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Photo of Mangesh Desai
Photo of Mangesh Desai

Mangesh Desai

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    ANKUR

    Shyam Benegal India, 1974

    Set amidst a complex mesh of feudal power structures and gender oppression, Shyam Benegal’s directorial debut Ankur is a powerful film about the caste system and agency of women. This film also marks the debut of the powerhouse actress of Indian parallel cinema, Shabana Azmi.

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    THE HOME AND THE WORLD

    Satyajit Ray India, 1984

    Reminiscent of Charulata, the heady love triangle at the heart of this Rabindranath Tagore adaptation blends privates passions with political fervor. Gorgeously lit and meticulously framed, Ray’s masterwork deftly juxtaposes the early 20th-century nationalist movement with the emancipation of women.

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    THE CHESS PLAYERS

    Satyajit Ray India, 1977

    Made during an era of press censorship in India, The Chess Players is a self-described “contemplative though unsparing” drama that examined the country’s future through its past. An exquisite satire from one of world cinema’s most beloved masters: Satyajit Ray.

    PARTY

    Govind Nihalani India, 1984

    Based on a Marathi play by Mahesh Elkunchwar, Party is a timeless political and social satire by Govind Nihalani. In the process of unravelling the hypocrisy of the intellectuals and artists of urban Indian society, the film also reveals the angst, and loneliness of the privileged.

    BHUMIKA

    Shyam Benegal India, 1977

    Featuring Smita Patil’s moving portrayal of an unconventional and fascinating actor, Bhumika is masterful work by Shyam Benegal. Based on the life of 40s Marathi stage actor Hansa Wadkar, this film is a fine study of feminism, male gaze and the price one has to pay for personal freedom.

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