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Week of March 24, 2004

Laughing Club of India with India Cabaret (unrated) Mira Nair. In two skillful documentaries (35 and 60 minutes, respectively), celebrated director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Mississippi Masala) captures dramatically different facets of contemporary India: one charming and heartening, the other appalling and sexist. Ascribing to the belief that laughter stimulates healthy lives and positive attitudes, in 1995 Dr. Madan Kataria began clubs devoted to laughing. Now men and women, children and adults, healthy and sick of all classes in over 450 international groups gather to laugh. This amusing video promotes and prompts our own restorative laughter. In contrast, India Cabaret particularizes repressive dictates that offer three women -- Lovina, Rekha and Rosy -- few options. Scorned for their nonconformity to conservative roles, these struggling dancers expose a double standard as hypocritical as it is oppressive. Laughing Club is in English and Hindi with English subtitles. India Cabaret has voiceover English translation. The documentaries screen at 7 p.m. Friday, March 26, through Sunday, March 28, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)

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