Naya Daur (New Age)

Hooray for Bollywood

It’s man vs. machine in B.R. Chopra’s classic 1957 Bollywood film, the social comedy Naya Daur (New Age). To be absolutely accurate, it’s horse vs. machine, as poor but honest horse-cart driver Shankar (played by Indian superstar Dilip Kumar in full photogenic mode) battles against inevitable progress when a bus arrives in his rural village, ready to push all the tanga drivers into unemployment. There’s romance, jealousy, great local color and even some social conscience. Oh, there’s also plenty of singing and dancing. O.P. Nayyar’s score is downright infectious. (Wait until you hear the charming duet between Kumar and leading lady Vyjayanthimala while they sit in a cart. Set to the jangling rhythm of the horse’s gait, the new lovers sing their joy. It’s like some crazy dream straight out of Lubitsch — if Lubitsch had worked in Mumbai.) Leading off the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Hooray for Bollywood! series, Naya Daur has been digitally restored and lusciously colorized, which only adds to the fairy-tale gloss. 6 p.m. Friday, May 16, and Friday, May 23. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Sat., May 23, 6 p.m., 2009
 
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