Lucknow screens : cinema, state and everyday in postcolonial India



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My dissertation examines postcolonial cinema cultures in the North Indian city of Lucknow, an important center of state government, political mobilization, and cinema exhibition. Addressing the relationship between state law and policy and everyday life, I examine occasions when state planning bursts out of institutions and becomes locally visible on the ground. My chapters analyze such moments of contingency within transitional periods within the history of postcolonial Indian cinema. The first chapter, PLAN, examines a pair of student protests at cinema halls (1946 and 1949); the second chapter, TAX, investigates a cinema exhibitors’ strike against tax practices (1987); the third chapter, BAN, considers the state government’s suspension of a popular Hindi film (2011); and the fourth chapter, RAID, scrutinizes a series of raids and strikes at a pirated media bazaar (2009-2011). I suggest that these events, though seemingly minor, reveal significant strategies for contesting and maintaining power and for realizing meaningful potentialities for cinema in the interstices between everyday life and state practices.