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The Writing of Indian Film

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In the fall of 1959 an Indian student, S. Krishnaswamy of Madras, enrolled in a course I was teaching at Columbia University, focusing on the interplay of film and society. One of his term papers, on the turbulent Indian film industry, fascinated me, and I peppered him with questions. I gathered that its works ranged from a "new wave" inspired by the amazing Satyajit Ray to colossal musicals, made in a dozen Indian languages, dominated by stars who had developed an extraordinary grip over the public. In 1963 the industry planned to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary of feature film production. My next sabbatical leave was due in 1961-62, and I began to think about a year of research in India, with family. The Japanese Film, a fine, illuminating work by Joseph L. Anderson and Donald Richie, had appeared in 1959 to wide applause. Shouldn't Indian film be next?
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Keywords: Indian film; MGR; N. T. Rama Rao; Ramachandran; dance; democracy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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