Shalom Bollywood: The Untold Story of Indian Cinema

Dir. Danny Ben-Moshe | 100 min
Documentary Australia / India 2017 DC Premiere

Monday, May 78:30 PM Edlavitch DCJCC

Saturday, May 1212:15 PM AFI Silver Theatre Pre-Sale Only*

*Saturday screenings before 6:15pm are pre-sale only in observance of Shabbat. Tickets to these screenings will not be available for purchase at the door.

A celebration of the all-singing, all-dancing history of the world’s largest film industry, Shalom Bollywood reveals the unlikely story of the 2,000-year-old Indian-Jewish community and its formative place in shaping Indian cinema.

In the nascent days of Bollywood, it was taboo for Hindu and Islamic women to perform on-screen, so Indian Jewish women were the leading actresses. Using stage names, the women weren’t obviously identified as Jewish, and were commonly thought to be Christian or Muslim.

Learned the history and looking to experience a Bollywood classic with new eyes? Join us for a special screening of Raj Kapoor’s Shree 420.

May 7 screening followed by a Q&A with Kenneth X. Robbins, a collector and archivist of Indian history, art, and cinema, moderated by Franz Afraim Katzir, founding director of Sephardic Heritage International DC (SHIN DC).

Co-presented by Sephardic Heritage International DC (SHIN DC) Embassy of Australia


May 7 screening followed by a Q&A with Kenneth X. Robbins, a collector and archivist of Indian history, art, and cinema, moderated by Franz Afraim Katzir, founding director of Sephardic Heritage International DC (SHIN DC).

Kenneth X. Robbins, M.D., is a psychiatrist, collector, archivist, and scholar. His interests include local and regional Indian rulers and Indian minority groups like Jews and African Muslims.

He has edited three books: African Elites in India, Jews and the Indian National Art Project, and Western Jews in India. Further, he is the co-author of Jewish Heritage of the Deccan and ‘Africans in India: From Slaves to General and Rulers,’ which appears in NYPL Point. He is currently working on multiple volumes, including Muslims and Jews in South Asia, Indian Jews in the Movies, Holocaust Era Refugees in India, Africans in India, and Maharajas and Nawabs of ‘Gujarat’. The latter will be the first volume in a series documenting the history of all the Indian Princely States.

Dr. Robbins has also organized scholarly conferences and curated numerous exhibitions on Indian history, art, medicine, philately, religion, and cinema. His exhibit on African generals and rulers in India has been on display at the United Nations and dozens of venues on five continents—the Indian Ministry of Culture commissioned a show for the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi, which presents a comprehensive history of Indian Jews and their contributions to life in South Asia. His traveling exhibit on Jewish actresses in Bollywood is presently on view at Houston’s Margolis Gallery for Fotofest and another exhibit on Jews in India will open at the East West Center in Hawaii in June. Dr. Robbins is also organizing an international symposium dealing with South Asian Sufis, to be held in Washington this October, and another on Jews in India, to be held in Kerala in January 2019.

Franz Afraim Katzir is the founding director of Sephardic Heritage International DC (SHIN DC), a cultural diplomacy organization. SHIN DC builds intercultural bridges and raises awareness and understanding of Sephardic heritage through innovative programs that connect the cultures, arts and history of the Middle East, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, the Balkans, and Central & Western Asia. He has a Master of Science degree in Linguistics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a National Science Foundation fellow, and studied Jewish law and philosophy at academic institutions in the U.S. and Israel.  Mr. Katzir has worked on the Hill on various issues involving Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary.  In addition to giving talks internationally, he has published on topics in linguistics, as well as on issues regarding foreign and Jewish affairs worldwide. He is also a fan of Bollywood films and has worked with Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins on various projects regarding Sephardic and Indian Jewish communities.



  • A lively, audience-friendly documentary that can be over-obvious and coy at times, but is full of surprises.Hollywood Reporter


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Ben Saari


This event finished on May 13, 2018.