BENGALURU: Sharanya Subramaniam, an architect by profession, got to know about The Parallel Cinema Club in April 2021, through a friend. She gave the club meet up a shot, which she thought was a one-off thing. But now Subramaniam is a regular at the movie screenings and discussions. “The movie club has helped me appreciate art. As an architect, it exposed me to different designs and has helped in broadening my horizons,” explains the 28-year-old, who now watches movies from a different perspective. The Parallel Cinema Club (TPCC), which is mostly run by volunteers, is a year-old film forum, which invites film buffs to watch movies and gives a space to discuss them too.
Nikhil Waiker, the founder of the group, says the film club started because he felt there was a lack of forums to discuss ‘intelligent movies’. The name of the club, he says, was inspired by the parallel cinema movement of the 1960s, when directors like Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen etc started making movies. “Initially, I wanted to get together to discuss movies with like-minded people at National College, Jayanagar and posted it on Reddit. That time we got a good response and people turned up. The club sort of formed on its own,” says Waiker, who is currently studying his master’s in physics.
TPCC has screened movies like Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, Mark Cousin’s The Story of Film: An Odyssey to name a few. “One of the most important things we make sure while screening movies is that they are from different genres,” says Waiker, adding that he is running the club both online and offline. Agrees Vinayak Bhat, founder of the Bangalore Film Forum(BFF). “We want to give variety to people. We explore different genres and different eras of movies,” says Bhat, a filmmaker. Bringing up Baby starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant; an Iranian movie named Salam Cinema, Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid are some of the movies that they have screened. At present, BFF screens around two movies a month and update them on social media. “Currently, we are relying on social media to spread the word. We don’t have a proper setup yet to put out a newsletter,” says Bhat.
These groups don’t just stop at American and European movies. Vikalp Bengaluru, a group which is run by five filmmakers, is known for screening documentaries. “Bengaluru does not have a documentary- viewing culture. The whole idea behind organising these screenings is to expose the audience to documentaries regularly,” says Sushma Veerappa, a filmmaker. Vikalp, which was earlier screening documentaries at Everest Theatre in Fraser Town, is now doing it at Bangalore International Centre o n c e a month.