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Bollywood Festival Host


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I applaud TCM's decision to showcase Indian movies and make them accessible to a wider audience.


I am extremely disappointed, however, in TCM's choice of cohost to introduce and put the films into perspective. An ordinary Indian movie fan would be far more articulate and knowledgeable about the specific films being showcased than Mr. Ismail Merchant has proven to be.


Mr. Merchant has only the most superficial grasp of information regarding each of the films being shown tonight -- the type of information that one can obtain by reading a badly written synopsis on the back of a DVD. To see someone who has spent many years in the film industry and worked with some talented Indian film professionals, at a loss for words when he should be giving insight into the selected film and its cast and crew was unbearable. He should perhaps host a genre that he is more familiar with -- the Merchant/Ivory films; he certainly is not an articulate advocate for the commercial Bollywood film.


May I suggest that TCM obtain the services of someone who is truly a fan of Bollywood movies? They are not difficult to find -- there are millions of them here in the US -- and they don't have a book to plug.

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You're on the money. I became frustrated watching Mr. Merchant trying to explain the movies and who and what's behind them. He came across as a bit incoherent. And the other host Robert Osbourne obviously knows next to nothing about them so that makes Mr. Merchant's haphazard effort even worse. He actually said there's no passion for older Hindi films in India - completely untrue. Why then are the older songs still so popular and still beign remixed for a newer generation? Basically the little intros by Robert Osbourne and Mr. Merchant are useless and haphazard - much like the selection of some of the movies - you don't learn anything from them. It seems very little thought was given to the selection. Why not show Devdas (voted one of the 10 best international movies last year by Time Magazine's critic) or Asoka instead of Rangeela? Those two movies would be far more appealing to a non-Indian audience. I have to wonder whether this was just hastily conceived to help plug his book. If they're going to do this it should be done well or not at all. Some of the film choices are great, but some aren't. And the print of Amar, Akbar, Anthony they showed was abysmal with several missing scenes. Anyone who'd never seen it before must have wondered what was going on.

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