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Category — Film History

Interiorising Bangla cinema and its decline

by Suruchi Mazumdar

Uttam Kumar passed away thirteen days before I was born. For the uninitiated, he was the matinee idol of popular Bengali cinema of post-Independent era. As the news of the star actor’s untimely and sudden death spread, my heavily pregnant mother – nonchalantly risking my impending arrival and ignoring my helpless father’s vain objections – wobbled through a swelling and maddening crowd to catch a last glimpse of the hero of her youth and childhood. [Read more →]

November 7, 2010   No Comments  

A Day To Remember and the Strange Political Economy of Media in Tamil Nadu

Today (October 01) is a day to remember in Tamil cinema for two varied reasons. It marks another birth anniversary of Sivaji Ganesan, the doyen of Tamil cinema who passed away in 2001. It was Sivaji who gave a great boost to the political cinema of DMK during the 1950s. His first film, Parasakthi, 1952, was a scathing statement against the evils of exploitation, superstition, and moral depravity. [Read more →]

October 1, 2010   1 Comment  

The Man Who Was Seen Too Much: Amitabh Bachchan on Film Posters

by Ranjani Mazumdar

I’m sharing an essay I read on the Bachchan film posters. It has been written by Ranjani Mazumdar, Associate Professor of cinema studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Ranjani has previously written on the Bombay film poster, but this paper works specifically on Amitabh Bachchan, and it creates a visual map of how cinema responded to societal changes in the 1970s, and also traces Bachchan’s rise to stardom through the film poster.

The essay is four-pages long, and you have to go to the bottom right corner of the page and click on ‘next’, a link that isn’t very visible on the page.

Click here to access the essay.

September 7, 2010   No Comments  

Searching for the Roots of Cinema in India with Stephen Hughes


After demolishing the “established fact” that Electric theatre was the first permanent theatre in India in his May 2003 Seminar article “Pride of Place,” Stephen Hughes, a well known SOAS (University of London) scholar working on early Indian cinema history, came down heavily on the damage caused by the wrong “chronology of firsts” in Indian film historiography at a seminar entitled “Searching for the Origins of Cinema in Colonial Madras” on Feb.03,2010 at University of Madras. [Read more →]

February 6, 2010   1 Comment  

The Bandwagon Effect of Wrong Film Historiography: The Case of Electric Theatre in Colonial Madras

Despite several volumes on the varied dimensions of Indian cinemas by numerous Indian, non-resident Indian and foreign scholars, film historiography remains a patchy area of study in India. In the absence of dependable archival sources on the early attempts by film pioneers in different parts of the country and their silent films, what circulates are accounts woven around the mainstreaming practices of the histories woven by inaccurate and ethnocentric accounts of film historians taking a peek at the fairly distant past and its fluid and unverified circumstances, particularly of the first four decades of India’s tryst with the moving images. [Read more →]

February 1, 2010   3 Comments  

The end of Miramax

Just over thirty years after it came into existence, Miramax  studio that gave the world films like Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Chicago to name a few, was shut down by Disney. Click here to access the entire report.

January 29, 2010   No Comments  

Harishchandrachi Factory: India’s latest Oscar blunder?

harishchandrachi-factory.doThe last few months have seen much frenetic activity around Paresh Mokashi’s Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, primarily because it was picked as India’s official entry to the Oscars. While a lot of dinnertime conversation seems to revolve around this film and its supposed uniqueness, it is likely that most of this excitement in the air is based on some reviews about this film and its supposed archival value, because very few people have actually seen it. The question therefore is, is the film really the right choice to send to an international forum as our selection of the best film made in India this year. The answer, is, no. [Read more →]

October 31, 2009   47 Comments  

Rare! This is Rare!!!: MGR’s Autobiographical Words on BBC

PosterAyiraththil Oruvan

Many of the accepted notions of the history of Dravidian Political CInema remain on a plane of contestations borne of divergent views of the yesteryears stars and their associates (who collaborated in the making of the Dravidian political cinema) about how it all started. [Read more →]

September 25, 2009   4 Comments