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Writing 'Realism' in Bombay Cinema: Tracing the Figure of the 'Urdu Writer' through Khoya Khoya Chand

In the years following independence, Bombay's popular films sought to create a unified, seamless nation where ruptures like Partition were made invisible and the hero figure remained Hindu and upper caste. Realism remained at the margins of this celluloid text since it did not fit this dominant discourse. Urdu writers, many of them Muslims, who were often part of the leftist progressive writers' movement, questioned these seamless narratives. This paper tries to reopen the history of realism in Bombay's popular cinema by exploring the role of the Urdu writer of this period by engaging with a recent film, Khoya Khoya Chand and its protagonist who appears to have been moulded on Saadat Hasan Manto.

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Writing ‘Realism’ in Bombay Cinema: Tracing the Figure of the ‘Urdu Writer’ through

Khoya Khoya Chand

Rupleena Bose

In the years following independence, Bombay’s popular films sought to create a unified, seamless nation where ruptures like Partition were made invisible and the hero figure remained Hindu and upper caste. Realism remained at the margins of this celluloid text since it did not fit this dominant discourse. Urdu writers, many of them Muslims, who were often part of the leftist progressive writers’ movement, questioned these seamless narratives. This paper tries to reopen the history of realism in Bombay’s popular cinema by exploring the role of the Urdu writer of this period by engaging with a recent film, Khoya Khoya Chand and its protagonist who appears to have been moulded on Saadat Hasan Manto.

Rupleena Bose (rupleena.bose@gmail.com) teaches English at Sri Venkateshwara College, University of Delhi.

Dense clusters of boats strung along the horizon.

Those closer in are loaded down with light,

As they venture out their profiles fade into fog.

Each is scattered into stillness, plump with peace, silence closing

around-sails billowing rapidly.

But each seems to take its place wilfully

In a half life of quiet scrutiny

Ripening with life’s breath,

Along the far horizon where boats cluster by chance.

–Miraji, The Juhu Shore (Farooqi 2008: 33)

I
n a world which has now repeatedly questioned nation spaces and the way communities are “imagined” and fictitious bonds are forged, it is again of importance to step back in history and look at the moment of divide between the individual and her/his imagined home. When I say “home” here, I am attempting to understand this concept through the subjectivity of the individual, which often does not correspond to the physical address of “home” that the nation imposes on him/her. Partition Studies have worked extensively with the narratives of memory where “home” remains an undisputed site in imagination rejecting the actual physical space inhabited by the displaced. Forgotten by the keepers of the national identity, “partition scholarship” has been an interventionist step towards the recovery of individual partition memories; stories, fragments, and histories, which were neglected during the systematic constructions of a seamless “history” of the nation. However, as the focus of historio graphy shifts from the official to the “subaltern”, the texts of history are no longer limited to conventional reading of facts and official interpretations. In such an important context, prints, visuals, photographs, cinema, performances – that is, forms reflective of myriad cultural and pleasure practices and broadly categorised as “public culture” serve to give a more interesting and complex understanding of the nation and its plethora of people as subjects.1 Recent scholarship on film history has informed us of the intimate connection between cinema and the nation where popular cinema has often been used as a hegemonic space by the ruling elite to voice dominant values of morality, class and majoritarianism. This is also reflected in the real economy of film production in India, which has mostly been under the control of the feudal/ ruling class or capitalist ruling elite. For a nation with a difficult early history, cinema as a representational site has seldom questioned the tensions laden in the very idea of “nation state”, which itself is symptomatic of the way the domain of the popular

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negates uneasy truths in favour of depicting the “acceptable” in socio-political terms. A necessary form of interrogation is thus practised through the study of film as a historical text, not merely looking at the film in terms of political and ideological relevance, but also the “the narrative images and exhibition values which the stars and genres transport, the degree to which these unfold, expand and proliferate through the body-politic: the film thus combines a textual as well as a social mode of address.”2

In my paper, I would attempt to look at a film text not only as a historical document but also as a form of representational history recreated through an aesthetic reworking of certain “knowledges” about the early years of Bombay film industry. These “know ledges” have been handed down over the years through the discourses cinema generates into the public culture of the postcolonial nation. Hence, like myths that become known and accepted as history in postcolonial societies, the world of Bombay cinema has also acquired a mythical status in popular Indian imagination identifiable through a set of familiar images, clichés, stereotypes and consumed as an “unreal truth” represented by the film form itself. However, it is necessary to note at this point that this so-called unreal world represented in written or film narratives carries within itself real stories and questions of identity and belonging which were the predominant anxieties of the Indian nation during the years surrounding independence and Partition.

