March 28, 2024

Bollywood Films Come to SCA!

By Benjamin Pola

Ankur Tewari, Dean Daley, Priya Jaikumar, Zoya Akhta and  Ritesh Sidhwani in Norris Theatre
(L-R) Ankur Tewari, Dean Daley, Priya Jaikumar, Zoya Akhta and  Ritesh Sidhwani in Norris Theatre.

Priya Jaikumar, Chair of the Cinema and Media Studies Division at USC's School of Cinematic Arts (SCA), led the kickoff event for the Bollywood: Big Screens + Streaming held in early March at USC. This collaboration between SCA, USC Visions and Voices, and Indian production companies Excel Entertainment and Tiger Baby signaled the start of promising new opportunities and research emerging from India’s film industry. 

The 3-day event, filled with screenings of Bollywood film and conversations with Bollywood filmmakers, came shortly after the University’s visit to India in January 2024, where Dean Daley and Professor Jaikumar participated in the entertainment panel at the USC-India Innovation Summit, exploring connections and collaborations within the Indian cinema landscape.

Bollywood: Big Screens + Streaming commenced with a panel of distinguished Indian filmmakers, moderated by Jaikumar. This panel included Ritesh Sidhwani (Co-Founder, Excel Entertainment, and Producer of Gully Boy), Zoya Akhtar (Co-Founder, Tiger Baby Films, and Writer/Director/Producer of Gully Boy and The Archies), and Ankur Tewari (Music Composer of Gully Boy and The Archies) following a screening of Gully Boy, A coming-of-age story based on the lives of street rappers in Mumbai, in Norris Theatre. 

The conversation spanned various topics, ranging from the rich legacy of Indian cinema to the disparities between the Indian and Hollywood film markets. Jaikumar conscientiously explored cultural influences on each filmmakers' craft, Bollywood's distribution structures, potential cross-industry collaborations, and the diverse creative ethos driving each filmmaker.

The rarity of having an entire creative team from a Bollywood film assembled in one forum was not lost on attendees. This sentiment resonated deeply with audience members, who expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to engage with filmmakers who mirrored their own identities, fostering a sense of visibility and connection within the global cinematic landscape.

Bollywood: Big Screens + Streaming sparked compelling conversations about global cinema and media, while also bringing the magic of Bollywood films to USC, allowing students and the larger USC community to experience these cinematic journeys on the big screen.

For more about USC in India visit: