Indian cinema is prolific and diverse, with 1,969 feature titles released by 20 regional film industries in 2014, but movie fans in Japan have few chances to see this vast output. (Let’s not count Bollywood musicals playing silently on monitors in Indian restaurants.)
A new community organization, Tokyo Talkies, is trying to change that by presenting Indian film screenings with English subtitles in Tokyo.
Launched by three men — Shailesh Nair, Alok Kogekar and Hemant Visal — Tokyo Talkies has screened two films to date, the most recent being Subodh Bhave’s “Katyar Kaljat Ghusali” (“A Dagger through the Heart”), a musical based on a 1967 play about two rival schools of Indian classical singing. Released in India in November of last year, the film became a major hit of Marathi cinema — India’s oldest regional film industry, centered in Mumbai.
The full-house audience at the screening on March 5 at Aeon Cinema in the Tokyo suburb of Myoden was “overwhelmed by the powerful narrative of these movies,” says Shailesh. “Many people had come after watching “Katyar” for the sixth or seventh time.”
Tokyo Talkies is currently negotiating to release another new Marathi film, with May 14 or 21 as tentative dates. “We are also looking for movies of other Indian languages that would be exciting for the larger community,” Shailesh says.
For more information about Tokyo Talkies and their upcoming screenings visit facebook.com/tokyotalkies.