The July 31-Aug. 2 “Politics as Spectacle: The Films of Mani Ratnam” retrospective will include screenings of “Roja,” “Bombay” and “Dil Se,” three films that follow lovers through a backdrop of Indian politics and feature the exquisite music of A.R. Rahman. “Roja” (1992) is set against the background of India’s trouble with Kashmir separatists. “Bombay” (1995) is about an interfaith couple who face opposition from their families and communal violence in Mumbai, and 1998’s “Dil Se” revolves around a terrorist and the man who loves her.
Ratnam will take part in Q&As, moderated by Richard Pena, director emeritus of New York Film Festival and professor of film studies at Columbia U., after the screenings at the Sumner Redstone theater.
“The false dichotomies that are used to categorize films — art vs. commercial cinema, entertainment vs. political filmmaking — disappear when one sees how easily Mani Ratnam is able to combine aspects of all of them into his work,” Pena said in a statement. “A New York tribute to this important filmmaker is long overdue.”
Christina Marouda, the museum’s deputy director for development and founder of the Indian Film Festival Los Angeles, who organized this program, said: “Mani Ratnam is a treasure, and we are pleased to host him in New York with three of his most significant and beloved films. This weekend tribute offers audiences, both devoted fans and new viewers, a rare opportunity to see his gorgeous films on the big screen, presented in 35mm.”