New Histories of Media Across the Indo-Pakistan Border Series
A talk by Salma Siddique
Evacuee Cinema: “The All-India Ambitions of Lahore”
Time: 10:30am - 12:00pm
Online event. Registration required - see link below.
Moderated by Isabel Huacuja Alonso (MESAAS)
Abstract: Based on previously unexamined archives and overlooked films, Evacuee Cinema seeks to answer key questions around film production in late-colonial India, partition and the relationship between Pakistani and Indian cinema. In this presentation, I draw attention to the ‘all-India film’, which was frequently used to signal a national taxonomy for films produced in colonial India. This category was made coherent through the cartographic representations of undivided India, claiming connection between the on-screen and off-screen demography and linking film themes, often tenuously, to matters of ‘national importance’. Produced just before the strict film licensing of the war years came into effect, Khandaan (Lineage, Urdu, 1942) was the second ‘all-India film’ of the Lahore-based Pancholi Art Pictures and poses a delicious paradox. Through a reading of the interplay between the on-and off-screen images and stories that underlie the film, including the vision and visuals of the nation, a historically contextualised approach to the film draws attention to the problem introduced by partition to national film categorisation.
Salma Siddique is a media studies scholar and the principal investigator of a DFG-funded film spectatorship project “Nitrate Cities” at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She completed her PhD at the University of Westminster, London, on the impact of partition on film traffic and genres produced in Bombay and Lahore, now out as Evacuee Cinema: Bombay and Lahore in Partition Transit (Cambridge, 2022). Her work has been published in the journals Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Social Text (online), Feminist Media Histories, Third Text and Bioscope. She is a co-editor at Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies.