Shyam Benegal is an Indian director and screenwriter whose work is considered central to New Indian cinema. By closely analysing several of Benegal’s films, this book provides an understanding of India’s post-independence history.
The book examines the filmmaker’s focus on women by highlighting his subtle and critical engagement with a truism of Indian nationalism: women’s centrality to the (nation-) state’s negotiation with modernity. It looks at the importance Benegal accords to history – its little known, contested, or iconic events and figures – in crafting national culture and identities, and goes on to discuss the filmmaker’s nuanced representation of the developmental agendas of the nation-state. The book presents an account of the relationship of historical film and fiction to official history, and provides a fuller understanding of Indian cinema, and how it is shaped by as well as itself shapes national imperatives.
Filling a gap in the literature, the book offers an analysis of cinematic treatment of post-independence narratives and gives important insights into the imagination of the time. It is a useful contribution for students and scholars of Film Studies, South Asian History and South Asian Culture.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part 1: The Nation as Its Women 1. "The Places Occupied by Women": Gender, Subalternity, and the (Nation-)State in Ankur and Nishant 2. "Performing Wom[e]n": The "Nachne-Ganewalis" of Bhumika; Mandi; and Sardari Begum Part 2: The Nation’s Alternative and Self-Authorized Biographies 3. Fictional Engagements With (National) History: Junoon, Mammo, and Trikal 4. A Pantheon of National Heroes: Nehru, The Making of the Mahatma, and Bose: The Forgotten Hero Part 3: The Nation and its Ideologies of Development 5. "Making these cause films": Cinematic Renditions of the Developmental Agendas of the (Nation-)State
Anuradha Dingwaney Needham is Donald R. Longman Professor of English at Oberlin College, USA. She is the author of Using the Master’s Tools: Resistance and the Literature of the African and South Asian Diasporas (2000), and has co-edited Between Languages and Cultures: Translation and Cross-Cultural Texts (1996) and The Crisis of Secularism in India (2007).