“Salaam Cinema: Past, Present and Future”

One Day Symposium Celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema organised at the University of Western Australia (13th May 2013).

On 3 May 1913, DhundirajGovindPhalke (popularly known as DadasahebPhalke) presented to India its first silent film, Raja Harishchandra. Phalke proved that film-making can be a lucrative business in India – expected to grow to US$ 3 billion by 2014. W/Prof.Hema Sharda, Director, South Asian Relationsat the University of Western Australia and Dr AmitSarwal, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University, organised a one day symposium, titled “Salaam Cinema: Past, Present and Future – Celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema” (The

University Club of Western Australia,13th May 2013), to showcase the achievements of Bombay cinema, highlight Bollywood in Australia and its role in strengthening of cultural ties between Australia and India beyond the clichés of curry, cricket and economics.

Winthrop Professor Hema Sharda, symposium’s convenor, said “Indian cinema reflected the history, politics, socio-economic conditions, culture, sensibilities, dreams, fantasies, hopes and expectations of Indian people.”

Strengthening cultural ties between Australia and India – and the popularity of Bollywood films in Australia – meant that the two nations were growing in understanding beyond the clichés of curry, cricket and economics, Professor Sharda said.

“We hope the symposium will help us find ways to engage and build meaningful collaborative film projects between Australia and India,” she said.

The symposium’s co-convenor, Dr AmitSarwal,noted that the symposium with academic and practitioners as presenters will help larger community know more about the key transformative moments and changing phases in Bombay cinema. He felt confident that such academic interventions will help re-evaluate Australian-Indian film connections and find ways to engage and build meaningful collaborative film projects between the two countries.

A leading Bollywood actor whose latest film is due out at the end of the year was one of the presenters at a one day Symposium. Ms Pallavi Sharda was raised in Perth, graduated from the University of Melbourne with degrees in Law and Media and Communications and was crowned Miss India Australia in Sydney in 2011. Soon after moving to Mumbai, she scored a leading role with Bollywood heart-throb RanbirKapoor in Besharam (Shameless). She also stars in the 2012 Australian production Save Your Legs(which wassuccessfully screened for public at the Indian Consulate in Perth on 12th May 2013 through the courtesy of Madman Entertainment).

Ms Ana Tiwary’s feature documentary,Sunshine & Shade, was also screened on 13th May 2013 at UWA. Set against the backdrop of a spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia, this character-driven feature documentary follows the contrasting journeys of two Indian students whose expectations and reality are in constant conflict.

Other prominent presenters included MrMandarapuSubbarayudu, the Consul General of India in Perth;W/Professor Krishna Sen, an internationally recognised scholar of contemporary Indonesian and media studies and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, UWA;Dr ShalmaleePalekar, UWA based expert in queer postcolonial and transcultural literary and cultural theories;Ms Ana Tiwary, a filmmaker who has worked on a range of films from Bollywood to the National Geographic Channel; Ms Natalie Millar, company director of Mumbai-based Motion Media Arts; and Mr ParichayPatra,a doctoral candidate in the Department of Film and Television Studies, Monash University.

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