On Friday, 10th June, Parsi Times film critic Hoshang K. Katrak, known for his encyclopedic knowledge and passion for films, was invited by Dignity Foundation as Guest Speaker to discuss ‘Early Indian Cinema (silent and talkies), with special emphasis on the contribution of Parsis, highlighting their pioneering achievements in Indian cinema. Equipped with his plethora of knowledge and an imitable style of putting forth the same, Hoshang took the enchanted audience on a trip down memory lane – taking it right from the start the very first films exhibited on 7 July, 1896, at the Watsons Hotel, the first Indian films notably ‘Pundalik’ and ‘Raja Harishchandra’, the major studios centered in and around Bombay, thorough to the Parsee pioneers – J. F. Madan, Ardeshir Irani, Pirojshah Mistry and Saraswati Devi… down to the current, admittedly scanty crop, other than the vastly talented Boman Irani, Shernaz Patel and Bomi Dotiwala.
Old-timers reminisced as some names, like JBH Wadia and brother Homi, Sohrab Modi, Pt. Firoze Dastoor, evoked sheer nostalgia. The interactive session that followed included the current film scene. With a strong presence throughout India, including a large numbers of Parsis as members, Dignity Foundation is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 with the sole aim of addressing senior citizen issues. Some of its programmes include withstanding elder abuse, counseling services, dementia day-care centre, loneliness mitigation, etc. For details, contact (022) 61381100 or log on to: www.dignityfoundation.com