Indian Film Week in Warsaw

Indian Film Week in Warsaw

Manya Patil-Seth, Monika Kapil Mohta and Govind Nihalani. Photo by Marcin Kułakowski, Polish Film Institute

November 5, 2012 brought the gala opening ceremony of the Indian Film Week at Warsaw’s Kultura cinema. The Indian Film Week is an event that celebrates 100 years of Indian filmmaking, organized by the Embassy of India, the Polish Filmmakers Association and the Polish Film Institute.

The Organizing Parties and Guests from India

The gala opening of the Indian Film Week was attended by representatives of the event’s organizing parties: Monika Kapil Mohta, Ambassador of India to Poland; Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik, head of the International Cooperation Department at the Polish Film Institute; Jacek Bromski, head of the Polish Filmmakers Association; Manya Patil Seth, sister of actress Smita Patil, and Govind Nihalani – Indian cinematographer and screenwriter. Łukasz Maciejewski took on the role of master of ceremony.

The Past and the Present

The audience at Monday’s gala screening had an opportunity to see two Indian productions: Raja Harishandra (1913) directed by D.G. Phalke – India’s first feature film, and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), directed by Zoya Akhtar – a contemporary Bollywood production.

Interesting and Exciting Journey

“I would like to thank Agnieszka Odorowicz, General Director of the Polish Film Institute and Jacek Bromski, head of the Polish Filmmakers Association, along with their colleagues, for organizing tonight’s event. I believe that the 100-year-long history of Indian cinema has been a very interesting and exciting journey. What we’re about to present represents only a small fragment of what Indian cinema has to offer. […] I hope that this becomes an opportunity to understand our culture […],” said the Ambassador of India.

Film Cooperation Between Poland and India

Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik discussed the relationship between Polish and Indian filmmaking: “The relationship between Poland and India is not as distant as it may seem. […] In two weeks, India will see the launch of the Goa Film Festival. We have the pleasure of presenting a selection of Polish films at this festival. A group of Polish filmmakers will attend the festival, representing projects that could in the future become Polish-Indian co-productions. […] Last July, Polish minister Bogdan Zdrojewski signed the inter-governmental agreement on co-production between Poland and India. We hope that this will contribute to the making of many interesting joint Polish-Indian projects that will soon be screening in this very room.”

“I went to India in 1995 to attend the Polish Film Week. […] 17 years have passed, and a lot has changed since then. That’s why I hope for great cooperation between Poland and India in the field of filmmaking,” said Jacek Bromski.

Three Sections

The films screening at the Indian Film Week at Kultura cinema will be divided into three sections: films for children, Bollywood, as well as a retrospective of films featuring Smita Patil. Manya Patil Seth, Smita Patil’s younger sister who now runs the Smita Patil Foundation, spoke at the opening ceremony, talking about her sister, an icon of Indian cinema who passed away in 1986.

Smita Patil Returns to Poland

“We chose Poland as the first country to screen the retrospective of films featuring Smita Patil, because in 1980 she was here as a film delegate from India. She traveled around Poland, visiting Krakow, Warsaw, and Auschwitz. She was very moved by what she had seen here, and said that she needs to return here to once again experience the history and culture of Poland.

Unfortunately she was never able to return, because she passed away a few years after her first visit. Therefore I am very grateful to be able to bring her films here. In this way, she is visiting Poland once again,” said Manya Patil Seth.

National Obsession

Govind Nihalani spoke to the audience at Kultura cinema about contemporary Indian filmmaking: “Today, it is a large and thriving business […] worth billions of dollars. We produce about 1,000 films per year, in twelve languages. Every day, over three million residents of India watch films and discuss them; cinema has become a part of their culture and their lifestyle. We say that there are two things in India that really excite us: cricket and watching films. It has become a national obsession.

Indian Film Week at Kultura Cinema

The Indian Film Week runs through November 10. Admission to all screenings is free of charge. The detailed screening schedule is available at the event’s Facebook profile:

Paulina Bez

Translated by Karolina Kołtun