Geographies of the cinematic public: Notes on regional, national and global histories of Indian cinema, R Vasudevan

Tags: India, NewYork, University Press, Muslim, Indian cinema, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, Pakistan, Raj Kapoor, Light of Asia, Brian Larkin, art cinema, Sri Lankan, Indian film, London, film culture, Wimal Dissanayake, Sri Lankan cinema, Film Industry, Hollywood, subcontinental, Sri Lankan film culture, Ashley Rathnavibhushana, West Bengal, narrative film, Bombay, Tamil film industry, Sri Lanka, Ashley Rathnavibhusana, South East Asia, Laila Majnu, William Van der Heide, Devika Rani, Dharamveer Singh, Debaki Bose, narrative structure, Himanshu Rai, West Pakistan, Meena Shorey, Profling Sri Lankan Cinema, Tamil film, modern technologies, The Indian Players Company, Urdu Hindi cinema, Hindi film, OxfordUniversity Press, South India, Delhi, Niranjan Pal, British India, Columbia University Press, Imperial Studios, British Film Institute, London Philharmonic Hall, Indian Films, Philharmonic Hall, Film Federation of India, Bhaskar Sarkar, Hindi cinema, Hollywood cinema, Soviet Union, national territories, Mushtaq Gazdar, East Pakistan, Alamgir Kabir, national community, Do Bigha Zameen, Soviet films, IPTA, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Guru Dutt, Bengali novels, state formation
Content: RAVI S. VASUDEVAN Geographies of the Cinematic Public: Notes on Regional, National and Global Histories of Indian Cinema This article outlines an argument about the ways in which we need to think of film publics beyond the ideological and territorial parameters of the nation. It works with the premise that the cinema is a field constituted by a shifting amalgamation of people, technologies, narrative forms, performance cultures, work practices and business contexts as these move across and overlap territorial boundaries. Indian cinema, or, more broadly, South Asian cinema provides a case of film cultures which regularly exceeded the boundaries of the national in terms of the resources they drew upon in film production, the wider geographies of production and exhibition they were entangled in, and the complicated ways these cultural formations registered shifts in political and cultural orders instituted by a succession of polities. However, while seeking to complicate the national as a coherent or homogeneous cultural entity inhabiting distinct territorial space, I would argue that we still need to remain alert to the significance of the nation-state, and, indeed, of the nation in defining crucial parameters of historical possibility.The first manages and administers populations, generates cultural policies, produces laws and polices practices, through censorship JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 94
and other means, in the name of the national good. In doing this, a democratic nation-state is accountable in various ways to generate policies that will provide for the possibilities of cultural expression and representation in the multi-ethnic/religious and cultural circumstances which inevitably define most national entities (however uneven and outright hierarchical and marginalizing such policies are). Further, as I will suggest, in the 1940s, in the wake of Second World War, the decline of colonial authority, and the formation of the nation-state, we will observe the emergence of several new codifications of the national. These ranged from the development of state documentary production, the emergence of film art as an object of intellectual cultivation and state patronage, and a range of `regional' formations. These were not merely region qua region, as in the manner of a disaggregated cultural series, but also involved a reframing of Bombay's Hindi cinema, for a long time the most powerful of India's film industries, in terms of regional inputs. It is the case of Bombay that I will look at in particular, to engage the complexity of the national as a field of differentiated cultural production.1 There is an element of territorial fatalism inflicted by state building as it puts together diverse cultural and linguistic formations within a somewhat forced political and administrative integrity. This has had substantial effects on the terms of cultural flow and the networks of commercial enterprise. Histories of colonialism and nationalism are central here, bringing with them an administrative and governmental logic of organization that determined the spaces within which mobility for work, to trade products, to mine and share resources took place. However, we will observe that even within the formal constraints of territorial polities, there were a variety of possibilities for cultural flow beyond the territorial state, even if these were not of the protean form signaled by contemporary digital systems of copying, distribution and delivery. I will proceed into this broad mapping of film publics by attending to two distinct moments. The first was the period before the formation of nation-states, what I will call the pre-national, which related to the history of film in the subcontinent under the British Empire.The second arises after the Second World War and extends into the period of nation-state formation.
I. Empire and cinema
`Empire Film'
One of the key issues to have emerged in the historiography of the British Empire is the complex design of imperial strategies of transformation. In the post First World War period, the British economy found itself vulnerable in the face of international competitors, and British cinema unable to withstand the domination of the Hollywood cinema. The argument was put forward that the Empire should form a market for its constituent economies, and that this would be facilitated through a system of imperial preference. Priya Jaikumar has done excellent work on the problem of empire cinema as an index of British imperial vulnerability, and suggests that it foreshadowed the process of decolonization that was to acquire decisive momentum after the Second World War. 2 British political economy sought to secure its cinema industry by building a protected domestic market through a quota act, and through an empire market that would be served by productions within the empire, setting up a space where Hollywood could be held off and British cinema gain a niche.The argument for an empire cinema significantly moved beyond the idea of British national production to ideas of collaboration between different countries and the deployment of Empire as resource. Jaikumar points out the slipperiness of the term Empire film, and how it could range from British and imperial resources in the making of films, to films made by colonies and dominions. Such vagueness also facilitated the possibility of films of various types being eligible for a quota in the British market against the incursions made by Hollywood.3 In some definitions anticipating the imagination of a commonwealth which was to emerge after colonialism, with Britain at its center, Empire film spoke specifically to distinctive economic and Cultural resources. I would speculate that this included access to customs and traditions which would include anything from the oriental court through to caste typologies and village imagery, as well as the natural world, a world which British rulers could contrast to the world produced by the emergent American Imperium, and its unleashing of all sorts of new dynamics and disruptive energies. In the context of the cinema, a case in point was the anxiety exhibited by colonial rulers about the impact of western films, and in particular their exhibition of western social and sexual mores, on the `traditional' societies they administered. Anxious for their own race authority, British officials argued that it was American rather than British films which were responsible for this situation.4 While the imperial preference argument was not bought by colonial subjects, a Colonial Film Committee was appointed in 1929 with the following terms of reference: JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 96
`the use of the cinematograph as an instrument of education; the supply and exhibition of British films; and censorship". The latter was an admission that British film too needed to be monitored and censored, so as to avoid the danger of `demoralizing' colonial subjects (and the authority of their rulers).5 One of the representatives on the Committee was Harry Bruce Woolfe, a significant film producer of this period, whose career intersects with the issue of the Empire film and of `Empire as resource'. I will take Woolfe's company, British Instructional, to suggest the spectrum of investments linking British patriotism, instructional and documentary film practices, and the projects of Empire. British Instructional Film, set up in 1919 was in its first decade of operations known for what appeared to be a diverse set of filmmaking practices.These included a host of successful reconstructions of the British war effort, such as The Battle of Jutland, (1921), Zeegrube, (1924), Ypres (1925) and Mons (1926) and a longer-term profile in the sphere of educational films, especially the well-known Secrets of Nature, (1922-1933)6. British Instructional also made sponsored `contract' films, "amongst others for the Admiralty, War Office, Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Electricity Board, and many publicity films for private electrical companies." Subsequently, Woolfe also produced patriotic documentary films with a strong imperial slant, the best known of which was England Awake, (Bruce Woolfe and John Buchan, 1932). Planned as a morale booster in November 1931, during the economic depression, it shows British achievements in engineering, science and industry since 1815. It mixes clips from travel films, the war and some industrial sequences, and theatrical reconstruction of historical sequences. With breath-taking absurdity, a brisk tour of the modern Empire is conducted by a double exposure Duke of Wellington, who gives a commentary worthy of a newsreel editor. The film is marked by... a reverential attitude to the Empire and nostalgia for what is seen as a golden age of happiness for all before 1914.7 Of particular interest for our concerns was British Instructional's involvement in the making of two films relating to Indian subjects, Shiraz (1928) and A Throw of Dice (1929) in collaboration with the Indian film entrepreneur Himanshu Rai, and, in the case of Shiraz, in collaboration with the German studio UFA as well. At first glance, this seems a diverse portfolio. However, the connections JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 97
between war-related filmmaking and instructional films are not as remote as one would expect, though this is not the context to explore them.8 More pertinently, the engagement with Empire reflected in Britain Awake indicates the broad orbit within which British patriotism, empire and development went hand in hand in the films of British Instructional. It also reflected the great interest in film as a medium to explore and document new territories and spaces, captured through the exhilaration of travel films and films documenting expeditions, and this also included an extension of film to technologies of aerial photography for map making.9 Bruce Woolfe himself `had a great interest in nature in the wild' and undertook expeditions in Africa and Canada, and also produced the first feature film to be made in West Africa, Palaver (Barkas, 1926).10This appears to be a specifically colonial film, in which the "general idea was to show the life of a British district officer in a remote part of the Empire, administering justice, building roads and bridges, teaching the natives to develop their country and live peaceably together".11 More complex was the oriental subject. Here, the genealogy of connections between British deployment of new technologies of visualization can be situated within a project of colonial knowledge, as part of a longer history of colonial landscape painting, as in the genre of the company school.12 While this connection remains to be explored, another line of enquiry will take us in a slightly different direction, where the `orient' offered film industries a host of attractions in their strategy to gather film audiences. These attractions ranged from the exotic ornamentation of `eastern' courts, through to primitive and mystical cultures attractive to a swiftly modernizing and rationalizing west. Here, the Empire provided an array of vistas, of profilmic sites, as it were, which the British industry sought to mine in its bid to assert a presence in film markets threatened by Hollywood domination. It was said that British Instructional were so encouraged by the collaboration that the company considered opening up a studio in India to manufacture films for the local market.13 It was with Shiraz that the term `empire as resource' was evoked quite markedly in trade publicity, and where the resource in question was undoubtedly oriental spectacle. Thus the British film trade paper Bioscope proclaimed that The cast included over 50, 000 human beings, some 300 camels, and seven elephants, while the whole standing army of the State of Jaipur ­ camels and camel guns, horse and foot ­ was pressed into JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 98
service for the big desert scenes. "Shiraz" it is claimed, represents a serious attempt at exploiting the immense cinematographic resources of our Indian Empire... H. Bruce Woolfe says: "I had long had the idea of making use of the resources of the Indian Empire and eventually approached the Indian Trade Commissioner on the subject. The Trade Commissioner was enthusiastic about it and gave the greatest assistance.14 However, orientalist film was many sided in its production, and did not fit any single design, for these were collaborative works whose overall management and function was not so easily circumscribed. As the British trade magazine Kinematograph Weekly noted: Collaboration between producers and renters of two or more countries is on the increase. Results of such a system have proved in most cases, to be very successful, and its adoption on a much bigger scale is to be expected during the coming year. It was not easy to effect a commercial `collaboration' in the beginning.There were many obstacles for the parties to overcome, especially the treatment of the story, which must be made according to the taste of each country. In some cases this did not meet with the success anticipated, but in the majority of cases collaboration was most satisfactory financially.15 In the case of both Shiraz, (1928) and the earlier Rai production Light of Asia, (1926) the enterprise benefited not only from British orientalist interests in film, but German ones too. As Thomas Brandlmeier points out, Rai arrived in Germany in propitious circumstances, with an important German orientalist film such as two-part The Indian Tomb (Joe May, 1921) just having appeared.16 The main players involved in Rai's venture were the Ostens and their Emelka company of Munich, associated primarily with the German heimat or homeland film, a genre known for its idealized rendering of German village and hill communities, and its race imaginary. This background of the key German collaborators perhaps added another layer of meaning to this particular configuration of the east as other. Thus Niranjan Pal, scriptwriter for Himansu Rai, recounted his irritation with Franz Osten's insistence that characters in Indian films had to be dark in colour to be believable to light-skinned German audiences.17 Then, and perhaps most important of all, there was the figure of Himansu Rai himself. Any standard history of Indian film provides a potted account of the young Bengali notable who came to take a law degree in England JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 99
