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JUNE 22-JUNE 29
The Freer’s latest film series offers only three moviesbut don’t worry about being shortchanged. A trio of Bollywood films packs in more action, more music, and more color than a dozen flicks from less voluptuous cinematic traditions. The opening entry, Ram Gopal Varma’s Company (2 p.m. Sunday, June 22), is a gangland epic that stretches from Bombay to Hong Kong, where mobster Malik and his crewincluding fast-rising protégé Chanduflee after things get a little hot at home. When Chandu decides that Malik is too ruthless, the resulting gang war goes global. With Flashdance-y choreography set to cutting-edge Indipop, Varma’s film shows how filmmakers update the traditional Bollywood musical without jettisoning song-and-dance altogether. Because director Mani Ratnam is based in Madras rather than Bombay, A Peck on the Cheek (pictured; 7 p.m. Friday, June 27) is technically not a Bollywood film. The tale of a couple who travel with their adopted daughter to war-wracked Sri Lanka in hopes of finding the girl’s biological parents, this powerful film is both sweet and horrific. Ratnam tinkers with the Bollywood-musical formula, using A.R. Rahman’s Beatlesque songs and recasting dance numbers to express affection between parent and child rather than young lovers. Also featured is Hansal Mehta’s Don’t Take It to Heart (2 p.m. Sunday, June 29), in which a Bombay auto mechanic inspires a newspaper reporter to scriptwhat else?a Bollywood musical. The series runs to Sunday, June 29, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-4880. (Mark Jenkins)