A few days ahead of the release of Danny Boyle’s Mumbai-set Slumdog Millionaire, the eighth annual MIAAC Film Festival arrives with a grab bag of U.S. premieres. Boyle’s typically peppy yarn and Deepa Mehta’s Heaven on Earth are the mainstream headliners in a narrative selection that, based on limited previews, might better be skipped in favor of chancing an intriguing-sounding doc or deep-archive rarity. Instead of squirming through ’70s prole-epic past master Shyam Benegal’s risibly written new biopic about Gandhi’s arms-advocating contemporary, Subhas Chandra Bose, perhaps take a seat at Chetan Anand’s pioneering 1946 Cannes winner, Lowly City, a sewer-town twist on Gorky’s Lower Depths. And since Richie Mehta’s Amal, a/k/a Eccentric Moneybags Leaves Autorickshaw Driver Multimillion-Dollar Tip, is a standard-issue noble-pauper fable, why not dawdle behind the scenes on a shady Bollywood set in Liz Mermin’s Shot in Bombay? (The gangster folly documented here, Shootout at Lokhandwala, will also screen.) For spectacle, the 1929 silent film A Throw of the Dice presents a tale of two kings adapted from The Mahabharata; recently released on DVD, it’s worth catching here instead with a live orchestra performing Nitin Sawhney’s score.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 5, 2008