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Bollywood goes live

Indian classic restored for big screen

LONDON — It is not every day London culture vultures get the chance to devour a painstakingly restored Bollywood silent movie on the big screen. So it was no wonder the world premiere of Franz Osten’s 1929 classic “A Throw of Dice” accompanied by a full orchestral score by maverick British Asian musician Nitin Sawhney and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra proved a quick sell-out.

“The idea was to combine a silent movie with a contemporary score and reach as wide an audience as possible. We watched a lot of films before we came across ‘A Throw of Dice,’ in the BFI Archive, which is not only superbly made with great performances but its contemporary style is timeless” producer Tim Pierce said, adding that “it was Nitin Sawhney’s inspiration and vision for an orchestral score that drove the project.”

The April 21 preem at London’s Barbican Concert Halls attracted singer-thesp Will Young (“Mrs. Henderson Presents”) disguised in a cap and hoodie combo and a bevy of U.K. film bizzers including producer Jeremy Thomas and BAFTA chairman Duncan Kenworthy.

Of nearly 1,300 films made in India in 1913-34 only 10% survive due to a fire in the Calcutta film vaults in the 1940s. “Dice,” a precautionary tale about the dangers of gambling, was rediscovered in the late 1990s.

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