.

Jalissa Townsend, a sophomore majoring in business, said tonight will be her first time attending the Bollywood Film Festival.

“I’m excited to see the Indian art and culture in the movie,” Townsend said.

On Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., “Hum Aapke Hain Koun,” another classic Bollywood film starring action hero Salman Khan and dancer Madhuri Dixit in a tale of love and tragedy, will be shown.

The Bollywood Film Festival’s final showcase on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. will feature the film “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi,” a henna artist, and traditional Indian food catered by Indian restaurant Sitar.