Salma Siddique: Evacuee Cinema: Bombay and Lahore in Partition Transit, 1940–1960 (2022)

Salma SiddiqueHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin

About the book: 

This new history of partition and South Asian cinema is narrated through the careers of émigré film personnel, as well as through the distinctive genres and ancillary ventures that accompanied the aftershocks of partition. Moving beyond arguments about social contingency and political intent, the book suggests that the creative energies, production and subsequent circulation of popular cinema can offer fresh insights into partition. Pointing to regional connections across national boundaries, this book asserts that the cinemas of India and Pakistan must be explored in tandem to uncover the legacy of partition for the culture industries of the region, one that is not hewn out of national erasures. The leitmotifs of émigré personnel, gossip and satire in film print culture, the partisan repertoire of a theatre company, the film genres of the Muslim social, romantic comedies and charba (remakes), and the unruly film archives of postcolonial nation–states, when accessed through the lens of a divisive decolonization, reveal the parallaxes and confabulations of the ‘national’ on both sides.

  • Discovers a past marked by archival dispersal and fragmentation
  • Bridges two national histories, usually kept apart for political reasons
  • Explores the experiments of commercial filmmaking in Lahore through the tumultuous 1940s
  • Aids understanding of cultural contestations and national imaginations during historical transitions

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