SACF South Asian Cinema in UK

10 August: Seniors’ Free Talk: Indian Films & Partition by Lalit Mohan Joshi & screening of film Beyond Partition

10 August: Seniors’ Free Talk: Indian Films & Partition by Lalit Mohan Joshi & screening of film Beyond Partition

Thursday 10 August 2017 | 11 am

NFT3 BFI, Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT

Seniors’ Free Talk: Indian Films & Partition by Lalit Mohan Joshi, Director, SACF, followed by screening of his film Beyond Partition.

Lalit Mohan Joshi will present his film Beyond Partition (UK-India 2006. 65min), which explores the trauma of Partition and its impact on filmmakers including Gulzar and Govind Nihalani (director of Tamas, see below). The film also features directors Sathyu, Shyam Benegal, script writer Shama Zaidi and Sabiha Sumar. Connecting past and present, it highlights issues that impact on Hindu-Muslim and India-Pakistan relations today.


To book, please ring: 020 7928 3232). Under 60s normal BFI matinee price.

Free for over-60s (SOLD OUT! Sorry no more seats available!)

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BFI India on FilmIndian Gymkhana London 1916

Screening Partition epic TAMAS

12 August: Screening Partition epic TAMAS

Saturday 12th August 2017

NFT 3, BFI, Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT
11am –5pm (this includes a 60 minutes’ interval)

Screening of Govind Nihalani’s Partition epic

Tamas

Govind Nihalani will introduce his film and be presented with SACF’s Excellence in Cinema Award
There will be a Q & A with the filmmaker

An epic drama set against the backdrop of riot-stricken North India on the eve of Partition in 1947. Nathu (Puri), an outcast, is hired to kill a pig, whose carcass he’s later appalled to find in front of the mosque. A riot follows and, ridden with guilt, Nathu takes his ailing mother and pregnant wife and leaves town. Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists protested against the TV broadcast of this popular work, and director Govind Nihalani was put under police protection. ‘Making Tamas was an act of faith...’ he said. ‘When Partition happened, I was a little kid but my first memory of fear, panic and blood comes from that period.’ The stellar star cast includes AK Hangal, Uttara Baokar and acclaimed writer Bhisham Sahni, on whose novel this film is based.


Now BFI Southbank will provide 2 tickets for the Partition Epic TAMAS for the price of one to all friends of the SACF. Price for one ticket is £11. You can now get two tickets for £11. Please quote the following BFI Promotion Code when booking online or on phone from BFI Box Office as follows:

INDIA241

For tickets, please ring the BFI Box Office on 020 7928 3232 (11.30am - 20.30pm) or to buy online - Click here


Sponsors

BFI India on FilmIndian Gymkhana London 1916

SACF Honours Filmmaker Govind Nihalani & Screens TAMAS

12 August: SACF Honours Filmmaker Govind Nihalani & Screens TAMAS

Saturday 12 August 2017 | BFI Southbank, NFT3, 11:00 am

On the 70th year of Indian Independence and Partition, SACF will honour veteran Indian filmmaker, Govind Nihalani, the maker of the epic Partition film, Tamas based on Bhisham Sahni’s Hindi novel of the same name.

Govind Nihalani’s seminal films include Aakrosh (Cry of the Wounded, 1980) and ground breaking Ardh Satya (Half Truth, 1983) that became a landmark in its gritty portrayal of the nexus between Indian police and the ruling political class. The film catapulted the protagonist Om Puri to a most sought after actor for the Indian new wave as well as the popular cinema.

Govind Nihalani has received six coveted National film Awards that includes best cinematography for Shyam Benegal’s Junoon, best direction for Aakrosh (1980), Ardh Satya (1983), Tamas (Darkness,1988), Drishti (1990) and Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998).

South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF) has earlier honoured M.S. Sathyu (2004), Adoor Gopalakrishnan (2006), Saeed Akhtar Mirza (2008), Girish Kasravalli (2009), Gulzar (2010), Shyam Benegal (2013) and Vishal Bhardwaj (2014).    