only to be carried away by the possibilities offered by the world of theatre and cinema. Something of the aspirations involved in the emergent Indian film enterprise is indicated in the opening titles of Light of Asia: The leading characters in this film are portrayed by The Indian Players Company ­ a unique organization of its kind in the world ­ which is composed of Ladies and Gentlemen belonging to the Indian Aristocracy who have given up their professional careers as Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and Professors to bring about a renaissance of the Dramatic Art of India ­ this being their first and only appearance on the photoplay screen.18 That this was a case of the Indian modern staging a spectacle of the spiritual orient for the west was clear in the prologue which follows. The images of the country, a montage of traditional spaces and monuments, new technologies of transportation, and the oriental bazaar, come to be diegetically presented as a series of vistas viewed by foreign tourists. The culmination of this exposition of oriental vistas takes place at Bodhgaya, associated with the religious life of the Buddha, and the recounting by a wizened old man of the story of how the Buddha chose his path of renunciation. There was no one version of the East retailed by these films, or by Rai as entrepreneur who was closely associated with the filmmaking. Thus Light of Asia extolled the virtues of the east as a place of sensitivity and spiritual advancement, Shiraz of mystical romance in its narrative of how the Taj Mahal was built as a monument to love, and A Throw of Dice a story of courtly intrigue and aristocratic hubris. However, they were all united at one level in terms of the attractions they offered audiences, even if narrative structure sometimes demanded a distancing and even a denunciation of these attractions. It was quite clear in the British film trade that the principal `resource' lay in the spectacle of the royal personage, the court, and the retinue of bejeweled courtiers and tributaries, processions of slaves, and caparisoned elephants that festooned the films.And Rai too heavily publicized the outlays made by the Maharajah of Jaipur for The Light of Asia, including the avowed loan of expensive heirlooms and other jewellery.19 The ambivalence built into the relationship between a narrative structure that urged renunciation and transcendent love and a mise en scene that gloried in the spectacle of royalty can at one level be made sense of in the significant presence of princely India in these films.These parts of India were formally independent of British rule, even as they were in crucial strategic and JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 100
economic connections overseen by the Raj. However, they could represent a different engagement and even leadership capacity in the mobilization of modern technologies in industry, resource management, as for example dams and electricity projects, and in the sphere of the arts, for example in their patronage of photography and the cinema. Light of Asia and Shiraz were shot with the support of the Maharajah of Jaipur, and, in western India, the Kolhapur royal family set up film concerns, Kolhapur Cinetone and Shalini Cinetone. The early film pioneer Hiralal Sen showed his actualities to zamindar or landlord households in Bengal, and Debaki Bose and Pramathesh Barua, who became leading figures of the early sound cinema in Bengal received patronage from the Hyderabad Nizam.20 The `east' then appears in a strange and ambiguous light in royal patronage of modern technological, representational and aesthetic enterprise: it is as if the royal orient organized itself as spectacle, in full complicity, initially, with the modern middle class face of the film industry, a spectacle that was both for foreign viewership and to cultivate local audiences. Such an orientalism was not anti-modern, then, nor anti-national, but was a critical initial vector to organize capital and technology for what would subsequently be at the service of modern social and national agenda. The division between the oriental and the national was, of course, always problematic.Thus while I do not want to dwell on Himanshu Rai's subsequent trajectory too much in this essay, we should nevertheless reiterate the well known continuities between the earlier pattern of entrepreneurship and the later, setting up interesting links between a cinematic orientalism and the emergence of national cultural production.Thus when Rai set up Bombay Talkies in 1934 to cater to local audiences, this initiative was undertaken with the same German experts who were central both to the technical and imaginative components of the earlier initiative. As opposed to the court of oriental provenance in the early cinema, the emblematic narrative figure for the second `moment' was defined by the imperatives of social reform and national address.This was the Indian village, available in a host of different avatars during the relatively brief studio period of the 1930s and 1940s.The Bombay Talkies version was arguably a consciously commodified image of the Indian village, treating it in films such as Achut Kanya/Untouchable Girl (1935) by highlighting the gloss of village fairs, and the glamour of the star Devika Rani as the untouchable girl of the title.21 We can only wonder at the possible reverberations between representations of a bucolic German world in the heimat film and the evocation of peasant life in Achut Kanya, a JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 101
multi-sited project of film research which might offer interesting returns. Empire and cultural flow If `empire as resource' signaled multiple, and sometimes overlapping agenda, an additional consideration relates to the dynamics unleashed by the political economy of empire in its bid to mobilize its colonial subjects for imperial economic and strategic agenda.Thus labour was mobilized for public works and plantation economies in a host of colonial possessions, and merchants, soldiers and sailors for imperial trade, commerce and military interests. New technologies of communication and transportation released large numbers of people for rapid mobility, much of which was difficult to control or regulate. In fact, historians of colonial mobility have stressed how the British Empire often required to keep boundaries relatively porous in order to facilitate the mobility of populations for the servicing of empire. Historians have shown how such a mobilization of peoples and goods offered the possibilities of setting up networks for support and to demand rights of residence and incipient citizenship in different parts of the imperial possessions.22 My interest here is to highlight the network, and the movement of the cinema in this epoch. While research is as yet underdeveloped in terms of gauging these flows, we know that by the time of independence, Indian film exports were being made to Fiji, East Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and the West Indies.23 This followed the logic of empire in tracking Indian populations, providing them as it were with requisite resources for cultural reproduction. But it was also facilitating a new, supranational culture of consumption, just as Hollywood was doing in a rather different way. What is suggestive is the way in which new networks functioned beyond diasporic needs to build linkages with new groups and constituencies. One documented instance of this is the case of Malaysian Cinema. In his book on the subject, William Van der Heide writes of the arrival of BJ Rajhans in the area in the early 1930s, and the production of the film Laila Majnu for the local market in 1933. This was the beginning of a longer sojourn, when Indian filmmakers, the best known of who were Dhiresh Ghosh and L Krishnan, became part of the Malaysian cinema, making movies in Malay in Singapore and subsequently in Kuala Lumpur, and as part of a local film culture which otherwise favoured Indian and Hongkong products in keeping with key dimensions of the ethnic profile of Malaysian society. Krishnan adapted Indian movies for Malay cinema, and subsequently became JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 102
