Panel Discussion of New Book: Debashree Mukherjee’s “Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City”

When 23 Oct 2020
12:00PM - 1:00PM
Where Cinema Studies, Tisch School Of The Arts, New York University
721 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

Speakers: Jennifer M. Bean (University of Washington) and Nitin Govil (University of Southern California)

From starry-eyed fans with dreams of fame to cotton entrepreneurs turned movie moguls, the Bombay film industry has historically energized a range of practices and practitioners, playing a crucial and compelling role in the life of modern India. Bombay Hustle presents an ambitious history of Indian cinema as a history of material practice, bringing new insights to studies of media, modernity, and the late colonial city. Drawing on original archival research, Mukherjee develops the concept of a “cine-ecology” to study the bodies, technologies, and environments that collectively shaped the production and circulation of cinematic meaning during the talkie transition of the 1920s-1940s. She examines diverse sites of film production — finance, pre-production paperwork, casting, screenwriting, acting, stunts — to show how speculative excitement jostled against desires for scientific management in an industry premised on the struggle between contingency and control. The book thus brings into view a range of marginalized film workers, their labor and experiences; forgotten film studios, their technical practices and aesthetic visions; and overlooked connections between media practices, geographical particularities, and historical exigencies.

Respondent: Debashree Mukherjee, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Columbia University

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Image courtesy of the event organizer.