Govind Nihalani was born on 19 December 1940 in Karachi, Sindh province (now in Pakistan) and his family migrated to India during Partition. He started his career as an Assistant Cinematographer to the legendary V. K. Murthy, the cinematographer of classics like Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), Pyaasa (1957) and Kagaz Ke Phool (1959).

Govind Nihalani earned his reputation as a director of photography (DOP) by filming Shyam Benegal’s early feature films like Ankur (1973), Nishant (1974), and Manthan (1975), Junoon (1977) and Bhumika (1978. He was also one of the cameramen for Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi (1982).

Nihalani’s Party (1984), exposes the hypocrisy of Mumbai’s ideological and social elite, while Drishti (1990), written by novelist Shashi Deshpande is a study of the failing relationship of an upper-class urban couple.

After receiving SACF’s ‘Excellence in Cinema’ Award, Govind Nihalani will introduce Tamas. The screening will be followed by question and answer session with Govind Nihalani.

TAMAS (Darkness, 1987)

An epic drama set against the backdrop of riot-stricken North India on the eve of Partition in 1947. Nathu (Puri), an outcast, is hired to kill a pig, whose carcass he’s later appalled to find in front of the mosque. A riot follows and, ridden with guilt, Nathu takes his ailing mother and pregnant wife and leaves town. Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists protested against the TV broadcast of this popular work, and director Govind Nihalani was put under police protection. ‘Making Tamas was an act of faith...’ he said. ‘When Partition happened, I was a little kid but my first memory of fear, panic and blood comes from that period.’ The stellar star cast includes AK Hangal, Uttara Baokar and acclaimed writer Bhisham Sahni, on whose novel this film is based.

Still from film TamasTAMAS, India 1987
Dir Govind Nihalani
With Om Puri, Deepa Sahi, Dina Pathak, Bhisham Sahni, Amrish Puri
298min, Video, Hindi with EST
7hrs (including 1hr interval)

The screening will be followed by a discussion in the Blue Room.


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BFI India on FilmIndian Gymkhana London 1916

Welcome Film Director Govind Nihalani

13 August: Welcome Film Director Govind Nihalani

Sunday 13th August from 1-3pm
The Indian Gymkhana Club, Thornbury Avenue, London TW7 4NQ

Indian Gymkhana Club & South Asian Cinema Foundation (SACF) will welcome filmmaker Govind Nihalani by organising a lunch in his honour.

At 1 pm, SACF will screen part of Govind Nihalani’s Tamas on the impact of Partition of India on Punjabis.


Film screening: FREE

Lunch: £20 per person.
ALL WELCOME!
Book NOW by ringing this number: 020 8568 4009
(Daily from 12 noon – 11pm)


Sponsor

Indian Gymkhana London 1916

Govind Nihalani on Om Puri

14 August: Govind Nihalani on Om Puri

Monday 14th August 2017 | 11am-12.15pm

at: Studio BFI, Southbank, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London SE1 8XT

Indian filmmaker Govind Nihalani will deliver SACF’s 14th Dadasaheb Phalke Memorial lecture on film actor Om Puri titled:

“Om Puri: The Face of His Times”

SEATS ARE VERY LIMITED. So, please book your place NOW to avoid disappointment.


To book email: lalitmohanjoshi@gmail.com or ring SACF on: 0780 173 5646


Entrance is FREE!
Book now! Donations welcome to helps us sustain our work.

Sponsors

BFI India on FilmIndian Gymkhana London 1916

Photos from 13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture

Photos from 13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture

13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture held on 30th September 2016 by Farrukh Dhondy at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London was a success.

The topic was Screenplays in Popular Indian (Hindi) Cinema. Farrukh elaborated on his thesis on Indian cinema being in its dramatic origins, traditions, and myths, though not in its technology, unique and distinct from the developments in Western film-making. His thesis traces the history of Indian cinema from the nationalist impulses of Dadasaheb Phalke through a Gandhian reform commitment to the films of the immediate post-independence era and then to the developments of modern myths and the Indian film’s devious and crowd-pleasing or conscience-pleasing confrontations with reality.

