Two retrospectives devoted to rarely seen Indian films will coincide in Washington this month. The American Film Institute Theater has booked part of an Indian series recently presented by the Museum of Modern Art Film Library. Called "Film India: Contemporary Cinema," the series begins April 16, and consists of 20 features by directors who have emerged from the imposing shadow of Satyajit Ray.
Most of the films in the AFI series will be in Hindi with English subtitles. There are also selections in Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and Gujarati. A group unrepresented in this program, the Marathi, will be showcased in a series of weekend matinee performances at the Biograph, April 24-25 and May 1-2.
Seven films, ranging from an early '30s feature to a 1982 release, will be shown one time only during the Marathi festival. Series tickets are $15. A number of performers and filmmakers are expected to attend, and the final program at 11 a.m. on May 2, the controversial social drama "Aakrit," will be followed by a panel discussion attended by Amol and Chitra Palekar. For further information on the Marathi series call Dilip Chitre at 872- 0991 or Vijay Deshpande at 377-2845.
American University will host a "Third World" film series the weekend of April 16-18, with titles from South America, the Middle East and Africa. Series tickets are $12, individual admissions $5 for the general public, $4 for students. Call 686-2103.
The Black Film Institute has begun a month-long series about South Africa called "Images of Resistance" in association with the African Studies Department of Howard University. The free film-and- lecture programs are held Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Miner Auditorium of the University of the District of Columbia at 2565 Georgia Avenue NW.
John Simmons begins two units of a six- week seminar course called "Film and TV Financing" this Monday and Tuesday evening under the auspices of American Communications International, Suite 300, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. For information call Simmons at 775-1858.
The Washington Film Council holds its April luncheon meeting Wednesday at noon at the Key Bridge Marriott. Jim DeWitt, district sales manager for Eastman Kodak, will be guest speaker, discussing the company's interest in non-theatrical film production. Reservations should be booked with Inez Lohr at 363-6861 no later than Monday noon.
To no one's surprise, "Chariots of Fire" enjoyed a big surge at local theaters the first weekend after winning the Academy Award as best movie of 1981. There were also marginal gains for both "Reds" and "On Golden Pond." The weekend's biggest disappointment to exhibitors was "Victor, Victoria." Presumed to be a runaway hit, it got off to such a shaky start, nationally as well as locally, that rumors are already rumbling about an executive shuffle at MGM.
Shortly before upsetting the favored "Reds" and "On Golden Pond" at the Oscars, "Chariots of Fire" had also picked off major prizes from the British Academy of Film and TV Arts. In addition to best movie, it won the supporting actor (Ian Holm) and costume design awards. The scoring award did not go to Vangelis, the Oscar-winner for "Chariots," but to Carl Davis for the subtly indispensable score on "The French Lieutenant's Woman," which also took BFA prizes for best actress and sound. "Atlantic City," incidentally, won awards for director Louis Malle and actor Burt Lancaster. The BFA duplicated two Oscar awards presented a year earlier -- "Tess" for cinematography and "Raging Bull" for editing -- and also anticipated this year's art direction Oscar for "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Three days before the Oscars, the Writers Guild held its annual awards bash, notorious this year for an extended reading by Gore Vidal from the jeremiads of Admiral Rickover. The four prizes went to "Reds" and "On Golden Pond" in the dramatic division and "Arthur" and "Rich and Famous" in the comedy division. That, I believe, wraps up the movie award season.