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Speakers & Contributors

Film, Media & Cultural Theorist
Critic, Curator & Documentary Filmmaker
Dean, Ambedkar University School of Law
Independent Scholar
Anchor
Filmmaker & Podcast Producer
Independent Recordist, Composer & Podcast Producer

Date & Time

Fri, 22 Sep 2023 6:30 pm Sat, 23 Sep 2023 8:00 pm

Location

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India

In 2015, students of the Film & Television Institute of India took the cinema to the streets with a strike. One of the first of the agitations that raged across India’s universities at that time, it defined the right to make and show films as central to freedom on the campus. The names of Eisenstein and Pudovkin, John Abraham, Tarkovsky and Ghatak, recited in slogans and displayed on banners, evoked a history of political cinema that had set itself against the might of India’s political establishment.

The podcast, commemorating that historic struggle, is in a series of three episodes:

Episode 1, The Cinema’s Expanded Afterlife, tells a longer cinematic history of a technological and political transformation. The age of film was born more or less after the First World War, signalling a new age of mass democracy. Ever since then, filmmakers have been in the line of fire as the cinema, standing in for a new public domain, has seen battles take place on the street, in courtrooms, and of course in movie theatres.

Episode 2, A Satyajit Ray Plastic Bangle, explores the consequences of a cinema that has turned increasingly elusive to regulation. With lightweight equipment for both making and showing films allowing filmmaking an unprecedented mobility, new possibilities emerged along with new challenges for regulatory authority.

The third and final episode, A Hacker Cinema, looks at the recent histories of censorship, alongside the morphing of the moving image into streaming media, emphasising circulation, using memes, encouraging a new interactivity with its spectators, with significant aesthetic consequences on both filmmaking and the self-definition of a filmmaker.

Podcast recording, supervision and assembly: Gaurav Krishna & Ishan Gupta

Events

September 22, 2023, 6.30 pm
The Cinema’s Expanded Afterlife: A Performance in Ten Acts
Rashmi Devi Sawhney and Ashish RajadhyakshaWhat is cinema? The question has ‘sparked off political debate, threatened governments, heralded social change, and sent real life lovers to their death’ writes Justice Mukul Mudgal in an official government report. Not for nothing, he goes on to write, is it ‘the only form of art deemed fit to be regulated by an Act of Parliament’. Two film theorists perform a volatile answer to what should have been a simple question but turns out to be anything but. They speak to each other across a mammoth digital divide, using digitally-treated reconstructions of films old and new, some famous, most others unknown. It is a show-and-tell that explores why an answer to a relatively simple question has over the years led to violence, to bans and to attacks on filmmakers.Digital Projections: Design by Qareebi & Kinshuk
September 23, 2023, 4.30 pm
The Cinema’s Evacuated Subject
CS Venkiteswaran and Ashish RajadhyakshaHas the cinema, once an art form and medium of entertainment, become a particular kind of virality, an engagement with a modern public capable of the most extreme social consequences? Is there a new aesthetic practice at play? Are independent films, often made in extreme conditions, revealing a hitherto unknown aesthetic dimension to the moving image? The conversation will look at examples of cinema from different parts of India to look at practices that challenge several of our assumptions of how films engage with the audiences in times of struggle.
September 23, 2023, 6.30 pm
How We Began Standing Up to the National Anthem, and Other Stories of the Law
Lawrence Liang and Ashish RajadhyakshaThe story begins, as good stories do, from the middle: from a man named Shyam Narayan Chouksey who wanted the law amended so everyone stood up when Kajol sings the national anthem right in the middle of Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – and has ever since forced us all to do so for all films shown publicly. The complicated history of how the law produces a theory of ‘medium’ to define the cinema, and on the way defines depravity, perversity, good and bad behaviour, takes us back to the origins of state legislation and forward into the present. The fear of the cinema, now extended into a fear of the internet, produces a continuous battle with severe consequences for filmmakers, for audiences, for the State – and not least, for the law itself.