Here are some photos from the lecture -

13th Phalke Group Farrukh Dhondhy Rosy and Farrukh SACF Farrukh

13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture 2016

13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture 2016

‘Screenplays in Popular Indian (Hindi) Cinema by Farrukh Dhondy’

By Farrukh Dhondy

Friday, 30th September 2016 at 6:30 PM
at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF

Farrukh DhondyPopular Indian (Hindi) Cinema has developed a unique form of storytelling from the very beginning. Cinema came to India from the west but it developed its own narrative rooted in its own theatrical forms like Ramleela, Nautanki, Jatra and Parsi Theatre.

SACF’s 13th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture will explore the roots of screenplay writing in Indian Cinema.   The lecture will be delivered by well- known screen writer, playwright and the former Channel Four Commissioning Editor (1984–97), Farrukh Dhondy.  He has written the screenplay for Mangal Pandey, starring Aamir Khan.

SACF’s Annual Phalke Memorial Lecture was instituted in the year 2002 with the inaugural lecture by the late P.K.Nair, India’s pioneering film archivist. Subsequently, SACF’s Phalke lectures have been delivered by India’s well known filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Chandraprakash Dwivedi and the documentary filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

Farrukh will elaborate on his thesis on Indian cinema being in its dramatic origins, traditions, and myths, though not in its technology, unique and distinct from the developments in Western film-making. His thesis traces the history of Indian cinema from the nationalist impulses of Dadasaheb Phalke through a Gandhian reform commitment to the  films of the immediate post-independence era and then to the developments of modern myths and the Indian film’s devious and crowd-pleasing or conscience-pleasing confrontations with reality.

Achut Kanya Awara Do Bigha Zamin Mangal Pandey

12th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture 2015

12th Dada Saheb Phalke Memorial Lecture 2015

Lalit Mohan JoshiNow re-scheduled, SACF's 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture along with a Musical Farewell to Sangeeta Bahadur will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday 30th July at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1.

As announced earlier, the speaker, Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram will give an illustrated talk titled: ‘Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’.

The event will be chaired by Rosie Thomas, Director of the Centre for Research and Education in Arts & Media, University of Westminster. Well-known screenwriter, Farrukh Dhondy will be Chief Guest. 

After his talk, Ashvin will take questions from the audience. This will be followed by a Musical Farewell to Sangeeta Bahadur who is scheduled to leave London after an eventful innings as Director of the Nehru Centre. A wine reception and refreshments will follow.

- Lalit Mohan Joshi


‘Multiplicity in Motion: The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’

By Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram

Thursday, 30th July 2015 at 6:30 PM
at The Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF

Ashwin DevasundaramSACF’s 12th Phalke Memorial Lecture: ‘Multiplicity in Motion:The Rise of India’s New Independent Cinema’ deals with the rise of a new kind of Indian films. The emergence of a new wave of independent Indian films since 2010 is revolutionising Indian cinema. Contemporary scholarship on Indian cinema thus far has focused asymmetrically on Bollywood - India’s dominant cultural signifier. With multiple stories spanning the diverse demographic and geopolitical spectrum of everyday human experience, this lecture, by Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram explores ‘the new Indian Indies as a glocal hybrid film form - global in aesthetic and local in content.’ Ashwin argues that the new Indies have emerged from a middle space between India’s globalising present and traditional past.  The new Indies’ paradoxical ethos is epitomised in their circumvention of Bollywood ‘song and dance’ sequences on the one hand and their incorporation of exoteric promotion and marketing strategies on the other, unlike their esoteric 1970s and 1980s Parallel art-house cinema predecessors such as Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani.  In the absence of an autonomous Indie distribution infrastructure, new independent films often have to rely on big corporate production houses or Bollywood producers and stars to enhance their visibility and saleability.  However, the Indies share a common trait with their Parallel cinema forebears – they narrate both alternative narratives and narratives of alterity.  Films such as Peepli Live (2010), Harud (2010), I Am (2010), Fandry (2013) The Lunchbox (2013) and Ship of Theseus (2013) all espouse themes and issues that discursively engage with the contemporary ‘state of the nation’.  Some subversive Indies, such as Bengali film Gandu (2010) transgress normative notions of ‘traditional Indian values’ and hence encounter state censorship and regulation.  Drawing from in-depth interviews with directors, actors, academics and members of the Indian Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, the lecture will try to contextualise the newIndies’ emergence in a Bollywood-dominated Indian cultural milieu.

Dr. Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram has a PhD in Languages and Intercultural Studies from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.  His thesis was on the socio-ideological impact of new independent Indian cinema.  He also has an M.A in Mass Communications from the University of Bedfordshire.  Ashvin has wide research interests in the arts, culture, philosophy and politics.  Ashvin is currently working on a book that promises to be the first dedicated and comprehensive analysis of new Indian Independent Cinema.

SACF’s Annual Phalke Memorial Lectures have been delivered in the recent past by India’s well known Indian filmmakers like Shyam Benegal and Saeed Akhtar Mirza, film archivist P.K. Nair and the documentary filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur.

Chair - Professor Rosie Thomas, Director of CREAM: Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media, University of Westminster.

 

For more details about the event, click here.

Still from Haider Still from Lunch Box Poster of Peepli Live

Sabu, Elephant trainer at Tom Arnold's Circus, Harringay in London

Sabu in Harringay Circus in the 1950s

In the early 1950s, Sabu was the elephant trainer in Tom Arnold’s Harringay Circus. Having retained his youthful looks, he is reported to have appeared in oriental clothes and a turban in the show.

He was the same Sabu who had become Britain’s first and only child star of Indian origin in the 1930s and won international repute. Sabu had been found by Alexander Korda’s team members, Osmond Borradaile and Robert Flaherty. At that time, he was attached to the elephant stables of the Maharaja of Mysore. Impressed by Sabu’s natural flair for acting and his ease in handling elephants, he was made the hero of Korda’s film, The Elephant Boy (1937). Young Sabu who had then been a very young lad, was later shipped, along with his brother, to London for completing the film in London. He next went on to star in Korda’s empire film, The Drum and his oriental Arabian Nights extravaganza The Thief of Bagdad (1940).

Sabu became an American citizen in 1944 and during World War II, joined the US Airforce and took part in the War for which he was decorated with honours.

It is said that he was offered the lead role in a film by Mehboob Khan, but was unable to accept the part due to some practical problems. It was after 1945, that finding his acting career limiting, he had gone back to elephants, worked in Tom Arnold’s circus in the early 1950s and toured all over Europe.

For a film on the Harringay Circus, please click this link: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/circus-comes-to-town-2

Tom Arnold's Harringay Circus with Sabu (1951) The Harringay Circus (1951) Sabu with his Elephant in The Harringay Circus Sabu poses with his Elephant at The Harringay Circus (circa 1955) Sabu on Elephant (1951) Sabu in the Airforce Sabu as Prince Safeyd in 'The Drum' Poster of 'The Thief of Bagdad' Poster of 'The Jungle Book' with Sabu Harringay Circus Poster (1952-1953)

 


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Scene from Balidaan/ Sacrifice

Colonel Naval D. Gandhi

1897–?

Indian film director who made both feature and documentary films. Born in Karachi, Sindh (now in Pakistan), Naval hailed from a Parsi family. After graduating from Ahmedabad in 1919, he embarked on a European study tour. While working for Orient Pictures in India, he won fame when he directed a critically acclaimed film titled Balidan (or Sacrifice, 1927). Based on Rabindranath Tagore’s play “Bisarjan”, it was made to show audiences in the west that Indian cinema could measure up to international standards. Recognising its merit, the Indian Cinematograph Committee, described Gandhi’s Balidan as “An excellent and truly Indian film”. Another film directed by Naval Gandhi was Shikari (1932).

