Indian Film Festival 2013: Celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema

RETURNING to Melbourne for a third year, the 2013 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne takes movie-goers through 100 colourful years of Indian cinema. Hieu Chau discovers more.


IT’S time to rekindle your love affair with Indian cinema once more as the Indian Film Festival returns to Melbourne for a third year.

Running from May 3 through to May 22, this 2013 marks an especially momentous occasion for Indian cinema as it celebrates its 100th year in film.

As such, festival organisers have put together a special slate of retrospective screenings to take audiences through the colourful years of Indian cinema, introducing you to India’s most important films and their historical importance.


Among the films that charter India’s thriving cinema is Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India.

One of India’s most revered films, Lagaan follows the story of how a village’s fate is tied up in a game of cricket between the Indian locals and the imperialistic British. Should the locals win, they need not pay taxes to the British. The only problem is, they’ve never played a game of cricket before.

In some ways, Lagaan encapsulates much of what people have already perceived about Indian cinema – sprawling musicals with heartfelt drama mixed in for good measure.

If there was ever a good enough entry point for people to be introduced to Indian cinema, the Academy Award-nominated Lagaan might just be it.


Elsewhere in the film festival, organisers have dedicated retrospectives to Indian film personalities Yash Chopra and Amitabh Bachchan.

Yash Chopra Cinema

Formerly the Agora Cinema, La Trobe University has changed the name of its cinema in honor of late Indian director, Yash Chopra. Photo: La Trobe University.

Having worked in film for more than fifty years, Yash Chopra is considered to be a legend in Indian cinema.

Chopra, who passed away late last year, was most remembered by most Indian filmgoers for his enduring line of romantic films. Though his early works included films about angry and disillusioned young men, the romantic films that have followed are a lasting legacy.

In honor of the director, La Trobe University, a sponsor of the film festival, has renamed the university’s cinema from the Agora Cinema to the Yash Chopra cinema.

Chopra’s wife, Pamela Chopra, will be in attendance for the official opening of the renamed cinema on May 6 at 6.30pm at La Trobe University. Following this will be a screening of Yash Chopra’s final film Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

All subsequent Yash Chopra retrospective screenings will take place at La Trobe University’s cinema with admissions free of charge.

Amitabh Bachchan is perhaps India’s biggest star and Melbourne will be graced by his presence when he visits Melbourne as a special guest. In addition to meeting Bachchan in person, festival goers will have the opportunity to catch the special line-up of films the actor has starred in – in honour of his contribution to Indian cinema.

Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan, considered by many to be India’s most successful and iconic stars, will be visiting Melbourne for this year’s festival.

Outside of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, you may also find Amitabh Bachchan in Baz Lurhamann’s hotly anticipated film, The Great Gatsby, where Bachchan will make his Hollywood acting debut.


In addition to the Indian Film Festival’s planned retrospectives, visitors can also expect several masterclasses during the film festival. These seminars and discussions will be hosted by festival guests and will be of particular interest to those wanting to understand more about the festival beyond just the films, as well as hopeful filmmakers wanting to gain more industry insight.

The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2013 takes place between May 3 and May 22. Screenings will predominately take place at Hoyts Cinemas Melbourne Central and at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).

The Yash Chopra retrospective will take place at La Trobe University.

For further information regarding session times and purchasing tickets, please visit the official website for the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2013. 

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