A Cinematic Treat: Dedicated Film Clubs Catering To Cinema Connoisseurs In The City

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I call Mumbai a film lover’s paradise. Not only does it house the humongous Hindi film industry a.k.a Bollywood, but it also exposes one to numerous kinds of cinema. From indie films to documentaries, short stories to animated flicks, you can get a slice of motion pictures at its best in this city.

The various film festivals hosted in the city are a good means to discover and access varied cinema. But if that doesn’t satiate your hunger for films, Mumbai’s film clubs are the best places to explore. These devoted groups provide a platform for film buffs to regularly access brilliant cinema from India or abroad and also interact with the talented filmmakers. With minimal or no money involved to enjoy the movie screenings, these clubs work for a greater cause, to give non-mainstream/ non-commercial films and filmmakers the due they deserve.

MumbaiMag introduces you to some of the popular film clubs in the city.

Enthusiasts at the Naya Cinema 2012 Festival. Image by Enlighten.

Taj Enlighten Film Society: Cinema enthusiast Pranav Ashar founded the Taj Enlighten Film Society in 2007. Enlighten today is one of the biggest film societies that brings together several film connoisseurs over screenings, discussions and other exclusive events. Interested people are charged a fixed annual fees (Rs.2000 for an individual and Rs.3500 for a couple) that entitles them to gain entrance to any of the weekly film screenings, workshops, discounts across major film festivals, access to cinema essays and magazines etc. Even non-members can attend screenings held at various venues across the city at a particular fee. Taj Enlighten Film Society regularly organizes film festivals dedicated to various countries, showcasing the culture and cinema of various places and also holds retrospectives of great filmmakers. Several noted film personalities and filmmakers from India and abroad address and interact with the audiences during these screenings. They also host the dynamic ‘Naya Cinema Festival’ which revolves around a new theme every year and gives audiences a taste of exceptional cinema. They have also instituted the Enlighten award which felicitates talented filmmakers and film personalities during the festival. From Indian cinema, modern day cult films, short films, award winning films from various film festivals and much more, Taj Enlighten Film Society has something for every film buff.

Shamiana partnered with dna Shortcuts – The Short Film Festival. Image by Shamiana – The Short Film Club.

Shamiana – The Short Film Club: This dedicated film club was started in 2008 by theatre personality Cyrus Dastur. The club is backed by Two Plus Productions who are also into production and distribution of shorts. With a passion to showcase the finest short films from India and different parts of the globe, Shamiana – The Short film Club organizes regular monthly screenings in the city. It started off with just one screening at Not Just Jazz By The Bay and has now expanded to over 10 cities in the country. There is no membership fee and the screenings in Mumbai are mostly held at Blue Frog with a nominal entry fee. This short film club gives people an opportunity to enjoy cinema beyond feature films and also brings together like-minded people who share a passion for films. Shamiana is actively involved in hosting several contests, film festivals and partnering with other film festivals as well, the most recent being the dna Shortcuts – Short Film festival. It has also been a collaborator with events such as IFFI (Goa) and Kala Ghoda and proudly boasts of an international presence in Melbourne and Hong Kong too.

A poster of ‘Sengadal’ screened at Vikalp@Prithvi. Image by Vikalp@Prithvi.

Vikalp@Prithvi: Vikalp-Films for Freedom is an initiative of the Campaign Against Censorship (CAC), an action platform of around 275 filmmakers and others that is committed to free speech and the independent documentary movement. In 2007, Vikalp joined hands with Prithvi Theater to form Vikalp@Prithvi which screens a selection of documentaries and short films. The entry is free and open to all and is usually held on the 4th Monday of every month at Prithvi House. The screenings are followed by interactive sessions conducted by the respective filmmakers giving audiences a better insight into the filmmaking process. Detailed notes about the film and discussions are often also shared on the group’s Facebook page. The group also host discussions and talks by renowned film personalities on a regular basis.

A poster of ‘Bidesia in Bambai’ that premiered at Fd Zone. Image by Fd Zone

The Fd Zone: The latest addition to the film club scene in the city is the Fd Zone by the Films Division. The Films Division of India holds more than 8000 titles on documentaries, short films and animation films. And it was only but natural to give film enthusiasts an opportunity to access these classics from this extensive archive. It was with this thought that the Fd Zone came into being. The screenings are not limited to their collection alone and extend to several titles from outside too thus promoting indie films and documentaries. V S Kundu, who took the reigns as the Director General of Films Division in 2012, decided to launch this new film club in the same year. All the screenings are curated by filmmakers and scholars. The screenings are held over the weekend at the 75 seater RR Theater of Films Division and are free of cost and open to all. In addition to movie screenings, the Fd zone also conducts various workshops and facilitates discussions and sharing of knowledge among people having varied interest in films.

If movies are your first love, don’t think twice and join one of these wonderful groups to enjoy the best of cinema! Do you know of other film clubs in Mumbai? Write in to us at story@mumbaimag.com or comment below.

Photographs courtesy: Facebook page of individual film clubs.

Post By Esha Verma (33 Posts)

Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.

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Esha Verma

Esha Verma
Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.