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A transnational history of the Indian New Wave: memories, movements, auteurs

posted on 21.02.2017, 00:04 authored by Patra, Parichay
This thesis traces the transnational associations of the Indian New Wave, a largely state-sponsored film movement that spans the 1970s. While Indian cinema studies has engaged consistently with the national popular (often referred to as Bollywood) and its relationship with the Indian nation-state, scant attention has been paid to arthouse cinemas. Moreover, cinema studies scholarship has frequently posed realism and melodrama in opposition in ways that too easily equate realism with arthouse aesthetics and melodrama with popular cinema. This thesis argues for a rethinking of this opposition by exploring how the Indian New Wave might be understood through a relationship with cinematic transnationalism(s). For example, the New Wave of the 1970s often rejects cinematic realism and some of its paradigmatic forms, with the rejection itself working as a transnational mode of address, linking the film movement in the subcontinent with its modernist counterparts in Europe and Latin America. The thesis explores various regional cultural formations, literatures and visual art traditions that continued to influence the New Wave along with the transnational aesthetic and political associations. Together they problematise and complicate the national cinema framework prevalent in Indian film studies. Drawing on transnational cinema theories, rejuvenated discussions of authorship/auteurism, textual analyses of films and the findings of extensive archival research in India, this thesis constructs a novel framework for understanding this undertheorised New Wave cinema and works as an intervention into the domain of Indian film studies.


Principal supervisor

Belinda Smaill

Additional supervisor 1

Deane Williams

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Media, Film and Journalism


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type


Campus location



Faculty of Arts