During World War II, Naval Gandhi was a Colonel in the Indian Army. This enabled him to work in Bombay’s Army Film Centre that had grown from a small film unit set up by the department of military training in 1941, into a far larger organisation with a wider film-making remit. He later left the army and returned to film-making. Because of his Karachi connections, he produced a documentary that had the unedited version of the speech delivered by Mohammad Ali Jinnah on 14 August 1947, Pakistan’s independence day. Titled The Birth of Pakistan (1947), it was written and directed by Yavar Abbas who was then a young Indian army officer and combat cameraman trained in filmmaking in the British Indian Army's Public Relations Film Unit established around 1941 in Tollygunge, Calcutta.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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June Duprez in The Thief of Bagdad

June Duprez

14th May 1918 – 30th October 1984

English actress. She was born in London in the middle of World War I. Aided by her exotic and delicate looks, her acting career started in her teens in British films like The Cardinal (1936), Crimson Circle (1936) and The Spy in Black (1939). She was first noticed in Zoltan Korda’s The Four Feathers (1939), a technicolor screen adaptation of a novel by A. E. W. Mason. The same year, she went on to play a role in Alexander Korda’s production of the pro-British film The Lion has Wings (1939). Then came Korda’s colourful Arabian Nights adventure fantasy for which she is best remembered, The Thief of Bagdad (1940). Here, her role as the lovely Arabian Princess of Basra with Sabu as Abu, the lovable thief of Bagdad, Rex Ingram, the talented Black actor who played the incredible genie, Conrad Veidt as the evil Jaffar and John Justin as the young Prince Ahmad under the direction of Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger and Tim Whelan, turned her into a star.

Sabu with June Duprez and John Justin in the Thief of Bagdad

The outbreak of World War II, forced the production team of The Thief of Bagdad to move from London to America and consequently she found herself in Hollywood. Riding on the crest of a wave created by her remarkable success in The Thief of Bagdad, her career could have taken off. However, this never happened. After a gap, she managed to get “good roles” in two American films: None but the lonely heart (1944) where she acted with Cary Grant and And then there were none (1945), a film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s crime thriller of the same name. She, however, failed to carve a real niche for herself in Hollywood films and could never reach anywhere near the heights she had gained in The Thief of Bagdad. June believed her career was blocked by Merle Oberon because they looked very similar.

Towards the end of her life, she lived for a while in Rome and then returned to London where she died after an illness. She has no grave for she is reported to have been cremated.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Conrad Veidt

Hans Walter Conrad Veidt

Conrad Veidt in The Thief of Bagdad22nd January 1893 – 3rd April 1943

German-born British actor. Born in Berlin, Veidt became an established actor in German silent films in the 1920s. He left Germany with his Jewish wife in 1933 and settled in the UK. After becoming a naturalised British citizen, Veidt contributed towards Britain’s war effort. Before migrating to America in the midst of World War II, his excellence in playing sinister and villainous roles such as a spy, Nazi agent or an evil man won him wide acclaim. One of his most memorable roles was that of the evil minister Jaffar alongside Sabu who played the lovable thief and June Duprez who acted as the beautiful “Arabian Nights” princess in Alexander Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad (1940). His last film was Above Suspicion (1943). He died aged 50 in Los Angeles. After being kept for many years in America, his ashes were brought to the UK and buried at London’s Golders Green Crematorium in 1997.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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The Thief of Bagdad Memorabilia

The Thief of Bagdad Memorabilia

The Thief of Bagdad Memorabilia The Thief of Bagdad Memorabilia The Thief of Bagdad Memorabilia

In the 1940s, Rice-Weiner, a premium costume jewellery company set up in 1938, produced some pieces of unique jewellery inspired by Alexander Korda’s The Thief of Bagdad.They were marked: Thief of Bagdad Korda© and Alexander Korda© and are still available.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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The Thief of Bagdad

