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When Film Came to Madras

Hughes, Stephen (2010) 'When Film Came to Madras.' BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, 1 (2). pp. 147-168.

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Abstract

This article argues for the necessity of rethinking the beginnings of cinema in South India through a broader historical consideration of the specific entertainment contexts, which both preceded and were eventually transformed by the introduction of film. The first film exhibitors introduced film to Madras as a kind of European entertainment using the same local venues as the European variety circuit. Their shows conformed to a variety format and they frequently mixed films with other kinds of live performances. In addition to situating early touring cinema shows within the local, European entertainment circuits of Madras city, the second strand of my argument is that we need to rethink the mobility of early cinema in India. Rather than fixating on any discrete point of origin, I suggest that our attention needs to turn to how early cinema worked as a portable technology that traveled along various transnational networks through India. Thus, in our effort to ground early cinema as part of local history in Madras, we must also reconcile this with a better understanding of its spatial movement throughout South Asia and beyond.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 09749276
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1177/097492761000100206
Depositing User: Stephen Hughes
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2011 08:49
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/11956

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