All about NLSIU’s New Film Club!
February 1, 2023
Come Friday evening, the first floor of the Old Academic Block on campus comes alive with big crowds, loud applause or cheers, and of course, some food and beverages on the side. The second term of AY 2022-23 saw the formation of a new Film Club at NLSIU which helped members of the NLS community unwind in the weekend with its Friday movie screenings.
As one of the newest student collectives, this intiative focuses on creative expression and collective experiences. The idea for the film screenings came from NLS faculty member Radhika Chitkara, who started the club after witnessing an enthusiastic response to an open mic poetry reading in August 2022. She said, “It struck me that two years of off-campus pandemic teaching had affected the collective memory or imagination of what campus life could look like. The motivation was to provide opportunities for creative self-expression, but more importantly, for students to simply just be themselves even in a highly academic environment.”
Film screenings so far…
This budding Film Club has already organised screenings of the Malayalam film Kumbalangi Nights (2019), and the Bosnian feature film Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020), at the Krishnappa Memorial Hall on the first floor of the OAB.
The last screening for this term was the popular Hindi film, Om Shanti Om (2007), a glitzy, dramatic spectacle that pays homage to 1970s Bollywood. Students of various batches showed up at the screening for three hours of old Bollywood glamour, an over-the-top yet heartfelt love story, and the popular soundtrack, which, as one student reminisced, could be heard everywhere after the movie’s release, and had been an integral part of his childhood.
V. Ashish, a fourth-year B.A. L.L.B. student and self-described Shah Rukh Khan fan, described it as “an amazing experience, and one of the best ways to spend a Friday.”
Generating collective experiences
Gargi Pandit, BA LLB (Hons) student and member of the Film Club, explained that the main aim of the collective was to “generate collective experiences and memories for the entire student body,” while exposing them to various genres of films, from diverse languages and regions. The club hopes to remain dynamic in terms of the films it screens, while continuing to focus on this aim. The club has no fixed mandate, and the members plan to screen as wide a variety of films as possible.
“They need not be the most critically acclaimed films. It could be a mass entertainer like Om Shanti Om, or as heart-wrenching and profound as Quo Vadis, Aida. We hope to create a balance so that the students who attend these screenings not only learn to appreciate films across genres and languages, but also come for a fun movie night,” said Gargi.
Plans for the next term
In the third trimester of the academic year, the club plans to host a screening on the last Friday of every month, and to open the watchlist to suggestions from the student body. In the long term, they also hope to partner with film directors and producers for interactive screenings of indie films.
Ultimately, Radhika Chitkara added, the film club is imagined as just that – a break from the academic rigour of the university and a chance to connect with others through shared experiences and entertainment. She described the Film Club as “a space to wind down, to be entertained, to be moved and amused, to let one’s guard down — all the more important on a residential campus.”
As the film club expands its range through more screenings and events, it is to be hoped that such events, and other initiatives by student collectives, will offer more such spaces for the student community, and play a role in shaping the post-pandemic NLSIU.