an iconic figure of the Malay cinema establishment. Amongst his credits included a Malay version of Devdas, Selamat Tinggul Kekasihku (Farewell My Beloved 1955). In the 1950s Van Der Heide estimates that of some 149 Malay films made in the decade, Indian filmmakers made 107.24 My argument here has nothing to do with extolling the reach and significance of Indian cinema and its film professionals. Indian filmmaking was relatively developed amongst the colonial possessions, and Indian filmmakers, like others, were moving widely to seek possibilities of employment and advancement. My concern rather is with understanding the cultural network and public world signaled by film subjects such as Laila Majnu made in a wide diversity of languages and settings. There were two silent versions (JJ Madan, 1922, and Manilal Joshi, 1927), several Hindustani versions (JJ Madan, 1931; Kanjibhai Rathod, 1931, Nayyar/Nazir, 1945) including Roop K. Shorey`s Majnu (1935) made in Lahore. In the early 1930s, the Persian film entrepreneur, Abdul Hossein Seponta, approached Ardeshir Irani, the owner of the successful Imperial Studios in Bombay, to make several films in Persian, including Laila Majnu and Shireen Farhad.25 AndViola Shafik has also pointed to the importance of Laila Majnu in terms of music and film narrative for the Egyptian film context.26 The Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema also notes versions in Persian (East India Film, 1936), Pushtu (Sarhad Pics, 1941), Persian (A. Spenta 1936)27, Punjabi (Dharamveer Singh, 1941), Tamil (F. Nagoor, 1950; P.S. Ramakrishna Rao, Tamil and Telugu, 1949) during this period.28 One way of thinking of this is surely to return not to India, but to India's participation, through dynamic and mobile cultural forms such as the urban theatrical form known as the Parsi theatre, 29 along with Bombay and Punjab cinema, in a wider network of performative culture. Here the sublime of Urdu mysticism, the tale of the ineffable and of mystical love, but also of musical culture, was part of a wider Persian and Arabic culture straddling northern Africa, India, the Middle East and South East Asia. This territory of shared cultural resources was provided with new possibilities of circulation through mechanical reproduction. Kaushik Bhaumik notes the particular dynamic of new technologies in facilitating the travels of narrative form and, more specifically, performance culture. He demonstrates how performance cultures associated with courtly patronage of the tawaif/courtesan in the kotha moved out into wider circuits of commodity culture opened by the circulation of gramophone and cinema. This new constellation moved practitioners and musical cultures from Punjab to Calcutta and Bombay, with the latter as India's finance and trade capital JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 103
drawing other cultural spaces and production practices into its fold. This was how Bombay's Hindi Urdu cinema acquired a trans-regional dimension which could successfully address the key north Indian market, critical in terms of audience and even financial investments.30 My suggestion is that such a mobilization of cultural forms extended well beyond the territorial boundaries and local markets of the subcontinent. I will put forward one hypothesis here. In identifying the pre-nationstate era as a significant way to think about cinematic forms, their cultural appeal and the audiences they brought into being, the peculiar fluidity of empire as a form of mobilizing peoples and cultures may provide a pertinent reference point, in this case, as a vehicle of inter-colonial circulation. If the North Indian Urdu Hindi context provides one such instance, the underexplored Tamil/south Indian circuit should provide another. As Van der Heide has shown,Tamil cinema too entered the South East Asian circuits of film culture, and through figures such as L Krishnan made their distinctive mark. And colonial Ceylon and independent Sri Lanka provide another significant market, one that was not constrained, at least until the 1950s, by the new rigidities enforced on the movement of people and commodities resulting from the formation of nation-states. Until that time, Ceylon and Malaya continued to be listed by the South Indian Film Federation as one of its distribution areas.31 II. Film after the SecondWorldWar and in the wake of nation state formation Let me take that question of regulated, bounded territoriality as my starting point for the second phase, and use in particular the territoriality of the nation-state to indicate the logic of transformations. From the late 1940s, new nation-states enforced boundaries around themselves, and shored these up with trade restrictions, restrictions on mobility, and through the institution of citizenship criteria.32 After 1947, the marking out of an Indian as opposed to a Pakistani cinema was an event of great significance in terms of simple trade logic. The freshly delineated Indian film industry lost substantial markets in West and East Pakistan; it had even lost an important production centre in Lahore which had several important studios, especially those run by Roop K Shorey and Dalsukh M Pancholi. Conversely,West and East Pakistan had to start almost from scratch, having minimal industrial base, and none at all in the case of East Pakistan. The flow of Indian cinema into these territories, primarily Bombay Hindi cinema for the west and Bengali cinema for the east, was often entirely stopped, slowed down, or JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 104
restricted to a small quota in order to protect the new enterprises being fashioned in these territories. In the southern part of the subcontinent, too, certain rumblings were observable, although this did not appear in the form of state embargoes. A Sri Lankan cinema sought to build itself, and this time against the weight not only of Hindi but of Tamil film presence in its market. Another way of putting this is to move from the economic to the cultural level. In the perception of people, what had been lost in the division of the subcontinent and what, conversely, could have been gained by the formation of distinct national-ethnic states? I will attend to this question through an engagement with certain historical readings of the subcontinental transformation. Here I draw upon narrative film histories of Pakistan and Sri Lankan cinema and how they plot the meaning of nation-state formation. I also engage scholarly work which looks to the transformation of film culture in terms of a larger narrative of nationhood. This includes interpretations about the impact of the violence and trauma of national divisions on film texts and traditions of representation. Rewriting and recovering subcontinental film cultures in the wake of state formation. `Politically speaking, Pakistan emerged as a sovereign state in 1947, but the roots of its Performing Arts and culture have a common background with what was known as the subcontinent of India. Cinema too... developed through the collective endeavour of entrepreneurs of the entire region'. Mushtaq Gazdar I refer to three books, two on Pakistan cinema by Alamgir Kabir (1969)33 and Mushtaq Gazdar (1997)34 and a third, on Sri Lanka written by Wimal Dissanayake and Ashley Rathnavibhushana as proponents of a national art cinema agenda (2000).35There is a strong contrast between the two Pakistan histories. Kabir starts with a narrative of Muslim national origins, concerning a Bengali Muslim filmmaker of the colonial era, Obaidul Haq. Kabir argues that this was the only instance of a Muslim making a film in the Bengal industry.36 In fact, this was not the case, as the Fazli brothers had made films in Calcutta before shifting to Bombay in the early 1940s.37 Nevertheless, in Kabir's account, the film, relating to the Bengal famine of 1943, was a fraught experience, assailed by a lack of support in the industry, delays in release because of communal strife in 1946, and necessitating changes in the names of director and lead actor to Hindu names because of threatening JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 105
