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Reading the Indian Cinematograph Committee Sessions (1926–28) for film culture in 1920s Burma – with a special focus on Burmese film production

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This article is based on a survey of the evidence presented at the proceedings of the Indian Cinematograph Committee (ICC) sessions held in Burma in early 1928 to cull out a synoptic picture of Burmese film culture in the decade of its coming of age: the 1920s. The evidence collated at the ICC sessions remains to date the single largest source for the subject. The Cinematograph Committee was set up by the British colonial state to investigate the conditions of cinema in the Indian subcontinent, with the aim of testing the waters for market possibilities for British films and the entry of British capital into film production in India. The evidence presents us with a vivid picture of the growth of film exhibition in Burma that included Burmese films as well as imported western, Chinese and Indian films, and catered to audiences across viewing niches. The evidence also elucidates the formation of Burmese film studios – their financing, their modes of production and the kinds of films they produced.
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Keywords: Burma; Burmese cinema; Indian Cinematograph Committee (ICC); early cinema; film culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Jawaharlal Nehru University

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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  • Studies in South Asian Film and Media (SAFM) is the most promising new journal in the field. This peer-reviewed publication is committed to looking at the media and cinemas of the Indian subcontinent in their social, political, economic, historical, and increasingly globalized and diasporic contexts. The journal will evaluate these topics in relation to class, caste, gender, race, sexuality, and ideology.
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