A FILM about a champion female boxer and the heroic deeds of a flight attendant who saved hundreds of passengers when a plane was hijacked are just some of the films featured in the first Mabuhay Bollywood film festival which runs from Aug. 23 to 25 at the Shangri-La Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City.

“We have the largest movie industry in the world — we produce more movies than Hollywood does. We want to give you a snapshot on the kind of movies [we produce]… we have different genres, from typical Bollywood movies with song and dance and about carefree life and there are inspiring stories about people who braved adversity and those which are on an epic scale… with thousands of characters,” Jaideep Majumdar, the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, said during a press conference on Aug. 13.

In 2018, India produced over 1,800 feature films while the United States and Canada produced a combined 871 films, according to statistics portal Statista.

“It would be a good opportunity to introduce a movie festival from India where Filipinos can get to know more not only movies of India, but about the people of India and what makes us tick. You will be surprised that we are very similar — the same similar kind of social messaging, the similar issues that we face as a nation,” Mr. Majumdar added.

The film festival is held in celebration of 70 years of India-Philippine friendship. The festival is co-presented by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

The films in the festival include a selection of female-led films: the biopic Mary Kom (2014) by Omung Kumar which stars Priyanka Chopra as India’s “Magnificent Mary Kom” who won the 2008 World Boxing Championships; and Neerja (2016) by Ram Madhvani, a thriller-drama based on the true-story of Neerja Bhanot, a young flight attendant who died saving more than 200 passengers on the hijacked Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986.

Also included in the female-led lineup are thriller Pink (2016) by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury which follows how three young women try to clear their names after being accused of a crime by a well-connected man.

“Apart from the twists and turns of a court drama, the Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury-helmed movie puts women’s rights and dignity front and center of its story,” a press release said.

Mystery film Kahaani (2012) by Sujoy Ghosh, meanwhile, follows the journey of a pregnant woman who arrives in Kolkata from London to search for her missing husband, who might or might not even exist.

The festival also includes in its lineup two epic fantasy films because “it wouldn’t be a great introduction to Indian cinema without a taste of epic fantasy films,” according to the release.

Bahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), both directed by S.S. Rajamouli, follows the life of Sivudu, a foundling at a small village who sets off to reclaim his identity and fulfill his destiny after meeting a beautiful warrior on a quest to save his queen.

Action-comedy Bang Bang! (2014) by Siddharth Anand is a remake of the 2010 Hollywood film, Knight and Day, on how the life of a staid bank receptionist changes after meeting a handsome thief.

A quintessential Bollywood film, Queen (2013) by Vikas Bahl, is all about a young woman who goes on a honeymoon trip alone after her fiancé calls off the wedding.

Finally, another failed marriage, this time with guns, goons, and fighting spirit, rounds up the festival. Tanu Weds Manu (2011) by Aanand L. Rai is a romantic drama about a London-based doctor who comes to India to choose a bride and finds one who does not believe in arranged marriages.

Mabuhay Bollywood runs from Aug. 23 to 25 at the Shangri-La Plaza Red Carpet Cinemas. The films are free on a first-come, first-served basis. For the screening schedule and other information, visit the Shangri-La Plaza Facebook page or call 370-2500 loc. 597. — Zsarlene B. Chua