[Reader-list] Out of Copyright Films on Indiancine.ma

Shaina A kalakamra at gmail.com
Sun Oct 26 23:32:41 CDT 2014

Dear all,

Indiancine.ma is an annotated online archive of Indian films. It was
initiated by Pad.ma and is operated in collaboration with a number of film
studies institutions in India. See: http://indiancine.ma/about. Its initial
index of films and metadata was based on Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul
Willemen's Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, and has been updated to currently
more than 36,000 films.

Our starting focus has been to collect and build a compilation of films
that are in the public domain. This includes films that were made over 60
years ago and are out of copyright. The attempt is to build a complete and
comprehensive list of such films, and to upload them when available, along
with ancillary material. A growing list of films and annotations of such
films is here: https://indiancine.ma/grid/year/list==rlx:Out_of_Copyright

Below are some of the films worked on by film scholars, students, and
researchers on a Pad.ma film histories fellowship, which have been shared
over the past few months on the indiancine.ma lists and other film studies
discussion lists. Indiancine.ma researcher Ananya Parikh has put this
condensed compilation together. Many of the original posts were by Ashish
Rajadhayaksha. (See previous postings at http://indiancine.ma/news.)

A very quick how-to guide: Each film can be seen in one of the following
Views, among others. View *Info*, where you get basic information of the
film, along with a short summary and other details. View *Player*, where
you get to watch the film alongside with the annotations in the right
column. To watch it full screen, there is an expand icon on the top left
corner of the video window. View *Editor*, where you have the options of
editing to add time based annotations among other features. Type “H” for
help to keyboard shortcuts in Editor View.

To explore all its possibilities and to add to Indiancine.ma, you should
register, here: https://indiancine.ma/signup

Happy reading and viewing.

 *Jeevitha Nauka*

Malayalam cinema's major hit and a legendary melodrama, *Jeevitha Nauka*
was the second film of Koshi-Kunchako Productions, made at the Udaya
Studio, along with a major star cast. Jenson Joseph, as a part of his
Pad.ma film Histories fellowship writes about the films' extensive use of
documentary footage as also its use of theatre. He also draws our attention
to the songs used in the film; four of which were a direct adaptation from
Raj Kapoor's *Barsaat *(1949).



Film scholar Gayatri Chatterjee's annotations for Kedar Sharma's 1949
film *Jogan
*starring Dilip Kumar and Nargis create a rich tapestry both in and around
the film. Her annotations include both a close reading of the text- with
its use of camera movement and lighting, and also a placing of Jogan within
larger cultural contexts. Chatterjee provides interesting readings of songs
in the film, again drawing on larger musical Bhakti traditions and placing
them against the context of the film.


 *Bombay Talkies Films*

Debashree Mukherjee, as a part of a Pad.ma film histories fellowship,
selected and annotated a trio of major Franz Osten Bombay Talkies
films, *Achhut
Kanya* (1936), *Prem Kahani* (1937) and *Nirmala* (1938). Debashree
introduces us to a large and varied group of characters around the films.


Debashree writes about her selection and annotation strategy here Three
Bombay Talkies Films from the 1930s
and presents an interview with Peter Dietze, grandson of Himanshu Rai with
rare images from his Melbourne collection.

 *Bengali Classic Films*

Six Bengali classic films: *Alibaba *(1937), *Adhikar* (1939), *Chandidas*
(1932), *Chinnamul* (1951), *Jighansha *(1951), *Hanabari *(1952), have
been annotated by Pad.ma film histories fellows Pritha Chakrabarti,
Maharghaya Chakraborty and Utsab Sen at the Media Lab, Department of Film
Studies, Jadavpur University. Extensively annotated, the resources include
publicity material, song books, photographs, adverts and reviews from
contemporary journals of that time in Bengal.

Baidurya Chakrabarti for his fellowship has annotated *Avatar *(1941)
written and directed by Premankur Atorthy. Baidurya has also translated the
immensely important text by Atorthy, titled Annals from the Days of Silent
Cinema. Originally written in a set of serialized essays in *Basumati* weekly
between 1951-53, these personalized memoirs are a useful contribution to
the growing body of literature on India's silent cinema.


 *Mystery Thrillers in Bengali Cinema*

Subhajit Chatterjee in a short essay entitled “The Bengali Mystery-Thriller
Film in Post-Independence Era” introduces a series of popular film in the
aftermath of Independence that are 'infused with horrific, supernatural and
crime related ingredients.' His introduction also includes a growing
filmography of crime thrillers of post Independence Bengali cinema. Some of
the films he introduces have been annotated and subtitled by Maharghya
Chakraborty and Utsab Sen (Media Lab, Jadavpur University)

*Kalo Chhaya* (Premendra Mitra, 1948) https://indiancine.ma/FCY/player

*Kankal *(Naresh Mitra, 1950) https://indiancine.ma/FWQ/player

*Jighansha *(Ajoy Kar, 1951) https://indiancine.ma/GEU/player

*Hanabari *(Premendra Mitra, 1952) https://indiancine.ma/GMQ/player

 *First Generation Realist Films*

Indiancine.ma has put together five 'first generation-realist' films. While
all these films are well known examples of Indian cinema, seeing them
together and heavily annotated and discussed by film scholars brings to
light new ways of thinking about Post War realism in film. Four of the
films- *Kalpana**, **Dharti Ke Lal**, **Neecha Nagar**,* and *Dr. Kotnis Ki
Amar Kahani *were officially war efforts films under the prevailing 1942
Defence of India Rules.

