RUSSIA & TURKEY
No Russian film can compete with the scenes involving a 19th-century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, as he travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200 plus years in one single take in the epic film Russian Arc (2002). It is a sublime look at history and costume as the camera goes from room to room. For a more contemporary look at Russian cinema, see the Golden Peacock winner at IFFI, Leviathan (2014).
Can we ever consider the Ottomans with the Russians? Yes. Both were great empires. Both make superb films. Watch Nuri Dilge Ceylan’s Once upon a time in Anatolia (2011) and The Wild Pear Tree (2018) to appreciate the brilliance of Turkish cinema. On Netflix is a great series called Ertugul (2014) which is a sumptuous cinematic costume feast.
PUNJAB & PAKISTAN
Punjabi cinema sometimes metonymously referred to as Pollywood is the Punjabi language film industry centred around the states of Punjab in India and Pakistan, based out of Amritsar, Punjab with its sister- subsidiary in Mohali. In 1947, the British province of Punjab was partitioned between India and Pakistan.
West Punjab became part of Pakistan and East Punjab became part of India. This compelled Punjabi film actors, filmmakers and musicians to work in the Bombay industry, including actors such as K.L. Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and singers such as Mohammed Rafi, Noorjahan and Shamshad Begum.
In the year 2018, the first ever war- based Punjabi movie Sajjan Singh Rangroot, set during World War I and starring Diljit Dosanjh, was released. It was a blockbuster that took Punjabi cinema to another level. Carry On Jatta 2 (2018) was another blockbuster and one of the highest grossing Punjabi movies of all time. Other commercially successful movies include Laung Laachi (2018), Laavaan Phere (2018) and Subedar Joginder Singh (2018).
Pakistan cinema has seen its ups and downs between Karachi and Lahore. Zinda Bhaag (Run for your Life, 2013) has been critically acclaimed with reviewers calling it ‹the best film to have come out of modern- day Pakistani cinema›. Zinda Bhaag went on to be Pakistan›s official submission to the Oscars (Foreign Film Category), the first after a gap of fifty years but did not make the final shortlist nominees. Our
favourite film is by the award winning Tisca Chopra – Chutney (2016), which won the national award for best short film in 2013, deservedly so for both its story and realistic wardrobe.
Wendell Rodricks is an award winning fashion designer, writer and activist who is currently working on opening India’s first costume museum in his native village in Goa, www.modagoamuseum.org. He teaches History of World Costume, and is trained in Hollywood and Paris.
Illustration by Fabian Gonsalves. You can follow his work on instagram.com/fabskribbler
Read more from The Peacock: Issue 9 (2019) here: