Bollywood's Sharmila Tagore To Attend EIFF Festival of Bengali Films

Submitted by edg on Wed, 29 Apr '09 10.12pm

St Johns Church Hall, at the corner of West Princes street and Lothian Road, will turn into a "magical forest cinema" from Bengal in June as part of a mini-festival within the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Between 18 and 20 June, the "Paradise Movie Hall" will screen seven classic Bengali films, curated by former EIFF artistic director Mark Cousins.

Cousins said: "By turning a wee Scottish church hall into a magical space, we're trying to re-capture the wonder of movie-going when you are a kid. We're showing West Bengali films in that little forest cinema because the creative heart of Indian cinema is in West Bengal. We invited the first lady of Bengali cinema, Sharmila Tagore because she's a legend and her career is unique. We hoped she'd come, but it was a long shot. It paid off."

The Bollywood movie star (pictured above in 1960 film Devi) will also be attending the Festival for an In-Person onstage interview where she will be discussing her passion for West Bengali film culture; her work as Chair of India's Board of Film Certification and UN Goodwill Ambassador, and her cinema career.

Added Cousins: "We're totally thrilled. She can tell us first hand about Indian cinema's Chekhov, Satyajit Ray, and the great Tapan Sinha. She can open a window of the world on the great Bengali films. In our wee makeshift Paradise Movie Hall. How great is that? This is what film festivals are for."

The films screening are by Satyajit Ray (Devi; Days And Nights In The Forest), Ritwik Ghatak (The Cloud Capped Star; A River Called Titas), Tapan Sinha (Nirjan Saikate; Wheel Chair) and Anup Singh (The Name of a River).

The Paradise Movie Hall is in partnership with the British Council and Scottish Government, and is followed by a programme of West Bengali films touring Scotland in the autumn.

Tickets for the Paradise Movie Hall screenings and the Sharmila Tagore
In Person event go on sale at midday on Friday 8 May. The full Edinburgh International Film Festival programme will be announced on Wednesday 6 May.