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Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition
Bhaskar Sarkar
Price : ₹ 950.00  
ISBN : 9788125040507
Language : English
Pages : 384
Binding : Paperback
Book Size : 158 x 240 mm
Year : 2010
Series :
Territorial Rights : Restricted
Imprint : No Image
About the Book

The political truncation of 1947 led to a social cataclysm in which about a million perished and some twelve million became homeless. Combining film studies, trauma theory and South Asian cultural history, Bhaskar Sarkar follows the shifting traces of this event in Indian cinema of the next six decades. He argues that Partition remains a wound in the collective psyche of South Asia, and its screen representations foster an affective historical consciousness that supplements standard history-writing.

Tracking cinema’s reluctance to deal with the Partition in the 1950s and 1960s, and the eventual ‘return of the repressed’ from the mid-1980s, Sarkar draws attention to a gradual and complex process of cultural mourning. Even the initial ‘silence’ was never complete, not only because of atypical Partition films such as Lahore, Apna Desh and Ritwik Ghatak’s trilogy, but also because the trauma frequently surfaced in indirect, allegorical forms. He points to the split families, mutilated bodies, amnesiac protagonists, and foundlings of AdalatWaqt, and Deedar; the melancholic sensibility and style of Aag or Amar; and the obsessive search for happiness in the romantic films starring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen. Sarkar relates the recent proliferation of films about Partition and its aftermath—including Tamas, Gadar, Border and Naseem—to a rising disillusionment with the postcolonial state, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, economic liberalisation and the emergence of a Hindu-chauvinist nationalism.

Covering Hindi and Bengali commercial cinema, art cinema, and television, Mourning the Nation provides a striking history of Indian cinema that will be of interest not only to specialists of media, literature, and cultural history, but also to lay readers with an investment in 
the psychobiography of the nation.
Table of Contents

Introduction: National Cinema’s Hermeneutic of Mourning
Part I. A Resonant Silence

  1. Cinema’s Project of Nationhood
  2. Runes of Laceration
  3. Bengali Cinema: A Spectral Subnationality

Part II. The Return of the Repressed

4. Dispersed Nodes of Articulation
5. Ghatak, Melodrama, and the Restitution of Experience
6. Tamas and the Limits of Representation
7. Mourning (Un)limited
Coda: The Critical Enchantment of Mourning


Contributors (Author(s), Editor(s), Translator(s), Illustrator(s) etc.)

Bhaskar Sarkar is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.