12th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture 2015

Blog / May 13, 2015

Now re-scheduled, SACF’s 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture along with a Musical Farewell to Sangeeta Bahadur will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday 30th July at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1.

Lalith Mohan Joshi, Founder SACF

As announced earlier, the speaker, Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram will give an illustrated talk titled: ‘Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’.

The event will be chaired by Rosie Thomas, Director of the Centre for Research and Education in Arts & Media, University of Westminster. Well-known screenwriter, Farrukh Dhondy will be Chief Guest. 

After his talk, Ashvin will take questions from the audience. This will be followed by a Musical Farewell to Sangeeta Bahadur who is scheduled to leave London after an eventful innings as Director of the Nehru Centre. A wine reception and refreshments will follow.

– Lalit Mohan Joshi

‘Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’

By Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram

Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 6:30 PM
at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF

SACF’s 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture: ‘Multiplicity in Motion:The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’ deals with the rise of a new kind of Indian films. The emergence of a new wave of independent Indian films since 2010 is revolutionising Indian cinema. Contemporary scholarship on Indian cinema thus far has focused asymmetrically on Bollywood – India’s dominant cultural signifier. With multiple stories spanning the diverse demographic and geopolitical spectrum of everyday human experience, this lecture, by Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram explores ‘the new Indian Indies as a glocal hybrid film form – global in aesthetic and local in content.’ Ashwin argues that the new Indies have emerged from a middle space between India’s globalising present and traditional past.  The new Indies’ paradoxical ethos is epitomised in their circumvention of Bollywood ‘song and dance’ sequences on the one hand and their incorporation of exoteric promotion and marketing strategies on the other, unlike their esoteric 1970s and 1980s Parallel art-house cinema predecessors such as Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani. 

In the absence of an autonomous Indie distribution infrastructure, new independent films often have to rely on big corporate production houses or Bollywood producers and stars to enhance their visibility and saleability.  However, the Indies share a common trait with their Parallel cinema forebears – they narrate both alternative narratives and narratives of alterity.  Films such as Peepli Live (2010), Harud (2010), I Am (2010), Fandry (2013) The Lunchbox (2013) and Ship of Theseus (2013) all espouse themes and issues that discursively engage with the contemporary ‘state of the nation’.  Some subversive Indies, such as Bengali film Gandu (2010) transgress normative notions of ‘traditional Indian values’ and hence encounter state censorship and regulation.  Drawing from in-depth interviews with directors, actors, academics and members of the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, the lecture will try to contextualise the newIndies’ emergence in a Bollywood-dominated Indian cultural milieu.

Dr. Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram has a PhD in Languages and Intercultural Studies from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.  His thesis was on the socio-ideological impact of new independent Indian cinema.  He also has an M.A in Mass Communications from the University of Bedfordshire.  Ashvin has wide research interests in the arts, culture, philosophy and politics.  Ashvin is currently working on a book that promises to be the first dedicated and comprehensive analysis of new Indian Independent Cinema.

SACF’s Annual Phalke Memorial Lectures have been delivered in the recent past by India’s well known Indian filmmakers like Shyam Benegal and Saeed Akhtar Mirza, film archivist P.K. Nair and the documentary filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

Chair – Professor Rosie Thomas, Director of CREAM: Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster.

For more details about the event, click here.

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