The film society culture began in India around the period of the nation’s independence from imperial powers. The first film society, Calcutta Film Society, was established in Kolkata by a dynamic group of individuals, among whom was Satyajit Ray. Other film societies popped up rampantly across the country. Soon, places like Bombay, Madras, Patna, Agra and a few others joined the ranks of cities with film societies.
Following these events, the Federation of Film Societies of India (FSSI) in December of 1959 was made up by six film clubs namely, Calcutta Film Society, Delhi Film Society, Bombay Film Society, Madras Film Society, Patna Film Society and Roorkee Film Society. This film movement stressed promoting “good cinema” instead of mainstream melodramatic films.
If you enjoy parallel films and foreign arthouse cinema, you can explore the many film clubs, auditoriums and mingle with other cinephiles within Delhi. During your free time, you can always look up the screening schedules of various locations in the city and enjoy the films on a pocket-friendly budget, as admission to these screenings is generally free of cost.
The Indian Habitat Centre is a multi-purpose cultural hub in the Lodhi Colony of Delhi. It has a robust architecture full-equipped for various events. The place boasts a grand auditorium where it holds regular screenings as well as hosts film festivals. Internally, the cultural centre also has a film society that looks after the film curation, screening, borrowing and other logistics. You can check for the schedule and details of films playing at their auditoriums on their website. Indian Habitat Centre shows a variety of films ranging from European arthouse, Indian parallel and other renowned films from around the globe. All the films include English subtitles.
How to reach: The nearest metro to Indian Habitat Centre is Khan Market, 1.9 km. Multiple buses will drop you near IHC, their numbers 396, 405 and 408.
Alliance Francaise is an Indo-French cultural centre in Delhi. The place is famous for its French language courses, art exhibitions, cultural shows, and enriching film screenings. Their M. L. Bhartia Auditorium is a great place to join, push back and enjoy a film. The Cine Club of Alliance Francaise holds regular screenings on multiple days each week. Aligned with the motive of the place, the club focuses on showing French New Wave films, avant-garde and surrealist films, French documentaries and realist cinema, as well as contemporary parallel and mainstream French films with English subtitles. The place is marked by its vicinity to Lodhi Gardens, the green-lungs of Delhi, at just 700 m.
How to reach: The nearest metro to Alliance Francaise is Khan Market, a 12 minute walk. You can also reach the place by buses 440, 400, 47B and 522A, among others.
The Goethe-Institut Delhi situated in the Max Mueller Bhawan is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany in Delhi. The place conducts regular screenings of arthouse and mainstream films made by German and Turco-German directors. At times, the place also arranges open-air film screenings supplemented with English subtitles in its park.
How to reach: The nearest metros to Max Mueller Bhawan are Janpath (900 m) and Patel Chowk (1.7 km). You can also take a bus from bus numbers 433, 440, 615 and 722, among others, to reach the place.
The Film Cub of India International Centre is one of India's most prestigious and oldest films. Located in Lodhi Colony, IIC has great architecture to facilitate cultural events across different forms. The place holds regular screenings and shows renowned films of all kinds ranging from disparate film movements, genres and styles.