Through careful archival research, the book presents, how art films
emerged out of a particular relationship between ordinary people and
Rochona Majumdar analyzes the aspirations, films, and writings of a small
but significant group of passionate cinephiles – Satyajit Ray, Ritwik
Ghatak, and Mrinal Sen, among them. These filmmakers worked with a new
medium—films—to craft unique readings of India’s postcolonial history.
In this, they were pioneers who anticipated many of the themes that
academic postcolonial, feminist, and other radical historiographies
developed in later years.
Non-fiction | Columbia University Press | 304 Pages | 35 B&W Film Stills Paperback
| INR 699/-
Distributed by Penguin Random House India
Art films gave Indian cinema international recognition in Cannes, Venice,
and scores of international festivals.
Art filmmakers were among the first to see the problems with the
developmental state. The films spoke both thematically and
cinematographically of the many ills that beset the new nation-state.
Certain such as the “angry young man” arose first in art films before they
reappeared in Bombay films in the star persona of Amitabh Bachchan.
The novel use of songs, location shooting, melodrama, poster art, graffiti,
found footage, and sound camera techniques marked unprecedented breaks in
Why then has the INDIAN ART CINEMA gone into
ABOUT THE BOOK
The project of Indian art cinema began in the years following independence
in 1947, at once evoking the global reach of the term “art film” and
speaking to the aspirations of the new nation-state. In this pioneering
book, Rochona Majumdar examines key works of Indian art cinema to
demonstrate how film emerged as a mode of doing history and that, in so
doing, it anticipated some of the most influential insights of postcolonial thought.
Majumdar details how filmmakers as well as a host of film societies
and publications sought to foster a new cinematic culture for the new
nation, fueled by enthusiasm for a future of progress and development. Good
films would help make good citizens: art
cinema would not only earn global prestige but also shape discerning
individuals capable of exercising aesthetic and political judgment. During
the 1960s, however, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, and Ritwik Ghatak―the leading
figures of Indian art cinema―became disillusioned with the belief that
film was integral to national development. Instead, Majumdar contends,
their works captured the unresolvable contradictions of the postcolonial
present, which pointed toward possible, yet unrealized futures. Analyzing
the films of Ray, Sen, and Ghatak, and working through previously unexplored
archives of film society publications, Majumdar offers a radical
reinterpretation of Indian film history. Art Cinema and India’s Forgotten
Futures offers sweeping new insights into film’s relationship with the postcolonial condition
and its role in decolonial imaginations of the
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rochona Majumdar is an associate professor in the Departments of South Asian
Languages and Civilizations and Cinema and Media Studies at the University
of Chicago. She is the author of Marriage and Modernity: Family Values in Colonial Bengal
(2009) and Writing Postcolonial History (2010).
If you are a book lover, join our Outset Book Club and be with other book lovers. We also