New Indian Cinema in Post-Independence India

The Cultural Work of Shyam Benegal’s Films

By Anuradha Dingwaney Needham

© 2013 – Routledge

222 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415693974
pub: 2013-06-13
US Dollars$160.00

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About the Book

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

About the Author

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).

About the Series

Intersections: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories

This series is concerned with three kinds of intersections or conversations: first, across cultures and regions, an interaction that postcolonial studies have emphasized in their foregrounding of the multiple sites and multi-directional traffic involved in the making of the modern; second, across time, the conversation between a mutually constitutive past and present that occurs in different times and places; and third, between colonial and postcolonial histories, which as theoretical positions have very different perspectives on the first two ‘intersections’ and the questions of intellectual enquiry and expression implied in them. These three kinds of conversations are critical to the making of any present and any history. Thus the new series provides a forum for extending our understanding of core issues of Human society and its self-representation over the centuries.

While focusing on Asia, the series is open to studies of other parts of the world that are sensitive to cross-cultural, cross-chronological and cross-colonial perspectives. The series invites submissions for single-authored and edited books by young as well as established scholars that challenge the limits of inherited disciplinary, chronological and geographical boundaries, even when they focus on a single, well-recognized territory or period.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia