The MCPH film club screenings have always been a space for a collective experience of movie watching and sharing of the watching experience. Sharing these experiences have been an absorbing affair and often have given rise to interesting conversations about film and film culture. The film club decided to widen its activities by the end of the last academic year, and one of the aims was to organize a space to discuss larger frames of the theory and the actual practice of film. Our thoughts regarding this veered to the idea of an online platform that could connect and engage with spaces of different kinds – critical, academic, and the lesser known technical etc. to gain a more holistic understanding of the cinematic. MCPH Film Club The Journal is a result of those thoughts in action. It is a proud moment for the Club as we welcome you to this first issue.
In this issue, we have focused on five topics: criticism (scope), technical work (apparatus), book review (paper bound), profile, and personal experience (life). Baidurya’s essay Velleity or Criticism in Vernacular tries to locate the third world critic and his unique vernacular capability amidst the dominant mainstream film criticism. Parichay’s article Ek Ajnabee Hasina Se: Life and Times of an Indian Commercial‘ approaches the reappearence of the Bollywood song ‘Ek Ajnabee Hasina Se’ in an Indian commercial, from the idea of external, collective, digital memory as opposed to personal human memory. Children, Foucault and Media by Sonia deploys ideas from Foucault’s History of Sexuality to study the production of images that affect the cultural imagination of children.
The Profile section contains stories about two personalities, from two distant arenas of film: a retro on Suchitra Sen (Star, or just a dot in history? The story of Suchitra Sen) by Asmita, and an interview with Govind Kalburgi, a production manager, who has done his alma mater Manipal University proud. Shyma’s essay From Caste to Class: Recovering North Kerala throws light on the class-based-leftist underpinnings of some of the post 2009 Malayalam cinemas that focus on North Kerala. Binayak’s State and Cinema in Revolutionary Soviet: A Centenary Perspective outlines key moments of the origins of Russian cinema from the purview of the Russian revolution, and Sudha’s Realism as Ethics: with an example from Abbas Kiarostami is about the distinct indexical quality of images as seen in Kiarostami’s movies. The Apparatus section of this issue covers Evan Malik, an emerging cinematographer who works in Gujarati and Hindi films and the television industry.
Megha’s Rainy Afternoon Hunting For Posters is an experiential foray through the streets of Mumbai to ‘Poster Stuff,’ a shop catering to the still existing taste of the pre-digital era Bollywood filmi poster. Shafeeq reviews two books, Performing Self, Performing Gender: Reading the Lives of Women Performers in Colonial India (2017) by Sheetala Bhat and Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema (2008) by Negar Mottahedeh.
This issue’s photo captures the Khursheed Jah Devdi of Hyderabad.
I thank the MCPH administration for their support and all the members of the Film Club for their work in terms of conception and active engagement in the creation of this journal. I specially thank Mariam and Michael for the numerous hours they put in to set up the website.
Wishing you a good read,
The MCPH Film Club Journal.