Art & Culture

Eight films on heritage sites of India at NGMA

Purva Uttara: Past Forward, a series of films that chronicles some of the country’s heritage structures will be screened in the city

Revisit and learn about the country’s heritage structures at NGMARevisit and learn about the country’s heritage structures at NGMA

Eight short films will capture the beauty
of important historical sites in the country. The idea that stones are storehouses of history underlies Marg Publications’ effort to unravel ancient India. A series of films named Purva Uttara (Past Forward) tells the stories hidden in boulders and cliffs turned into timeless works of art.

Mamallapuram - A Riddle in the Sand
Saturday, April 23, 3 pm
Narrated and directed: Shyam Benegal
Along the sandy coastline, some forty miles south of Madras, is a large group of deserted and unfinished monuments at the site of Mamallapuram. There are artificial caves, monoliths or shrines hewn out of single boulders, sculptured cliffs, and structural temples. Though the site remains a mystery in more ways than one, it is certain that it was created during the reign of the Pallava dynasty (580 - 728 CE). Numerous questions remain. Was Mamallapuram a sacred site? Why are so many of the monuments unfinished? These, and many other issues such as military engagements, overseas trade, and religious affiliations must be addressed to resolve this veritable riddle in stone.

Vijayanagara - Where Kings and Gods Meet
Saturday, April 23, 3.30 pm
Narrated and directed: Shyam Benegal
The splendour of the city of Hampi, the 15th century capital of the Hindu Vijayanagara kingdom, was admired by the many foreign travellers to southern India. Venetian Nicolo Conti described it as so large that no man has seen its like upon the earth. Down the ages, Hindu monarchs equated themselves with Lord Rama. This identification with divinity is most striking in the city of Hampi, believed to be the centre of Kishkindha, the monkey kingdom. Surrounding Hampi are the various Kishkindha sites of the Ramayana, and these converge at the palace and the adjoining royal chapel dedicated to Rama. Here the monarch set up a parallel between himself and Rama in a combination of royalty and divinity.

Immortal Capital - The many cities of Delhi
Sunday, April 24, 11.30 am
Narrated and directed: Zafar Hai
Delhi, protected by the Aravalli range and the Jamuna River, has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. A succession of rulers have chosen this site as their capital, leaving behind a legacy of grandeur. This film focuses on the series of urban settlements that have made Delhi, moving between its contemporary architecture, the imposing British capital built by Lutyens and Baker, and the historic monuments and ruins - the Purana Qila, Tughluqabad, Firozabad and the grand Mughal city of Shahjahanabad with its magnificent Red Fort and the impressive Jama Masjid.

Visions of Paradise - The Taj Mahal
Sunday, April 24, 12.00 pm
Narrated and directed: Zafar Hai
This film introduces the Mughals, their historical milieu, their luxurious forts, palaces, and mosques. It speaks about their introduction of tomb architecture, and then moves to Shahjahan's marble masterpiece, the renowned Taj Mahal at Agra. It speaks of the reactions it has evoked.

A World Apart - Princely Mewar
Saturday, April 30, 3.00 pm
Narrated and directed: Zafar Hai

This film speaks of the valour and grandeur of the Princely state of Mewar. Mewar put up strong resistance against the Mughals. Its rulers, like the famed Pratap Singh, fought so valiantly that they won the respect of their enemy. When Mewar was finally vanquished, the Mughals refrained from demanding the ruler's personal presence at the Delhi court, allowing him to send an ambassador instead. When the decisive Mughal victory completely destroyed Mewar's fort capital of Chitor, the Mughals extracted a promise from the Mewar rulers that they would never rebuild it and so the ruler Udai Singh built himself a splendid new capital at Udaipur on the Pichola Lake.

Rome of The Tropics - Goa
Saturday, April 23, 3.30 pm
Directed: Zafar Hai

In the 16th century, the Portuguese came to India, first as traders, and then as the ruling power of Goa on the west coast. From this time onwards vast numbers of churches began to be built in Goa. The French traveller, Francois Pyrard de Laval, wrote of Goa around 1608, saying that the edifices of churches and palaces, both public and private, is very rich and magnificent, and built by the local people. The architecture represents a fusion of Indian and European elements - with influences from the Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque styles. This film depicts Goa and its Roman influence.
The films will be screened at the NGMA auditorium.

Tags: purva uttara: past forward, historical sites, shyam benegal, zafar hai

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