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RC Hosts Esteemed Indian Director, Producer


Written by Robby Mangum

On Oct. 29, RC film buffs got a chance to eat dinner with Pankaj Rishi Kumar, an award-winning director, producer, and documentary maker from India. They then viewed one of his films. Students from both the screen studies concentration and sociology department were invited to this event at the Monterey House. 

Kumar discussed his career over a meal of Commons’ best Indian food. He originally worked in Bollywood but quit after becoming discontent with the system. The first film he produced independently was about the theater his father had built, named ‘Kumar Talkies.’ This later became the name of Kumar’s film studio, which consists of he and one assistant.

Titled Janani’s Juliet, the special screening that night chronicled a production group in India’s take on Romeo and Juliet. Throughout this production, the three women bidding to play Juliet were exploring what it means to be ‘in love,’ especially in the context of honor killings.

Honor killings are acts of vengeance, usually death, committed by family members against female family members. Victims are perceived to have brought dishonour upon the family.. Janani’s Juliet discusses the murder of Kausalya Shankar’s husband by her family. Interviews with her form part of the documentary.