In the Podcast

Archival (in their own voices)
Ritwik Ghatak, Mani Kaul, Kamal Swaroop, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Gurvinder Singh, Vinod Khanna, Prateek Vats, U.R. Ananthamurthy, Amol Palekar, Prakash Jha, Alankrita Srivastava, Vijay Tendulkar, Nakul Singh Sawhney, Paul Mason, Manuel Castells, Rohith Vemula

Performances (using voice cloning)
Miss Ida Dickinson (1928), Mahatma Gandhi (1946), S.K. Patil (1951), Justice Mukul Mudgal (2013), Additional Solicitor General, Government of India (2015)

In discussion:
Lawrence Liang, Sudhanva Deshpande, Abhijit Gupta, G. Arunima, Ravi Sundaram, Sahana Manjesh, Shilpi Gulati, Nandini Sundar

Texts cited:
Shreya Singhal and Ors. v. Union of India, 2015
Report of the Film Inquiry Committee (1951): S.K. Patil, Chairman
Indian Cinematograph Committee Report (1928)
K. A. Abbas vs The Union Of India & Anr on 24 September, 1970
K.M. Sankarappa vs The Union of India, Karnataka High Court, April, 1990
Public comments sought on the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting
The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023
Report of the Committee of Experts to Examine Issues of Certification Under the Cinematograph Act 1952, 2013 (Justice Mukul Mudgal Chair)

Film soundtracks:
Jukti Takko Aar Gappo (Ritwik Ghatak, 1974)
Calcutta 71 (Mrinal Sen, 1972)
Agraharathil Kazhuthai (John Abraham, 1977)
Amma Ariyan (John Abraham, 1986)
Open Cafe v2.5 (Naveen Padmanabha, 2012)
Trimurti (Subhash Ghai, 1995)
Kavita Gherao (Bombay Film Republic, Ben Friedman/Ashish Avikuntak, 1998)
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (Prakash Mehra, 1978)
Chello Show (Pan Nalin, 2021)
Om Dar-b-dar (Kamal Swaroop, 1988)
Celluloid Man (Shiverndra Singh Dungarpur, 2012)

In collaboration with:

Speakers & Contributors

Rashmi Devi Sawhney

Film, Media & Cultural Theorist

Rashmi Devi Sawhney teaches at Christ University, Bangalore. She writes on cinema and the visual arts and is co-founder of VisionMix, an international network of artists, filmmakers and scholars. Her book The Vanishing Point: Moving Images After Video was published in 2022.

CS Venkiteswaran

Critic, Curator & Documentary Filmmaker

CS Venkiteswaran is a critic, curator, translator and documentary filmmaker based in Kerala. He has authored several books on cinema and media and is the recipient of National and State Film Awards. He was the Artistic Director of SiGNS Film Festival.

Lawrence Liang

Dean, Ambedkar University School of Law

Lawrence Liang teaches at the School of law, governance, and citizenship at Ambedkar University Delhi. He works on the intersection of law, culture and technology and has written widely on law and cinema.

Ashish Rajadhyaksha

Independent Scholar

Ashish Rajadhyaksha is an independent scholar, with several books on cinema and on digital governance, and has curated art exhibitions in India, China and the UK. His most recent book is John-Ghatak-Tarkovsky: Citizens, Filmmakers, Hackers (2023).

Gaurav Krishna

Filmmaker & Podcast Producer

Gaurav Krishna is a filmmaker and podcast producer. He has a formal education from Mindscreen Film Institute for cinematography and Prague Film School for direction and screenwriting. His recent film credits include a Czech-Kannada film titled Superstar as writer and director and Aachar and Co as associate director. He’s worked as the sound designer and editor for BIC’s podcast show BIC Talks since its release in March, 2020.

Ishan Gupta

Independent Recordist, Composer & Podcast Producer

Ishan is an independent recordist, composer and podcast producer based in Bangalore. He has previously worked in the water sector, and is half of the noise band Banana Apparatus.