letters. In this narrative, the emergence of East Pakistan becomes quite critical to the emergence of Muslim rights to cultural expression in this region, and in the medium of cinema. However, the subsequent narrative concerning cinema in East Pakistan upto 1969, was not a particularly positive tale, stymied by a low level of production and the domination of West Pakistan and its emphasis on Urdu cinema over the needs of a primarily Bengali speaking state. Quite in contrast is the account provided by the much later book by Gazdar. The author makes hardly any reference to the East Pakistani experience, except in the instances where this history contributed to the development of an Urdu cinema.Therefore Muslim experience itself is not central to its composition. Instead, we could say that its focus is on the heritage and future potential of an Urdu cinema, though attention is also paid to the emergence of Punjabi, Sindhi and Pakhtun cinemas. Heritage is important here. Gazdar sees the pre-independence history of cinema to be a crucial resource, a legacy which Pakistani cinema needed to draw upon. He therefore emphasized continuity rather than rupture. To do this he conjured up the term subcontinental cinema as a common resource both for Indian and Pakistan cinema. However, in looking to this legacy, he clearly focused only on Hindi-Urdu traditions and, to a much lesser degree, Punjabi culture, and the significant works, production companies, directors, music composers and actors who contributed to the development of an Urdu cinema.Thus from Kamaal Amrohi to Ghulam Haider, Nur Jehan to Dalsukh Pancholi and Roop Kishore Shorey, he honoured all those, Muslim or Hindu, who contributed to this tradition.While applauding Bombay cinema for its cosmpolitanism, his main focus was on the north Indian contexts of its production, especially Lahore. 38 Wimal Dissanayake and Ashley Rathnavibhusana's Profling Sri Lankan Cinema offers another contrast.While the other histories I have just referred to were invested in the development of national film industries, the heritages they needed to cultivate and the breaks they needed to acknowledge, this work is of the genre of the film society/art cinema promotional writing. As in the manner of an extended film society brochure, its objective was to highlight the development of realist and aesthetic interventions in the fashioning of Sri Lankan cinema. One might also add that the Sri Lankan cinema of this imagination is very much a Sinhala cinema, rather than one which addresses the co-presence of Sinhalese and Tamils in the island state. The book reflects both acknowledgment and, perhaps, implicit dismay, that JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 106
Sri Lankan film culture has been dominated by commercial Tamil and Hindi films. I should hasten to add, however, that, while smacking of a Sinhalese national point of view, it is framed through its art cinema ambitions to suggest that any group which could generate the cultural wherewithal to create an expressive and realist account of society was eligible for national plaudits. In that sense this is a liberal nationalism which becomes default Sinhala nationalism for the unfortunate reason that Sri Lankan Tamils only seem to like mainland Tamil cinema instead of generating a cinema, preferably a realist one, for themselves and for the Sri Lankan nation. Of these books Gazdar's has the most generous and desiring vision, invested in the film culture as it was, and as it might be again. Thus he celebrates the arrival of Indian directors and actors of the Urdu Hindi cinema in Pakistan, such as the directors Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, W.Z. Ahmed, Sibtain Fazli, Nazir, and later, in the 1960s, SM Yusuf and Zia Sarhady to actors such as the child star Rattan Kumar and the iconic Punjabi actress Meena Shorey. He also carefully tracks the liberal initiatives undertaken by these directors and others to return to the traumatic moment of Partition, and other sites of Indo-Pak conflict such as Kashmir, in order to extol a humanist, non-sectarian viewpoint. It is as if the will to see lines of continuity in Punjabi Urdu culture are like a counterweight to the ruptures inflicted by the nation-state on the idealized integrity of a cultural geography. There are suggestions then of a pre-nation state creativity here, even if, elsewhere, as in Bengali Muslim experience, the time before the emergence of the Muslim nation-state was believed to be inimical to cultural self-expression. However, we cannot attribute all the significant changes involved in the region to the formation of nation-states, as major changes took place before its emergence. Critical here was the Second World War, and the spiraling price rises which ultimately brought a stable studio system to an end in Bengal, Maharashtra and Bombay.With escalating costs and the detaching of the star from the studio as a critical component of film production, a new speculative production context emerged in which extortionate loans and distributor control over the product became characteristic. This is too well known a story, but central to it was the movement of film personnel from earlier sites of production in the wake of the war and before the upheavals of 1946-48 and the formation of nationstates. Some crucial movements were taking place even earlier, as for example with the Anand family, Chetan and Dev, who, along with Vijay, were to be the basis of the important film studio Navketan in the 1950s. JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 107
Local and regional film cultures What kind of agenda can we develop for cinema studies in the wake of this earlier history and the transformations wrought by the war and subsequently by nation-state formation? At one level the answer lies in tracking nation-state policies as these impinged on the institution of cinema in terms of what the cinema could show, where and in which countries films could be exhibited, and how it fitted a set of priorities around art and industry in the new state. Not only does that agenda continue to be important, it needs to be pursued with a greater degree of intricacy, moving beyond the realm of state policy to an engagement with governmental practices in the everyday life of the cinema and, indeed, in the variety of practices which defined the film industry of the time.While acknowledging the importance of these national questions, how would we pursue the question of Indian cinema in relationship to the complicated trajectory of the pre-nation-state situation I have plotted? I think one very interesting and valuable exercise is to continue to look at the specificity of regional cultural formations. This includes the powerful Tamil film industry in the 1940s,39 the post-studio cultivation of what Moinak Biswas has called a vernacular modernity in West Bengal, as in the Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen films of the period,40 and in the continued significance of the Indian People's Theatre Association tradition of popular realism.41 There is a host of such regional cinema studies research to be done in this way, but perhaps with a greater attention to the wider framework in which they took place; for example the relation between Tamil cinema and what Madhava Prasad has called the Madras Presidency cinema (indicating the importance of Madras production to the wider administrative region that was to be divided into linguistic states subsequently,)42 its offshore markets in Sri Lanka and South East Asia, and in the relation between Bengal and East Pakistan. But another is to turn to the regional logics flowing into the new national imaginary being signposted in Bombay. Bhaskar Sarkar has suggested that a number of narrative tropes and visual figurations can be disinterred from film narratives of Bombay and Bengal cinema to provide us with an archive of fragmentary and displaced references to the Partition trauma. In his interpretation, certain features of film narratives of this period, from doubles to blindness, self-inflicted wounds and mutilations provide a suggestive database of traumatized traces. 43 Sarkar goes on to argue that Bengal film culture in Bengal revealed the impact of Partition on the cultural imaginary in the opposition between bangaal and ghoti. Here bangaal, referring to East JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 108
