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BFI Love: Bollywood romance, old and new, hits UK

BFI Love: Bollywood romance, old and new, hits UK

November 5 2015

Who does family-centred romance better than Bollywood? Several films return to the UK as part of special season of films to melt the heart…

THEY sizzled on screen in their first movie together and some cinemagoers continue to watch to the couple fall in love all over again in the cinema some 20 years later.

One theatre in Mumbai screened it over a 1,000 times and had to bring it back to the schedule after dropping it and people complained.

Now the British Film Institute (BFI) is celebrating the ultimate Bollywood romance movie on Saturday (November 7) and has lined up extra goodies to make the viewing an extra memorable one.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jeyenge” comes to the Southbank as part of the BFI’s Love season, which continues until the end of the year.

Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in 'Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge'

The season aims to showcase the best romantic films ever made from around the world, and includes more than handful from India as well as some British Asian gems.

Among the highlights is a whole weekend of films in December dedicated to the the iconic Tamil/Bollywood director Mani Ratnam*.

That Friday kicks off with his seminal film “Bombay” which is also celebrating 20 years and is about the tragic riots that tore apart the city in 1993 and was inflamed by religious passions. The film charts the experience of a Hindu-Muslim couple and turned Ratnam into a star director in India. Ratnam and Koirala were in London in the summer as part of the London Indian Film Festival (please see the video below*).

British Asian director Gurinder Chadha will talk about “Race and Romance” on TV alongside Adrian Lester, who received huge acclaim for his portrayal of the 19th century black acting sensation, Ira Aldridge in the award-winning, “Red Velvet”, written by his wife, Lolita Chakrabarti. Chadha and Lester will appear at a panel at the BFI on November 24. The pair will be joined by Hilary Salmon, BBC’s head of drama and Tunde Ogunbesan, BBC’s head of diversity and inclusion. Chadha’s own “Bride and Prejudice” hits Glasgow as part of the season.

Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in 'Dil Se'

There is also a special screening of one of the most famous films of the 1980s – “My Beautiful Laundrette”. Written by Hanif Kureishi, the film is searing portrait of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and features one of the first ever on screen kisses between two men, ‘Omar’ (Gordon Warnecke) and ‘Johnny’ (Daniel Day Lewis). It will be screened around the UK and will bring Warnecke and director Stephen Frears together for a special Q&A at the BFI Southbank in December (see listings below for details).

Saturday’s “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jeyenge” (DDLJ) will include dance and special guests. BBC Asian Network Bollywood experts Raj and Pablo are hosting.

There will be a specially commissioned dance show by Absolute Bollywood Dancers, who will celebrate some of the music from the film. Following the screening there will be party tunes played DJ Vish and crew in the back bar area.

Aditya Chopra was just 24 when he directed Shah Rukh Khan and the even fresher-faced Kajol, who as Simran, falls for Raj as they go inter-railing around Europe together. Sadly for Raj, London based-Simran is betrothed to another in India, but love wouldn’t be what it is without a battle and a fight and a few obstacles to overcome.

UK Bollywood channel B4U will also be revealing their search for a real life Raj and Simran.


The channel has been urging viewers to send in their stories and on Saturday will unveil a couple who best resemble the romantic heart of DDLJ.

Next week, (November 9) one of the most opulent and lavish of all Bollywood films in recent memory returns to the big screen in the UK. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Devdas” is a classic tale of the doomed courtesan played by Aishwarya Rai, with SRK as the pining Devdas.

There are also screenings for Deepa Mehta’s “Fire” (1996), featuring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in a tale of lesbian romance; “Pyaasa” by the legendary Guru Dutt with the music by the immortal SD Burman and pitting Dutt with the luminous Waheeda Rahman. This is a new restoration from the 1957 original, representing one of the golden periods of Indian cinema.

Almost at the other end of things is “The Lunchbox”. One of the few films from India in recent years to get a wide UK release, “The Lunchbox” undoubtedly reflects the best of contemporary Indian cinema without the customary singing and dancing hooplah. Virtually unknown (at the time) Nimrat Kaur sparkles as the lovelorn housewife who inadvertently makes meals for a curmudgeonly peon (played by a laconic Irrfan Khan) whose tastebuds and outlook on life become increasingly softened and romantic as a consequence.

Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day-Lewis in 'My Beautiful Laundrette'

A little closer to Christmas, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” – a recent Salman Khan Eid hit returns to UK screens.

Fans of Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif can look forward to a cinema outing for “Bang! Bang!” – one of the best performing Bollywood movies of 2014 and a remake of the Hollywood Tom Cruise action starrer “Knight and Day”.

Also playing as part of the BFI Love season is “Dil Dhadakne Do” a summer release, it’s directed by Zoya Akhtar and mainly deals with Indian middle-class family woes in a comic and satirical manner, and features Priyanka Chopra.

Admirers of the Salman Khan-Aishwarya Rai pairing get a treat when “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” returns at the end of the month to both Vue Harrow and Croydon. A twisting tale of differing sympathies, Khan and Rai show their range alongside the ever dependable Ajay Devgan.

A starry cast in family drama 'Dil Dhadakne Do'

The BFI Love season continues until the end of the year and includes such highlights as a new 4K version of David Lean’s Oscar-winning “Doctor Zhivago” to be released across the country on November 27.

Listing by of British Asian/Indian films BFI Love in UK

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jeyenge
Saturday, November 7 BFI Southbank, South Block, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT

Devdas’ – Monday, November 9, 1,30pm Vue Harrow
Monday, November 16, 1.30pm, Vue Croydon

Bang Bang’ – Tuesday, November 10, 7pm, Gwyn Hall, Port Talbot. Indian buffet food by Cinnamon Kitchen.

Bride and Prejudice’ – Thursday, November 26, 6pm – Glasgow Women’s Library

Mani Ratnam weekend at BFI
‘Bombay’ – Saturday, December 12, BFI Southbank, 8.10pm
‘Dil Se’ – Sunday, December 13, 3.45pm, BFI Southbank – Mixes politics and romance in a heady mix with Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala doing more than shadow dancing…
‘O Kadhal Kanmani’ – Monday, December 14, 8.20pm, Ratnam shows his customary boldness and sense of deep social conscience as he focuses on a couple who live together without marrying and find most of India isn’t really ready or comfortable with that…

My Beautiful Laundrette
Saturday, November 14, 8.30pm Moseley Washeteria, Birmingham.
Friday, November 27, 7pm – Usurp Art Gallery and Studios, 140 Vaughan Rd, London HA1 4DZ (Harrow)
Saturday, November 28, Royal Pavilion, Brighton, 6pm
Sunday, November 29 12pm – Watershed, Bristol
Wednesday, December 2, 4.30pm, Hackney Picturehouse
Monday, December 7, 6pm, Greenwich Picturehouse
Wednesday, December 9, 6pm, Clapham Picturehouse
Sunday, December 13, 3pm Magic Lantern, Twyn Gwynedd
Tuesday, December 15, 6pm, BFI Southbank Q&A with director Stephen Frears and actor Gordon Warnecke

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Monday, November 23, 1.30pm, Vue Harrow
Monday, November 30, 1.30pm, Vue Croydon.

Tuesday, December 1 – 6pm, BFI Southbank
Saturday, December 5 – 8.40pm BFI Southbank

Race and Romance on TV – Tuesday, November 24, 6.15pm BFI Southbank

The Lunchbox’ – Monday, December 7, 1.30pm, Vue Harrow.

Dil Dhadakne Do’ – Monday, December 14, Vue Croydon.

Saturday, December 19, 5.20pm – BFI Southbank
Wednesday, December 23 5.50pm – BFI Southbank

Full programme & booking


*Mani Ratnam’s “Bombay” was the subject of a special screening at the Grange Hotel, St Paul’s this summer during the London Indian Film Festival. Both Ratnam and Koirala were the special guests at the 20th anniversary celebration dinner and fundraiser. Here’s the video of the whole evening and you can see Eastern Eye’s Asjad Nazir put the questions to the two on the evening in a Q&A, which appears in a separate video on our youtube channel.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture


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