Editor's Note for the Film Studies Section
The articles that we have received in response to the Call for Papers for the Film Studies Section point to how increasingly scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are being drawn today to research on cinema, or to use films as sources for various kinds of studies. It was heartening to receive articles that have explored issues relating to films in Indian languages such as Kannada and Malayalam; it was equally heartening that an essay on Partition drew, among other films, a Pakistani-Urdu film into its ambit of study. Not only does this indicate the wide repertoire of films available to any scholar interested in studying cinema today, it also helps to dispel the notion, at least in the academic context, that Bollywood cinema is the only cinema of the region, or the only cinema worth reckoning with. The issues explored in the essays too are quite compelling and novel: one of the articles looks at the representation of animals in Kannada films, and the socio-religious beliefs that underlie the anthropocentric treatment of animals in these films; the article on Malayalam cinema explores the meta-film (film-on-film and film-within-film) as an archive for constructing a historiography of Malayalam cinema. Another essay looks at the way in which cinema has addressed the violence and trauma that accompanied the formation of two nations, India and Pakistan in 1947, and the way in which this trauma lives on in the present particularly in the case of the Muslims who chose to live on in India.
It was equally heartening that we received a couple of essays on the genre of the documentary in the Film Studies section. One is a scholarly and well-researched historical account of the documentary genre in India, and the legacy that the documentary in India has inherited from well- known western documentary film-makers. The other essay, which is a first-person account of a first-time documentary film-maker, reflects not only on the way in which film acts as a way of documenting a social movement, but also sees the making of the documentary itself as part of a project of social emancipation.
The Film Studies section also has a video recording of an academic program organized under the aegis of the Research Forum of the Department of Film Studies, The EFL University, Hyderabad for Caesurae. The program was organized keeping the emphasis and thrust of Caesurae in mind
– cultural translation. Here Prof. Subramanian Shankar is in conversation with two research scholars, one from Translation Studies and the other from Film Studies, on the topic “Translating Myth and Literature in Cinema”. Prof. Shankar elucidates on a variety of issues that would interest any scholar of Literary Studies, Translation Studies, Film Studies, etc.; he responds to a variety of questions ranging from the possibilities for adaptation enabled by various technologies to theoretical issues relating to translation/adaptation.
In the forthcoming issues, we intend to have a slot for film reviews, and reviews of books on films under this section, in addition to scholarly articles relating to various aspects of films.