Bengal, and more specifically the diminished refugee figure from the east, becomes a staple reference point, if now displaced into comic instances in the popular format.44 The National as compendium of regional forms Alongside this formulation, I think we need to consider two phenomena. One relates to the restabilization of the cinema in terms of studio, star and genre.The other considers the Hindi cinema in Bombay as part of a project of recodifying the nation space as a generically and culturally differentiated set of practices and imaginaries with very important regional reference points. In terms of the first set of questions, about studio, star and genre, Mushtaq Gazdar's generous invocation of a continuity of subcontinental cinema in terms of a Punjabi and Urdu cultural tradition needs to be complicated by pointing to a departure from this heritage, and in ways which could be both traumatic and liberating. Taking the star persona of Dev Anand, for example, and the setting up of Navketan studios along with elder brother Chetan and younger brother Goldie/Vijay, we will observe that the figure displayed a drive to generate a different persona, the dandy, a figure at once urbane, playful, at ease with women, and regularly involved in sending up, with affection, a decadent Urdu culture. Thus the star's lampooning masquerade of aged maulvis and mullas rendered without animus, as if signaling an affectionate distance from an earlier cultural habitat, in films such as Munimji (Subodh Mukherjee, 1955) and Paying Guest,(Subodh Mukherjee, 1957). By and large, thriller formats and urban romance provided the broad generic armature within which this star persona, released from an older cultural format, made his swaggering way through the city and a narrative world that sends up earlier cultural habitats and dramatis personae. If Punjab is referred to in this fashion, both as object of loss but also as launching pad for a new dynamic and generic-star constellation in the nation space of the Bombay film, then another crucial reference point was Bengal. The region was mobilized to Bombay through Nitin Bose, Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asit Sen, camera man Kamal Bose, music director Salil Chowdhury and, ready to meet them, the already established Ashok Kumar and, on the anvil, his younger brother Kishore Kumar. Here the literary referent and agitprop inspired social realism emerged as determinants in how to capture Bengal for Bombay. Roy mobilized the literary referent with the triptych of adaptations from the Sarat Chandra Chatterjee novels, Parineeta (1953), Biraj Bahu (1954), and Devdas (1955) JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 109
and later added Jarasandha's Bandini in 1963. He also drew upon the radical Indian People'sTheatreAssociation (IPTA) tradition with his Do Bigha Zameen (1953) and Naukri (1954). This question of the literary referent was highlighted in the turning pages of a novel for the credits of films such as Devdas, and was reiterated in adaptation of Bengali novels by other directors, as in Guru Dutt/Abrar Alvi's Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (King, Queen, Jack, 1963) based on Bimal Mitra's novel. Both IPTA and the literary referent have non-Bengali sources too, of course, as in the Urdu radical traditions espoused by Zia Sarhady in Footpath (1953) and Awaaz (1956). In his particular handling of the city and of the literary, Roy generated a specific content, inflecting issues of modern social and familial reform of social hierarchies and marriage alliances through the parameters of individual choice, and with a sense of existensial crisis in the male protagonists of Parineeta and Devdas. Such a `Bengali' crisis was taken over and amplified into a different order of melodramatic articulation in Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (1957). Roy took the social radicalism of the IPTA sort in the direction of pathos rather than agitprop, as in Do Bigha Zameen and Naukri, the latter leavened by the emergent star personality of Kishore Kumar. We need both to register the impact of earlier moments, marked by the traces of trauma and suffering, while acknowledging the dawning of new formats, personae and genres with which the film industry offered audiences an entry into the transformative logics of the times. By plotting how the national was recomposed by displaced regional reference points we get a sense of the differentiated character of Hindi cinema as an all India format. It is perhaps in the very differentiation of the product that we can move away from tracking the national as a project of asserting an Indian identity over, say, a western one. Non-national audience spaces outside the territorial nation As I have noted, Indian cinema followed in the tracks of Indian population migration under colonial rule. However, it has been widely noted, if not always with enough empirical detail, that this cinema appealed beyond the national community and its diasporic extensions. In the post-colonial period, we notice a number of new spaces being drawn into the market for Indian film. Brian Larkin has noted this for Nigeria, where Lebanese importers brought Hindi cinema to enthusiastic local audiences in the 1950s45 and a French agency,Wapar France, distributed films in NorthAfrica in the 1960s.46 Now we have writing on Turkey by Ahmet Gurata,47 Greece by Dimitri JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 110
Elefthioritis48 and on the Soviet Union by Sudha Rajagopalan.49 All of these provide detail on Hindi cinema's place in specific national viewing cultures, but also suggest the elaboration of the territory I had indicated for the period of empire.The legacies of transnational resources and cultural flows that we observed during the period of empire was still available in the aftermath of colonial withdrawal, but to this was added certain new initiatives generated by the nation-state. As Rajagopalan notes, the bilateral ties between India and the Soviet Union promoted an exchange of films, with a festival of Soviet films being exhibited in India in 1951, and a successful festival of Indian films being screened in Moscow in 1954. These included Awara, Aandhiyan (Chetan Anand, 1952) Do Bigha Zameen and Rahi (KA Abbas, 1952). However, while Hindi films continued to be screened with some success, they were not exhibited in such large numbers as we often assume. The Soviet side was not happy with the number of Soviet films imported into India, and tended to keep Indian imports at a relatively low level.50 While we do not have significant information about the important territories of the Middle East, what is suggestive is the emergence of new territories, in Turkey and Greece. The research here has not gone into the networks of distribution which enabled this, but does point up the importance of these countries in an `eastern' network of film viewing cultures. Gurata's vivid analysis of the way Awara (Raj Kapoor, 1951) was represented and discussed in popular journalism, through advertising and in cartoons, popular idioms and allusions points to a number of key issues. Commentators appeared to look away from narrative content per se to a focus on typage, the nature of the hero's persona, and, in an implicit rather than overt sense, they reflected on the forms of cinema outside the Hollywood mode. Gurata draws attention to how a literary intellectual described Raj Kapoor's little man as a melancholic entity who yet resists despair. This description captures rather well dimensions of the Kapoor personality, and indicates the imprint of social justice narratives in the post-war period that refused a clear-cut happy ending. Gurata also points out how the reception to Awara casts light on the way Indian cinema was regarded within a non-Euro/American context, as a marker of aspiration, because of its reasonable success and its dynamic relationship to technical advances. Gurata, Elefthioritis, Ramaswamy and Larkin all point to the issue of cultural familiarity or recognisability in gauging Indian film's popularity in different countries.These writers evoke such recognition to situate the favourable response given by respondents to Indian over Hollywood cinema. But even here the term may be used in JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 111
