A celebration of 100 years of Bollywood

The movie Chalte Chalte which stars Bollywood's most famous actors Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerjee, to be shown at the Wits Theatre on May 17th at 6:30pm. Photo: Provided

The movie Chalte Chalte which stars Bollywood’s most famous actors Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerjee, to be shown at the Wits Theatre on May 17th at 6:30pm. Photo: Provided

A BURST of bright colours, contemporary dance and music overcomes the minds of the Indian Diaspora who are gripped by Bollywood movies and assert their culture through this prolific film industry.

The Wits Theatre and the Indian Film Festival hosted a week –long marathon of Bollywood movies at the theatre to honour the Indian film industry that celebrated a 100 years of movies.The week long programme is in partnership with other departments in the university.

The movies of legendary  actors such as Amitabh Bachan, Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Rheka and largely known Shah Rukh Khan had been shown this past week. These movies included Shool, Naseem, Achoot Kanya, Dharavi and Chalte Chalte, which will be aired tonight at 6:30pm in the Wits theatre.

Director of Wits Theatre, Gita Pather who also headed the event said, “This event is a bilateral project to nurture the entrepreneurship of the youth in South Africa.”

INDIAFRICA Competition

The event is also part of the INDIAFRICA competition. The Wits business school will host the finals of the second INDIAFRICA Business Venture Competition. INDIAFRICA: A Shared Future is a unique people to people initiative that aims at engaging multiple stakeholders in India and Africa through contests, fellowships, discussions, events, collaborative projects and cultural exchanges.

The film line-up was compiled by Prof Dilip Menon, a lecturer in the Centre for Indian studies at the university and Bollywood lover. The entire event is being publicised by Catherine Pisanti who also had a hand in choosing the movie Chalte Chalte as she is a die-hard fan of movie star Shah Rukh Khan.

What to expect from the film festival

The film selection aimed to portray a blend of blockbuster films; art films and themes related to social division in Indian society, forbidden love and poverty in India.

Pather, whose parent s met in a recording studio said, “movies are not just movies, they connect [Indians] to their family and their culture.” Pather grew up in a vibrant Indian family who was totally immersed in the culture of Bollywood film and dance.

Pather explained sheand her family used to go to the Adam’s cinema in Chatsworth, Durban, which still exists today, to get their dose of romance, action, thrill and dance from the Bollywood movies.

“My sisters and I used to get dressed up in the Indian attire, play the music we loved and put on a full-fledged concert in our living-rooms, “said Pather.

Bollywood is not just a film industry, there are vivid memories and emotions attached to these films, especially when the older generation are considered.

“We have to watch the music we play in my mother’s house as she can burst out into tears at any time,” said Pather.

Just as black South Africans watch programmes like Generations, Isibaya, Rhythm City and Isidingo, so Indian South Africans watch Pavitra Rishta, Punaare Vivah, Rabsa Sona Ishq, Sapne Sohane Ladake Bhanke. It is a time when people engage with their cultures.

Entrance was free and the event was held to represent the role Bollywood played in the lives of Indians in South Africa whose cultures were marginalised during apartheid.


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