The annotations for the films bring together theoretical writing,
interviews, and other material to create an interesting conversation
between the film text and all the ancillary material.

 *Neecha Nagar*

Chetan Anand’s debut film reveals both strongly expressionist influences
and those from the Soviet cinema. Subtitled and annotated by Ashish
Rajadhayaksha, the annotations bring into focus the use of dance in an
otherwise strongly ‘realist’ text. As Rajadhyaksha points out that an
astonishing aspect was the presence of dance in many of the realist texts
of the period including *Dharti ke Lal* and *Neecha Nagar*. He uses
interviews with Zohra Segal by C.S. Lakshmi (Mirrors and Gestures:
Conversations with Women Dancers, 2003) to develop this point in the


*Dharti Ke Lal*

An original cinematic rendition of the Bijon Bhattacharya’s *Nabbana*, a
major IPTA play about the Bengal Famine, *Dharti ke Lal* by K Abbas is
considered to be one of the major realist works of Indian cinema. The
annotations by Ashish Rajadhayaksha use the writings of Amartya Sen ('Famines',
World Development. Vol. 8, pp. 613-621,1980), Malini Bhattacharya on the
Indian People's Theatre Association, specifically on Bijon
Bhattacharya's *Nabanna
*('The IPTA In Bengal', Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 2, 1983) and Abbas' 'I
am Not an island'.  The film has been subtitled by Dr Preet Hiradhar
(Lingnan University).


 *Dr Kotnis ki Amar Kahani*

Drawing on her 2008 essay entitled 'Immortal Tale or Nightmare? Dr Kotnis
between Art and Exploitation', Neepa Majumdar (along with Ashish
Rajadhayaksha) takes her discussion of the film further to ask new
questions of the film's ability to navigate between conflicting
interpretations: as a war movie, a movie about Indian nationalism, a
solidarity film with China and one that reveals the brutal face of the
Communist state.



Uday Shankar’s dance classic *Kalpana*, has been subtitled and annotated by
Ashish Rajadhyaksha. The annotations bring to attention the strongly
operatic nature of the realism in *Kalpana*, and its strong investment in
both tragedy and melodrama. Rajadhayaksha had used to major sources on the
film including

Ruth Abrahams unpublished dissertation *The Life and Art of Uday Shankar*,
(NYU PhD Thesis, 1985: pg 119-120) and Urmimala Sarkar Munsi's writings,
especially her 'Imag(in)ing the Nation: Uday Shankar's *Kalpana*' (in Munsi
and Stephanie Burridge ed. *Traversing Tradition: Celebrating Dance in
India*, New Delhi: Routledge, 2011).



Using Moinak Biswas’s essay 'The City and the Real: Chhinnamul and the Left
Cultural Movement in the 1940s' (2006), Biswas and Maharghya Chakraborty
annotate Nemai Ghosh’s all time classic about a family of peasants who move
from Naldanga, near Dhaka, to Calcutta in 1951. The film includes the
famous Sealdah station sequence shot in which the actors merge with
documentary shots of actual refugees on the station. The film is also known
for being the first cinematic work of Ritwik Ghatak.


*____ *

In other news:

*Workshop at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) on copyright law and
the Archive*

September 10-11, 2014

NFAI, Pune.

Legal researcher and film scholar Lawrence Liang conducted a two-day
workshop with staff at the NFAI regarding copyright law in India and the
role of the state archive. Beginning with an engaging history on the role
of the archivist and the many possibilities of the archive, Liang laid out
a fertile ground for a discussion on the state archives position vis-à-vis
copyright law. He addressed how the question of archives has not been
directly addressed in the act, and built a conversation between the
traditional archive; in this case the Government run archive with newer
forms of archives as imagined across the world. This was followed by
questions and queries from the staff on their experiences of working in the
national archives.

 *International Seminar on Writing Histories for Indian Cinema: Chapter Two*

Organised by
Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University
in collaboration with
http://Pad.ma <http://pad.ma>

October 30-31, 2014
Anita Banerjee Memorial Hall, Jadavpur University main campus

The 2014 annual seminar organised by Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur
University, wishes to revisit the theme of our 2009 seminar on Writing
Histories for Indian Cinema. Apart from continuing the debates on Indian
film history and historiography, this year's seminar will focus on the
ongoing archival initiative http://Indiancine.ma with which the Department
and The Media Lab, JU, has become closely associated. While that platform
promises to be a valuable research and teaching aid it has also generated
debates about methodologies as well as the intellectual content of the
discipline of film studies.

The first of this two-day event shall focus on historical questions
pertaining to periods, genres, regions, institutions and inter-media
relationships. The second day will begin with reflections on contemporary
practice and then shift to the idea and practice of digital archiving,
bringing on board questions such as conceptualizing regional cinemas or
reconstructing filmographies against the new digital horizon. Practitioners
and researchers who have worked on the http://indiancine.ma platform shall
critically reflect on their experience, followed by Cinemathon, a hands-on
workshop to acquaint students with the processes of digital annotation.
More here: https://indiancine.ma/news/P


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