The film which I have chosen as my entry-point into the vibrant and yet turbulent period in Indian cinema housed in the city of Bombay is a recent film, Khoya Khoya Chand, directed by Sudhir Mishra (Adlabs 2007). This film is an important text seeking to represent the industry of which the film itself is a product. The film is also a self-reflexive attempt to document a part of its own history of becoming, the history of early Bombay cinema constructed through a narrative, which is in the form of stylised realism. It needs to be qualified here that historically realism was imported into India via the Victorian novels and was never the predominant form in Indian literature or film narratives.3 Hence, the use of realism in the film Khoya Khoya Chand to depict the film industry from the 1940 to 1960, an era in which the predominant genre of film-making was the “romance” genre, is a clever attempt at capturing history within the established tradition of mainstream Bollywood cinema. In my analysis I will seek to locate the politics of the cultural space portrayed in this film’s narrative and the concerns of identity in the emerging discourse of fervent nationalism challenging some of the received knowledge about the “fiction” of the Bombay film industry.

Khoya Khoya Chand (henceforth KKC) is a story charting the transition phase in the newly independent nation through the chequered life of the protagonists Zafar Ali Naqvi, an Urdu writer and Nikhat, a dancer aspiring to be an actress, during the transitional years of the Bombay film industry. Zafar Ali is introduced as a rebellious young Urdu writer who already has an established literary status in Urdu literature with two published novels and a volume of short stories. Zafar Ali, as the Muslim protagonist of a contemporary film, is unlike the dominant upper class Hindu “hero” that Hindi cinema consistently reproduces keeping in mind the market and the “nationalist” sensibilities of a majority Hindu nation. The film shows Zafar Ali as a writer working for an Urdu journal during the day and writing his novel in the red light areas of Bombay as dusk descends. Zafar, who migrated to Bombay from his hometown, Lucknow, which was the 19th century hub of cultural and artistic activities patronised by the colonial feudal ruling class, hails from an erstwhile respectable and famous family. Zafar’s past life rooted in the decadent feudal value system is shown to be an uncomfortable memory he has to battle as he resists the feudal and bourgeois values of the landed classes to identify himself as a writer seeking to represent the conflicts ridden in the society where he belongs.

Bombay as depicted in the film, was actually the new “home” of many Urdu writers who had migrated to the city during the 1930s and 1940s from the towns of north India, writing for noted Urdu journals like Mussavar and Karawan which were published from the city. At a time when the language in cinema was predominantly Urdu, the world of publishing was closely linked with the film industry, causing a steady exchange of ideas and themes expressed by the writers of those times. Writers like Saadat Hasan Manto, Krishan Chandar, Ismat Chughtai and Shahid Latif who were eminent writers were also a part of the film industry of the 1930s and 1940s. It is to be remembered here that knowledges surrounding the film industry have been discursively spread through the memoirs and reminiscences of writers like Manto and Chughtai in the documentation of their experiences and associations with the film industry of that time. Hence the representational history that KKC seeks to document is constructed not just from the cinema of the period, but also from the image about the industry, which has become a part of the public culture disseminated through autobiographies, film journals, memoirs, etc. Discussing the later trend of film journalism, Rachel Dwyer says “the post-war period saw the decline of the studio system of production and the rise of the independent producer and the growth of star system resulting in new forms of information supplied by trade weeklies and the ground breaking English publication of the Filmfare magazine in 1952” (Pinney and Dwyer 2001: 251-52). However, this trend of organised film journalism started in the 1950s, which implies that in the years preceding Partition and independence, information was mostly circulated through the magazine Film India published by Babu Rao Patel under the aegis of Prabhat Studios, making it extremely important to investigate writing which was not a part of any studio set-up. One such text is Manto’s Stars from Another Sky: The Bombay Film World of the 1940’s (1998). I locate this text as the most interesting and relevant document and a received knowledge of the film industry of the 1940s. This work possibly forms the basis of the imagined characters of a contemporary film like KKC and is essentially one of the reference points of the events that are a part of the fiction that the film creates. The sketches of stars, musicians, writers whom Manto remembers from his years in Bombay dating from 1936 to 1948 were first published in Afaq, an Urdu daily from Lahore and in Director, a popular weekly magazine about films. Written around 1948 to 1954 after Manto’s departure from

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Bombay, Stars from Another Sky, in addition to giving an insight into the Bombay film universe, also produces an image of the “script-writer Manto” in the self-sufficient communities within the film industry. Such a figure of the writer emerges considering that Manto’s autobiographical sketches were written many years after the actual events, creating a distance between the writing self and the written self. The written self then is like a character searching for his own space and identity in an “unreal” universe informed by a morality separate from that of the dominant “new” patriarchy voiced by the ideals of nationalism in that period.4

