Don’t Miss Honolulu’s 10th Annual Bollywood Film Festival

Catch the 10th Annual Bollywood Film Festival at the Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre from Jan. 7–22.

Editors Note: Through our partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art, HONOLULU Magazine publishes a monthly blog written by Lesa Griffith, the museum’s communications director and a talented Hawai‘i writer on arts, culture and food.

  Dear Zindagi

Dear Zindagi. 
Photos: Courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art


In 2008, then-museum film curator Gina Caruso launched the Bollywood Film Festival at the Honolulu Museum of Art. She thought the genre, with its magnetic actors and sumptuous sets, deserved to be in the spotlight. She wasn’t sure what the response would be.


Still, Caruso charged ahead, with the blessing of museum trustee (and Bollywood devotee) Indru Watumull, who, along with the J. Watumull Fund, has sponsored the festival from day one. Caruso screened dozens of films on her TV at home and came up with a nine-film lineup ranging from the 1960 classic Mughal-E-Azam to the “first Hollywood Bollywood” film, Saawariya.


Her instincts were on the money—the Doris Duke Theatre was packed most nights for that first comprehensive survey of Bollywood films. Even though Caruso moved to Baltimore (where she is deputy director of the Creative Alliance), her baby continues to grow and celebrates its 10th birthday when the Bollywood Film Festival opens Jan. 7 with Dear Zindagi.




“Indian cinema—from the humor to the production value—is becoming more adventurous, polished and sophisticated,” says theater director Taylour Chang. “It’s been a treat having to screen and select films for the festival. Audiences can look forward to star-studded blockbusters as well as though-provoking films featuring up-and-comers.”


To celebrate the festival’s milestone, Chang has also included a night of live performance by the local Indian dance troupe Aaja Nachle on Jan. 22. Guests can see classical, folk and contemporary Indian dance—some of them accompanied by taiko drummers, a special Honolulu touch.


10th Annual Bollywood Film Festival, Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre, Jan. 7–22, click here to see the schedule.



Lesa GriffithLesa Griffith is director of communications at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Born in Honolulu, one of her early seminal art experiences was at the Honolulu Museum of Art, when on a field trip her high school art history teacher pointed out that the ermine cape in Whistler’s Portrait of Lady Meux was not just a cape—it was visual signage leading viewers’ eyes through the painting.