The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

A classic fantasy film inspired by The Arabian Nights. Its producer was UK’s pioneering British Hungarian film-maker, Alexander Korda. It is a spectacular film with amazing special effects that have continued to inspire film-makers to this day. Though begun in the UK, its completion had to be shifted to Hollywood due to the outbreak of World War II. It directors were Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, Tim Whelan, Ludwig Berger, the Korda brothers and William C Menzies. It starred Sabu who stands out in the film as the quick-witted boy thief (Abu). It tells the story of how he befriends and helps Prince Ahmad (played by John Justin) against his evil minister (Jaffar played by Conrad Veidt) and also helps him win his lady love (The Arabian Princess, played by June Duprez).

 

A scene of The Thief of Bagdad Special effects in 'The Thief of Bagdad' Sabu with June Duprez and John Justin Poster June Duprez John Justin as the Prince and Conrad Veidt as Jaffar Conrad Veidt as Jaffar


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Adrian Brunel

Adrian Brunel

Adrian Brunel4th September 1892 – 18th February 1958

British film director, scenario writer and author of several guide books on film-making. He was born in Brighton and educated in Harrow. He went into directing films after he formed a film company in 1916. During World War I, he served in the Film Department of the Ministry of Defence but started working as a scenario editor after the War ended in 1918. In the 1920s, he worked with Leslie Howard and A. A. Milne, creator of the famous Winnie the Pooh stories. His effective burlesquing in short comedies was his original contribution to the British cinema of his times. Some of his films such as Blighty (1927) and The Constant Nymph (1928) won him considerable fame.

Despite the negative effects of the arrival of sound, he managed to survive by writing guide books for aspiring film-makers. He was active in the Film Society Movement and also set up the Brunel and Montagu Company that regularly prepared imported films for British distribution. He also ventured into working as a scenario writer for an Indo-British talking film, Shikari (Hunter, 1932).

In 1949, he wrote his autobiography, Nice Work (1939). He died aged 76 in Gerrard’s Cross Hospital, Buckinghamshire. His work has not been assessed fully since few of his films have survived.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Iftekhar Rasool

Sheikh Iftekhar Rasool

Iftekhar Rasool with partner in London oriental show with snake1904 –?

Indian film actor and director who did uncredited roles in films in the UK, France and USA. Born in Multan, (now in Pakistan) he left for London in 1923 aged 19 with the intention of studying law. He, however, drifted onto the stage, did oriental shows and danced in cabarets in London, Vienna and other European cities and also got small oriental parts in silent films like The Garden of Allah (1927). Next, he played the “lead” in the English film, Scheherezade and was called the ‘Rudolph Valentino of the East’.

In the early 1930s, he set up Elephanta Film Corporation Limited and Sphinx Films to produce a film inspired by Thomas Moore’s poem on a Mughal princess titled Lallah Rookh. It was started in England. However, little information about this film, his contribution as a filmmaker or his later career seems to have surfaced so far.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Prof. B.R. Deodhar

Professor B.R. Deodhar

Prof. B.R. Deodhar11th September 1901 – 10th March 1990

Indian musicologist, classical musician, music director, teacher of music, specialist in voice culture and writer. Born at Miraj, Maharashtra in western India, Deodhar who was generally referred to as “Professor Deodhar”, received formal training from several highly renowned teachers and exponents of Indian classical music including Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Ustad Karim Khan. He also pursued higher education and graduated from Bombay University in History and Economics. In 1921 he was pulled into Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement against the British Raj. Around this time, he met an Italian musician who introduced him to western music and trained him in playing the piano. With guidance from his western music teacher, he passed examinations of London’s Trinity College of Music in the theory of Western music.

His knowledge and training in Indian and western music, enabled Professor Deodhar to compose music for the theatre. He also shaped film music from the time it had begun in Indian films. He is, therefore, regarded by some scholars to be the first composer of Hindi film music and to have experimented with the novelty of using instrumental ensemble music or vadya vrind in Indian films. He worked as music director in about ten films.

One of his early talking films was an Indio-British film, Shikari (1932). Shot in India by Indian technicians and an Indian cast under the direction of Naval D. Gandhi, its scenario writers were two Englishmen, C. Lestock Reid and Adrian Brunel. It was edited in London by Thorold Dickinson and Sidney Henry Cole. The School of Indian Music that Professor Deodhar set up in Bombay in 1925 is still a well-known centre of music and culture. One of his most outstanding pupils was the celebrated Indian classical musician, Kumar Gandharva. Deodhar was awarded a Padmashree for his contribution to music by the Government of India in 1976. He died aged 89 in Bombay.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Thorold Dickinson edited Shikari and Karma

Thorold Barron Dickinson

Thorold Dickinson edited Shikari and Karma16th November 1903 –14th April 1984

British film editor, director, producer, screenwriter, idealist and the UK’s first university Professor of Film. Thorold was born in Bristol where his father was the Archdeacon. After attending Clifton College in Bristol and studying history and French in Keble College, Oxford, Dickinson graduated from Oxford University.

He learned filmmaking and in 1927 was an assistant in the Welch-Pearson Company at Cricklewood’s Stoll Studios. Around 1929 he visited the USA to study American film and sound techniques in New York. Armed with his label of ‘US returned’, he joined Elstree’s British and Dominion Studios where he mastered film editing. Later, he returned as editor to the Stoll Studios where film director Sinclair Hill was in charge of film production.

In the early 1930s, Dickinson edited at least two Indian films. One was ablack and white film, Shikari (1932) and Karma (1933), directed by J. L. Freer Hunt, starring Himansu Rai and Devika Rani with music by Roy Douglas. His directorial debut came with a feature film, High Command. He directed about a dozen other films including Gaslight (1940), The Prime Minister (1941), The Next of Kin (1942), The Queen of Spades (1949) and Secret People (1952). He also made many documentaries. In the early 1940s, he organised the Army Kinematograph Service Production Group and produced 17 films pertaining to military training. From 1956 – 1960 as chief of film services in New York, he was film producer/ supervisor for the United Nations.

Dickinson went on a tour of India in 1946 and spent a few months touring various parts of the country during a highly troubled period of the concluding phase of the British Raj. After the end of his tour, he wrote a Reportsummarisinghis observations on the vast possibilities of western film companies making films on India for a world audience.

Dickinson was closely involved with the Film Society Movement in UK. He was, moreover, an intellectual who not only believed in a cinema of ideas but also wanted to develop film culture in the general public, including primary school pupils. His opportunity to bring some of his ideas to fruition came in 1956 when he was made a Senior Lecturerat the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London and was assigned the pioneering task of setting up the first ever unit for the study of cinema anddeveloping a course of film studies in a British University.In 1967 he became the first Professor of Film in Britain. He also managed to write books such as Soviet Cinema (1948), A Discovery of Cinema (1971) and sundry articles on film and the film industry.

Dickinson was showered with positions of eminence, honours and awards for his dedication to promoting film culture and education. Yet, towards the time of his death at Oxford in April 1984, he seemed to have been forgotten. It was to counter this trend, that Jeffrey Richards was inspired to write a book Thorold Dickinson and the British Cinema (1986), which, by highlighting the contribution of Dickinson, should help Dickinson win his rightful place in the annals of British and world cinema.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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Sydney Henry Cole

Sydney Henry Cole

Sydney Henry Cole31th October 1908 – 25th January 1998

British film and television producer and editor. Born in London, Cole entered films at Stoll Picture Productions. His work as a film editor started in the 1930s. In 1932, he and Thorold Dickinson co-edited Naval D. Gandhi’sShikari, a Hindustani film shot in India with Indian actors based on an Indian story and produced by Eastern Films Limited, Bombay. He later collaborated with Dickinson in films made on the Spanish Civil War and also edited Dickinson’s famous film, Gaslight(1940). He died in London at the age of 90.


The above findings are part of the research which ensued in the project - A Hidden Heritage: Indo-British Film Collaboration (1930-1951)


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