Monday 3 September 2018

Hotel Salvation kicks off C4's Indian Film Season

Channel4’s annual Indian film season returns on Monday and Thursday nights this September with a selection of independent films from across the country spanning themes of mortality, forbidden love, the caste system and British Colonial rule.

All but one of the films in the season, which gets underway tonight with indie comedy-drama HOTEL SALVATION, are showing for the first time on free to air British television and the season includes a rarely seen late film from revered filmmaker Satyajit Ray – THE CHESS PLAYERS.

In another first, the films will all be available on catch up via All4 at

Hotel Salvation [Mon 3 Sept @ 02:10 - network premiere]
(2016) 93 mins PG
Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl star in writer-director Shubhashish Bhutiani's feature debut, a gentle, upbeat indie comedy-drama about family relationships and death. Businessman Rajiv (Hussain) is getting on with his hectic life when his 77-year-old father Daya (Behl) dramatically announces that he's foreseen his own imminent death and wants to seek salvation by passing away in the holy city of Varanasi. Rajiv is thus forced to drop everything and accompany his father on his last journey. In Varanasi, they check into a hospice-hotel that offers free accommodation to those in the final two weeks of their lives. However, Daya's premonition isn't as accurate as he'd thought. As their days in the ancient city by the Ganges stretch into weeks, the two men are given an opportunity to properly get to know each other.

With Geetanjali Kulkarni as Rajiv's wife Lata and Palomi Ghosh as their adult daughter Sunita.

In Hindi with English subtitles.

Sairat [Thu 6 Sept @ 01:30 - network premiere]
(2016) 140 mins
Writer-director-producer Nagraj Manjule’s powerful Marathi drama is a compelling contemporary love story and strong indictment of the caste system. A huge hit in India on its release, the film follows the fortunes of young star-crossed lovers Parshya (Akash Thosar) and Archie (Rinku Rajguru). Parshya is the academically high-achieving son of a fisherman, while Archie’s father Tatya (Suresh Vishwakarma) is a wealthy landlord and politician. The two meet as students at college, fall in love and secretly begin dating. However, when he discovers this, Tatya stops at nothing in his campaign to prevent Archie from spending time with her low-caste boyfriend, including beating him and attempting to frame him for rape. Narrowly escaping a potentially murderous attack, the young couple flee their village by train and escape to the shantytowns of the city. But even there they face adversity at every turn and their naive idea of romance is tested against the harsh realities of the city.

With Tanaji Galgunde and Arbaz Shaikh.

In Marathi with English subtitles.

Masaan [Mon 10 Sept @ 01:55 - network premiere]
(2015) 109 mins
Richa Chadha and Vicky Kaushal star in Neeraj Ghaywan's feature-length directorial debut, a moving drama about two young couples in the holy city of Varanasi. The film begins with Devi (Chadha) and her student boyfriend Piyush (Saurabh Chadhary) secretly meeting at a hotel, where they tentatively have sex for the first time. Their tryst is violently interrupted by thuggish local police inspector Mishra (Bhagwan Tiwari), who uses their compromising position to blackmail the lovers. But his actions will have profound consequences for Piyush and Devi, and also for her academic-turned-stallholder father Vidyadhar (Sanjay Mishra) and Jhonta (Nikhil Sahni), the cheeky young lad who helps run his stall on the banks of the Ganges. Meanwhile, engineering student Deepak (Kaushal), who comes from the lower-caste Dom community (who traditionally tend the funeral pyres on the Ganges' ghats), finds himself on a similarly fateful path when he meets and falls in love with Shaalu (Shweta Tripathi), a beautiful middle-class woman from a much higher caste. Masaan won the Un Certain Regard Avenir prize and a Fipresci prize at Cannes 2015. In Hindi with English subtitles.

Ankhon Dekhi [Thu 13 Sept @ 01:30 - network premiere]
(2014) 93 mins unclassified
The season continues with Ankhon Dekhi (With My Own Eyes), writer-director-actor Rajat Kapoor’s comedy-drama. Rajesh (Sanjay Mishra), a travel agent in his late 50s whom everyone calls Bauji, heads a large middle-class family who live cramped together in a small terraced apartment in old Delhi. One fateful day, after hearing his daughter Rita (Maya Sarao) has a swaggering womaniser of a boyfriend, the family set out to teach the cad a lesson he won’t quickly forget. But Ajju (Namit Das) turns out to be a decent young man. Instantaneously Bauji decides to turn his back on received wisdom and only believe what he sees with his own eyes. This new outlook on life has a mixed impact on his family and friends: to some he’s seen as a guru, while others view him as nothing more than a troublemaker. Whichever he is, Bauji’s new philosophy has many unexpected consequences for those around him - some comical, others less so.

In Hindi with English subtitles.

The Chess Players [Mon 17 Sept - first screening on Channel 4]
(1977) 108 mins PG
Satyajit Ray's only film in Urdu is a drama set in 1856, during the British Raj, which paints a subtle portrait of the decadent world of the nawabs, where pleasure-seeking takes precedence over the fate of the region or its ruler. Little does Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (Amjad Khan) know he will be the last independent ruler of the kingdom of Awadh. It’s the eve of the 1857 Rebellion and Britain’s General Outram (Richard Attenborough) is plotting to annex the nawab's lands to extend the power of the Empire through the East India Company. Amidst intrigue and political manoeuvring, noblemen Mir Roshan Ali (Saeed Jaffrey) and Mirza Sajjad Ali (Sanjeev Kumar) shirk their duties to their families and their nawab, instead spending their days and nights playing chess. While Mirza's wife Khurshid (Shabana Azmi) tries desperately to persuade her husband to stop playing this wretched game and spend time with her, Mir's wife Nafisa (Farida Jalal) is happy to see her husband preoccupied, as it enables her lover to visit her without fear.

In Urdu with English subtitles.