Mumbai hits the Mainstream

9 01 2010

To warm up this bitterly cold beginning to the decade, Channel 4 will be putting the Indian city of Mumbai and beyond under Western scrutiny in an Indian Winter Season. (At this time of year, Mumbai is actually quite toasty, with average temperatures of 30-ish degree Celsius).

The promotional video full of bright lights, colour, cricket, rickshaws and ritualistic undertones quite successfully encompasses the India I’m familiar with. The featured programmes look to give us an insight into the realities of the diverse city, with inhabitants from all over the subcontinent.

Unsurprisingly, following the enormous success of Slumdog Millionaire last year, much of the focus is on the slums of the modern city. But there will also be insights into architecture, cuisine, and culture within and beyond Mumbai.

So get your Sky Plus remotes at the ready. The line-up so far looks like this:

Wed 13 Jan, 9.00pm – Slumdog Millionaire – nuff said
Thur 14 Jan, 1.15am – Rang de Basanti – starring one of Bollywood’s old-timers Amir Khan
Thur 14 Jan, 9.00pm – Kevin McCloud: Slumming It (pt 1)
Fri 15 Jan, 8.00pm – Kevin McCloud: Slumming It (pt 2)
Sat 16 Jan, 10.00pm – Om Shanti Om – starring Shah Rukh Khan (Bollywood’s answer to Tom Cruise) and the gorgeous Deepika Padukone. This tragicomedy pays tribute to all the Bollywood legends except Amitabh Bhachchan due to an ongoing feud between himself and the lead actor. Bit of Bollywood gossip there for ya!
Sun 17 Jan, 9.00pm – Slumdog Secret Millionaire
Sun 17 Jan – 10.5pm – Dhoom 2 –  It’s crap. Don’t bother.
Mon 18 Jan. 9.00pm – Gordon’s Great Escape (pt 1) – starting in North India
Tues 19 Jan, 12.45am – Jodhaa Akbar – historical movie about a Muslim emperor who  marries a Hindu princess. Ooh, controversial!
Tues 19 Jan, 9.00pm – Gordon’s Great Escape (pt 2) – moving to the North-East of India
Tues 19 Jan, 10.00pm – (on MORE 4) Cowboys in India – not listed as part of the Indian Winter season, but a rare look into the dark realities of mining towns in India.
Wed 20 Jan, 9.00pm – Gordon’s Great Escape (pt 3) – concluding the journey in Kerala
Thur 21 Jan, 9.00pm – Dispatches: The Slumdog Children of Mumbai – exposing the factual elements of the Slumdog movie.
Tues 26 Jan – News from India with Krishnan Gurumurthy

I think the documentaries should be pretty insightful, although I’m never really convinced that all the full impact of a necessary message can be squeezed into a single hour.

Some other Bollywood movies I would’ve expected to see but apparently didn’t make the cut are Lagaan and Devdas. Both are stand-out epic movies among the other generic, uninformed clutter that the Bollywood industry likes to churn out.

I promise to move AWAY from the Bollywood theme  in future posts – I just can’t seem to escape that shit!

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