different ways, so that musicality, for example, was recognizable to audiences as Indian film composers drew upon melodies from Central Asia and the Middle East, even while putting together a distinctive mix. In turn Indian film music inspired local practitioners elsewhere, a phenomenon that Elefthioritis notes critics in Greece responded to negatively, charging music composers with plagiarism. Across North Africa, the differentiation made by audiences between Hindi and Hollywood cinema has often been rendered in terms of the different sociological imaginaries on offer, particularly the value placed on kinship ties and obligations in the Indian case, and a greater sense of modesty in matters of romantic and sexual expression.51 But even here, as Larkin points out in a wonderful essay on bandiri music, a popular form of spiritual music whose lyrics assert the overpowering feelings of devotion to the divine felt by the singer and his audiences, Hindi film melodies could be evoked and redeployed in a bid to strip them of any erotic content, suggesting that there was no natural or static fit between different narrative and performative worlds.52 Clearly, we need to be more careful about the terms on which cultural affinities emerged, rather than assume a cultural unity against the big other of Hollywood. But on the other hand a refusal to acknowledge the affinity is also tantamount to disavowing the attractions of what at first sight might be considered `other' but was actually much closer than could be acknowledged.Thus Elefthioritis indicates that the absence of any reflection on the success of Indian cinema in Greece in the 1960s is indicative of the desire of Greek critics, intellectuals and cultural commentators to submerge earlier popularly felt affinities with the so-called `east' in order to construct an identity with the west. Following Kaushik Bhaumik's work on Bombay cinema of the early period, and Kajri Jain's analysis of popular print culture, we can hazard a certain emblematic point of affinity in the `eastern' cultural geography we have outlined.53 This is the idea of the bazaar as sphere that encompasses overlapping and hybrid linguistic structures, and facilitates transactions in the sphere of commodities, people, labour and cultural forms. Apart from a sphere of circulation and transaction, it also invokes the realm of petty commodity production, repair and recycling, with an investment in smallscale technology, the workshop and manually organized print and visual cultures.The latter would include much of the wherewithal for a less capitalintensive cinema and theatre production, including painted backdrops, costumes, as well as promotional literature and publicity, as in hoardings, posters and songbooks. It is remarkable that iconic song sequences and films JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 112
so strongly refer to this space.The Kapoor persona recurrently draws upon this space, with his characters appearing in bazaar spaces of everyday life and ethnic commingling in Awara, Shree 420 (Raj Kapoor 1956) and Chhalia (Manmohan Desai 1960). We really only have the beginnings of this story about the place of Indian popular cinema in older and newer circuits before and after the Second World War, the agencies involved, the way film cultures were dispersed across national territories and through economic and cultural forms such as the bazaar, and the relation between Indian film and other elements of national and regional film viewing cultures. However, the indications are that this is an important strand of research, and one which will doubtless contribute to an understanding of anAsian or`eastern' circuit of film cultures in the 1950s and 1960s. A fuller story might indeed corroborate Dina Iordonova's speculation that Awara was possibly the most popular film ever made, given the way it circulated so successfully in densely populated territories where Hollywood's rule was not in place, and even in places where Hollywood was still the dominant cinema.54 References: 1 I have found PaulWillemen,`The National Revisited', particularly useful in thinking about the distinction between national specificity and nationalism in film history; and John Hill,`British Cinema as National Cinema', for elaborating the range of cinematic production involved in a a multi-national and mutli-ethnic national situation and nation-state. Both are reprinted in Paul Willemen andValentinaVitali edited, Theorizing National Cinema, London, BFI, 2006. 2Priya Jaikumar, Cinema at the End of Empire:a Politics ofTransition in Britain and India, Durham, Duke University Press, 2006; for an earlier and still useful account, Eric Barnouw and S. Krishnaswamy, Indian Film, NewYork and London, 1963, 1980. 3 Jaikumar, Cinema at the End of Empire, p.56. 4 eg, PoonamArora,`"Imperilling the Prestige of theWhiteWoman": ColonialAnxiety and Film Censorship in British India', Visual Anthropology Review, 11 (2), September, 1995, pp.36-49. 5Rachel Low, The History of the British Film of the 1930s, London, GoergeAllen and Unwin, 1979, p.44. 6`In Memory of BruceWoolf: a pioneer of the industry', Film andTelevisionTechnician, January 1966, p.252; see also biographical note in KinematographYear Books, London, Kinematography Publications Ltd, 1928, which also mentions BI's`Empire Series'. 7Rachel Low, The History of British Films of the 1930s, pp.23-24.According to Low, Stephen Legg, who was credited as assistant director, was actually responsible for the film, for which John JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 113
Buchan, the well-known writer of adventure fiction with the occasional imperial background, had written the script. 8 Woolfe extolled the possibilities and connections between reconstruction and instruction, as in the use of diagrammatic film that could generate abstract geometries to produce knowledge: We consider this [the diagrammatic film] the most satisfactory method of teaching history by means of the camera. It all arose out of a film made some years ago by Mary Field calledThe Expansion of Germany. It was purely experimental but it showed very definitely the possibilities of this technique in covering subjects that by any other means would entail enormous expense... Finally however we managed to secure the interest of the British Council, who commissioned us to make a film on the History of the Atl antic Ocean and the University of Manchester who sponsored a film on Unemployment and Money.These two subjects proved the value of the new technique which has now been taken up by the War Office and is used extensively for the teaching of gunnery, height-finding etc. We feel therefore that here is a definite contribution to the cause of the instructional film which, under the stress of war, has proved its ability to instruct quickly and efficiently (BruceWoolf, `I Remember...`, Sight and Sound, 10 no 37 pp.8-9). We may discern an interconnection of film practices here, linking the war reconstruction films and films of instruction through new visual forms of knowing. 9 Rachel Low, The History of the British Film 1929-39:Films of Comment and Persuasion of the 1930s, London Geroge Allen and Unwin, 1979, chapter 3, Films of Travel and Exploration. 10 `In Memory of BruceWoolfe: a pioneer of the industry' note byVncent Peers, in Film and TelevisionTechnician, January 1966, p.253; see also the note by Mary Field,Woolfe's collaborator on Secrets of Nature, in the same obituary. 11This was a comment made by Barkas's wife. Rachel Low, British Film 1918-1929, London, Allen and Unwin, 1929, p.180. For a complex account of early ethnographic film in Africa, see Emma Sandon,`RepresentingAfrican life': from ethnographic exhibition to Nionga and Stampede inAndrew Higson edited Young and Innocent?The Cinema in Britain,1896-1930,Exeter,University of Exeter Press, 2002. 12 See for example Christopher Pinney, Camera Indica, London Reaktion Books, 1997. 13Niranjan Pal,`India and the Film Industry I', Filmland 9 May 1931, in Samik Bandyopadhyay edited, Indian Cinema:Contemporary Perception from the 1930s, Jameshedupr, Celluloid Chapter, 1993, p.83.According to Pal, the scheme met a setback due to the anti-British civil disobedience movement, but he feared that "unless we look sharp, I am convinced that the idea will be revived again.". 14Taj Mahal Film Ready:`Shiraz',The Indo-British Picture Bioscope, 19 September,1928. 15`To and From Our Shores',KinematographYear Books, London, Kinematography Publications ltd, 1928, p.56. 16Thomas Brandlmeier,Franz Osten, a Bavarian in Bombay, Griffithiana no. 53 May 1995,pp.76- JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 114
