3rd i Films is pleased to co-present PFA‘s
The Eternal Poet: Raj Kapoor & the Golden Age of Indian Cinema
July 19 – August 11
The man who launched a thousand films, actor/director/producer Raj Kapoor is one of the most influential figures in the history of Indian cinema, responsible for a series of box-office hits in the late forties and early fifties that helped define the appeal—and chart the future—of commercial filmmaking in that country. Specifically Indian, yet universal in theme, his slickly polished films offered enough people-power populism and old-fashioned glamour to find success across the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, the Middle East, and China.
At once glossy and realist, slapstick and sorrowful, the juxtapositions of Kapoor’s delirious films are like few that Western viewers have experienced. Epic musical numbers, noirish deep-focus cinematography, and insanely elaborate sets share center stage with paeans to the homeless, cries against the class system, and pleas for social mobility, with scripts (many written by the socialist-realist legend K.A. Abbas) seemingly drawn from Victor Hugo or Charles Dickens, then filtered through Frank Capra and Busby Berkeley.
As director and producer, Kapoor helped popularize many of the tropes that make up commercial Indian cinema, or “Bollywood,” today. This series offers a chance to see not only the power of “The Great Showman” (as Kapoor was called), but also the roots—and arguably the height—of popular Indian cinema.
For more information on specific films and showtimes, please visit the PFA website at: