Journal of Indian Cinema

Vol. 1. Iss. 2.

Vol. 1. Iss. 1.

Anglo-Indian cinema

Gautam Kaul | Feb 10

We visualise Anglo Indian cinema in India essentially through the presence of actresses who ‘looked’ European. In isolation, there were some ladies who did enter Indian cinema and came to India under various circumstances. Helen Ann Robinson, Helen for all of us, entered India from Burma as a refugee. A few more of them were lucky. Nadia was a circus artist from Australia. Ermaliene came from Hungary. Then, there were the Baghdadi Jewish ladies (whose parents were long settled in India) who were sought after by Indian producers for their daring urban style and ‘Anglo’ looks. Ruby Myers (Sulochana senior) from Pune remained the Queen of the Silent Era for more than a decade and survived through the late 70s of Indian cinema as a poverty-affected artist. In between, ladies like Nadira Ezekiel, Rose (Rose Ezra), Lilian Ezra, Romila (Sofia Abraham), Rachel Sofer, Premila (Esther Victoria Abraham) and Pearl Padamsee filled the screen with their ‘Anglo’ presence.

There were others, like Patience Cooper and Cuckoo Moore, who were local girls from the metro cities who also provided a cosmopolitan look in the films. And we should not forget the whole lines of unnamed dancing girls in frocks, who filled the frame in so-called cabaret song and dance routines in Indian films up to the late 1960s, before they suddenly disappeared. This was because most of them migrated to Australia, Canada, England and New Zealand, to find boys to marry. Indian Cinema suddenly lost a of its film artist generation which was unique.

However the first foreign look in Indian cinema came as early as 1919 when an American lady, Dorothy Kingdom, entered India as a love-struck young lass attached to a wealthy businessman who stayed in South India for about six months and financed the silent era film ‘Shakuntala’ .



Gandhi through films: one man, so many portraits!

Ratnottama Sengupta | Feb 10

Gandhi did not leave a sect behind him. He did not approve of ‘Gandhism’ for he did not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. “I have simply tried to apply in my own way the eternal truth of our daily life and problems…” So it is up to you and me to change this narrative.


“New Wave” in cinema of NE India

Manoj Barpujari | Feb 10

The north-eastern part of India has a distinct film identity as any other part of the country or the world outside. So if you coin the phrase “Northeast Cinema” it should point to the quality of the films produced that makes them distinguished from films produced in other parts of the country. There are meaningful films made over last four decades— except Assam where it all started four more decades earlier— in various indigenous languages, braving the onslaught of the Bollywood and, to a lesser extent, Hollywood and East Asian blockbusters…

… A 12 times national award winner Jahnu Barua once declared that he would not make a film in Assam. His outburst came following failure of his films at local box offices despite having won critical acclaims.

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Tumbbad—coherence and visual appeal

MK Raghavendra | Feb 10

Exquisitely crafted in terms of ambience but we wish it had been more coherent. The problem, I believe is that it mixes genres arbitrarily – without being aware of it. Consider first the primary story meant to be like something out of a Panchatantra tale, with its cautionary moral about human greed. A story with a moral (i.e. a fable) does not conceal information because its primary aim is to deliver its message unhindered. Also, the message is rendered through the principal character being subject to experiences, usually salutary.



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