93. 17 Niranjan Pal, `Indian and the Film Industry I', Filmland 16 May 1931, in Indian Cinema: Contemporary Perceptions from the 1930s, p.85. 18These lines are part of the opening titles of the film.See also programme brochure for The Light of Asia for its presentation at the Philharmonic Hall, Great Portland Street, Cinema Special Collection, London Philharmonic Hall, BFI. 19 He estimated the heirlooms the Maharajah loaned at 5 million pounds, and the animals' trappings at 4000 pounds. Himansu Rai,`An Epic of India', The Picturegoer, December 1928, pp.27-29. 20For a recent account of the importance of the`progressive' states of Baroda and Mysore in the history of colonialism and post-colonialism, see Manu Bhagwan, Sovereign Spheres: Princes, Education and Empire in Colonial India, NewYork, Oxford University Press, 2006; Barbara Ramusack, The Indian Princes andTheir States,New Cambridge History of India,Cambridge,Cambridge University Press 2004; Christoper Pinney, Camera Indica for royal patronage to photography, as for example in the career of the iconic 19th century Indian photographer, Deen Dayal; for the role of the Hyderabad Nizam in support to the cinema, Barnouw and Krishnaswamy, Indian Film, New York, Oxford University Press 1980; for the Kolhapur and Shalini Cinetone,`Kolhapur: the Cradle of Indian Films', Filmindia, July 1935, pp.27-28; for Hiralal Sen's display of actualities in zamindar households, Sanjit Narwekar, Films Division and the Indian Documentary, Publication Division, New Delhi, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1992. 21 I have outlined the types of publicity which surrounded the BombayTalkies and its leading star Devika Rani in`film studies, the new cultural history, and the experience of modernity', Economic and PoliticalWeekly, 30 (44): 4 November, 1995. 22eg, Radhika Singha,`Settle, mobilize, verify: identification practices in British India', Studies in History, 16 (2), 2000, pp.151-198;Thomas R. Metcalf,Imperial Connections:India in the Indian Ocean Arena 1860-1920, Delhi Permanent Black 2007. 23 M.B. Billimoria,`Foreign markets for Indian films', IndianTalkie, 1931-56, Bombay, Film Federation of India, 1956, pp.53-54.A substantial deposit of Indian films distributed byWapar France, an agency which catered to North African markets are in the French film archives at Bois D'arcy. For the importance of Indian film imports to Indonesia and Burma, cf. John A. Lent, The Asian film industry, London, Christopher Helm, 1990, p.202, 223; see the work of William Van Der Heide on Malaysian Cinema, below; for Fiji, Manas Ray, `Chalo Jahaji: Bollywood in Diaspora ­ in the tracks of indenture to globalization' in Preben Kaarsholm, City Flicks, Seagull,2004 andVijay Mishra, for autobiographical reflections on cinema in Fiji,Bollywood Cinema:Temples of Desire, NewYork and London, Routledge, 2004; for Nigeria, see the work of Brian Larkin, cited below. 24WilliamVan Der Heide,Malaysian Cinema,Asian Film,Amsterdam,Amsterdam University Press 2005, p.134 25 Massoud Mehrabi,The History of Iranian Cinema, part two, JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 115
26Viola Shafik, Arab Cinema, London, British Film Institute, 1999. 27 It is not clear whether this refers to the film commissioned by Abdol Hossain Sopenta from Imperial Studios. 28Ashish Rajadhyaksha and PaulWillemen edited,Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, London, British Film Institute, 1994, p.612 29For an overview of this very important theatrical form, see Somnath Gupta, ParsiTheatre:Its Origins and Development, translated and edited by Kathryn Hansen, New Delhi, Seagull Books, 2005. 30 Kaushik Bhaumik, The Emergence of the Bombay Film Industry, 1913-1956, Oxford D.Phil, 2001. 31 The Indian film magazine Filmfare regularly featured columns on Pakistani and Ceylon film industries in the 1950s, and the film business in South India, which featured Ceylon and Malaysia as part of its distribution circuit. 32 Joya Chatterji.`The Fashioning of a Frontier:The Radcliffe Line and Bengal's Border Landscape, 1947-1952.' ModernAsian Studies 33 Part I,no. 1/1-A (1999); and.`The Making of a Borderline.' In Region and Partition edited by I.Talbot, and G. Singh,. Oxford University Press, 1999;Vazira FazilaYacoobali Zamindar,The Long Partition and the Making of Modern SouthAsia:Refugees,Boundaries, Histories, NewYork, Columbia University Press, 2007. 33Alamgir Kabir,The Cinema in Pakistan, Dhaka, Sandhani Publications, 1969. 34 Mushtaq Gazdar, Pakistani Cinema 1947-1997, Lahore, OxfordUniversity Press, 1998. 35Wimal Dissanayake andAshley Ratnavibhushana,Profiling Sri Lankan Cinema, Boralesgamuwa: Asian Film Centre, 2000. 36The film was Dukhey Jadher Jibon Gora/Misery IsTheir Lot, about the famine of 1943; and starred Jahar Ganguly and Renuka Roy. Fateh Lohani, using screen name Kiron Kumar, played the villain,and the music director wasAbdulAhad.Obaidul Haq took the name Himadri Chowdhury as`some anonymous letters threatened to burn down the Calcutta cinema house where the film was to be premiered if a Moslem was displayed as the director'.The film was finally released in 1946. 37 See the notes on Fazli Brothers, Calcutta, Filmindia January 1942, p.72 38There is only a fleeting reference to Mehboob Khan.Was this Gujarati Musalman too remote from the particular cultural and linguistic geography Gazdar sought to invoke? 39 For example Pritham K. Chakravarthy and Venkatesh Chakravarthy, `South Indian Film Industry and Its Last Surviving Major:AVM Studios', in Lalitha Gopalan edited, Indian Cinema: 24 Frames,London,Wallflower Press, 2010. 40 Moinak Biswas, The Couple and Their Spaces: Harana Sur Now', in Ravi Vasudevan ed., Making Meaning in Indian Cinema, Delhi, Oxford University Press 2000; and Moinak Biswas, Historical realism: modes of modernity in Indian cinema, PhD thesis, Monash University, 2002. 41 Biswas, Historical Realism; and`In the Mirror of anAlternative Globalism', in Laura Ruberto and KristiWilson, Italian Neorealism and Global Cinema, Detroit,Wayne University Press, 2007; JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 116
for information about IPTA as a theatrical movement, Sudhi Pradhan, edited, Marxist Cultural Movement in India: Chroinciles and Documents, 1936-1947, I-III, Calcutta, Pustak Bipani, 1979, 1985;Nandi Bhatia. Acts ofAuthority/Acts of Resistance:Theatre and Politics in Colonial and Postcolonial India.AnnArbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004. 42Madhava Prasad,`Reigning Stars:the Political Career of South Indian Cinema' in Lucy Fischer and Marcia Landy edited, Stars:the Film Reader, NewYork and London, Routledge, 2004. 43 It is significant that there was, nevertheless, often a reference to a lost place, specifically referred to by Bhaskar Sarkar in films such as Shabnam (Bibhuti Mitra 1949) as the Punjab, in which the hero was clearly marked as refugee.An instance of such a reference to figures riven from family and home is available in another Dev Anand film, Bambai Ka Babu (Raj Khosla, 1960), a convoluted and eerie tale too tortuous too recount here. I have referred to the displaced regional coordinates involved in fabricating the national in an earlier article, `Dislocations: the cinematic imagining of a new society in 1950s India', Oxford Literary Review, no. 16, 1994. However, this earlier piece tended to focus on the traumatic indices of this passage to the nation, rather than to consider the potentially liberating dimensions of the uprootment. 44Bhaskar Sarkar,Mourning the Nation:Indian Cinema in theWake of Partition,Durham,Duke University Press, 2009. 45 Brian Larkin,`Bollywood Comes to Nigeria', Samar 8,Winter/Spring 1997, and http:// 46 A deposit of their films is with the French Film Archives at Bois D'Arcy. 47 Ahmet Gurata, `Translation and reception of Indian Cinema in Turkey: the Life of Awara', BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, I (i), 2010. 48 Dimitri Elefthioritis,`A Cultural Colony of India: Indian Films in Greece in the 1950s and 1960s', South Asian Popular Culture 4 (2), October 2006. 49 Sudha Rajagopalan Leave Disco Dancer Alone! Indian Cinema and Soviet Movie-going after Stalin, New Delhi, Yoda Press, 2008, especially Chapter 2, `Import/Facilitation: Ambivalent Accomodation'. 50 Leave Disco Dancer Alone!, chapter two 51 Larkin,`Bollywood comes to Nigeria' 52 Brian Larkin, in Raminder Kaur and Ajay Sinha edited Bollyworld: Indian Cinema Through a Transnational Lens, New Delhi, Sage Publications, 2006. 53 Bhaumik, Emergence, and Kajri Jain, Gods in the Bazaar: the Economies of Indian Calendar Art, Durham, Duke University Press, 2007. 54 Dina Iordonova,`Indian Cinema's Global Reach', South Asian Popular Culture, 4 (2) October, 2006. JOURNAL OF THE MOVING IMAGE 117

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