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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Hindi Films and the Indian National Movement 1912-1947’, 16th April, 2015 .


‘Hindi Films and the Indian National Movement 1912-1947’


Dr. Manoj Sharma,
Kirori Mal College,
University of Delhi, Delhi.


Since the beginning of the 20th century cinema has played a major multidimensional role in the lives of people across countries. Cinema is not only a powerful means of communication but also a mirror of society, a cultural agent of change and subject-matter and source of history. During the period under study, many genres of films were attempted: mythological and devotional, historical and biographical, stunt films, popular ‘masala’ films, films dealing with themes of social reform and films on the literary works of Indian languages. There was an emergence of studio system in this decade. An attempt would also be made to analyze the undercurrents of the films so as to understand the hidden and deeper meanings they wanted to depict and project on screen. The formation of Progressive Writers' Association (PWA) in 1936 in Lucknow under the Presidentship of Munshi Prem Chand and the formation of Indian Peoples' Theatre Association (IPTA) in 1943 also affected cinema. The Gandhian movement had affected not only political but also social and cultural awareness of the people. Gandhi made the issues of untouchability, women's emancipation and Hindu-Muslim unity central to the freedom movement. A number of filmmakers like V. Shantaram, Master Winayak, J.B.H. Wadia etc. were also deeply influenced by ideals of Gandhi and they also tried to portray some ideas through the medium of films. Before independence censorship was arbitrary and more political than social in nature. The use of cinema for political propaganda by the nationalists and the realization of potentiality of cinema by the British both led to strict censorship by the colonialists.


Dr. Manoj Sharma teaches in the Department of History in Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Dr. Sharma has done a “Film Appreciation Course” from FTII, Pune and has published research papers on Indian cinema.

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