Manto first arrived in Bombay from Amritsar in 1936 to work for the Urdu journal, Mussavar owned by Nazir Ludhianvi and consequently moved to Karawan in 1940 at the behest of Babu Rao Patel. At about this time, Manto started writing screenplays for films beginning as a scribe or a “munshi” with Imperial Film Company. The earliest film written by Manto was Keechar based on socialist ideas for Hindustan Movietone filmed as Apni Nagaria, followed by Kisan Kanya (1937), the first colour film produced by Ardesher Irani of Imperial Film Company. Despite the fact that most of the films that Manto wrote were not successful in an industry in which melodrama was the acknowledged mode of acting and expression, he played a part in the production of most films coming out of Bombay Talkies and Filmistan. The only film written by Manto which achieved relative success was Aath Din featuring Ashok Kumar where he also played a small role of a shell-shocked officer.

When Najmul Hasan ran off with Devika Rani, the entire Bombay Talkies was in turmoil. The film they were making had gone off the floor and some scenes had already been shot. However, Najmul Hasan had decided to pull away the leading lady from the celluloid world to the real one. The worst affected and most worried man at Bombay Talkies was Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani’s husband and the heart and soul of the company. S Mukerjee, Ashok Kumar’s brother-in-law, who was to make several hit movies in the years to come, was at the time sound engineer Savak Vacha’s assistant. Being a fellow Bengali, he felt sorry for Himanshu Rai and wanted to do something to make Devika Rani return (Manto 1998: 1-2).

In this manner of beginning his sketch of Ashok Kumar, Manto in his concise and brazen manner gives the story of the Bombay film world and its alternative moral universe. An industry which was not informed by the bourgeois morality and codes of the middle classes, the world that the “scriptwriter” Manto inhabited in his years of living in Bombay was one complete with quasi communities formed through affiliation to the same studio where they worked. In a similar set of incidents strewn throughout the film KKC, actress Nikhat’s affair with the leading star Prem Kumar which led to the suicide attempts of an older actress, Ratanbala, resulting in the disruption of filming schedules; Zafar Ali’s relationship with Nikhat which caused problems of authority and jealousy for the star Prem Kumar during the shoot; the resulting rift within the communities formed in the production studio; and yet, all the characters come together as a community while attempting to complete the production of a film and upholding the pride of their studio.

However, one subtle comment of Manto’s in the above passage needs to be analysed; that Mukerjee’s sympathy for

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Himanshu Rai was aroused because of their common regional background of being a “Bengali”. Manto’s comment is extremely important in the understanding of communities forged even in the film fraternity, which was not devoid of regional and religious associations.

Ravi Vasudevan comments on how most narratives about the film emphasised the way film-making enterprise was like a family unit, where “memories of Prabhat and Bombay Talkies as households in which a benevolent paternal regard of employee was of foremost importance carved out a social legitimacy for its production system” (1991: 184). The notion of the family emphasised in the film narratives and in KKCis akin to the joint Hindu family business in which the predominant economic control was with the Hindu owner and the Muslim writer/musician/ actress was appropriated within this rhetoric. For instance, Nikhat’s relationship with the Hindu actor Prem Kumar could never attain legitimacy because she was an actress, and it is rightly shown in the film that Prem Kumar chose to marry within the moral patriarchal fabric a Hindu woman who is outside the flexible morality of the film industry and placed within dominant Hindu patriarchal culture. Nikhat’s past as a dancer, symptomatic of most actresses of that period who traced their dancing skills from their history as courtesans, was not deemed acceptable according to the social institution of marriage. The film, however, does not delve into the difficult questions of identity, which informed characters like Nikhat or Zafar. Zafar remains an outsider despite his association with the studio, his character separated from the others by virtue of his arrogance as a writer of eminence but never quite a natural member of the “family” that the film unit believed themselves to be. A writer who encounters difficulty because of his association with “realism” as the chosen genre of writing, Zafar’s stories which go on to be made into films belong to the style of writing which in the 1930s and 1940s was called upon by the Progressive Writers movement as a necessary tool to delineate societal conflict.

In 1936 at the inaugural conference of the All India Progressive Writers Conference in Lucknow (Zafar Ali in the film KKC is shown to have migrated from Lucknow and it can be assumed that his fictionalised character knew of the ideas propagated by the PWA), Premchand delivering the presidential address made a clear appeal for producing literature that would champion the cause of social justice and would be reflective of the existent evils of the nation expressed through the unambiguous use of social realism, while also urging the writers to maintain a balance between the construction of subjectivity of the individual and the larger social problems.5 Looking back at an important historical moment in Urdu literature following the 1857 Mutiny, Muslim reformers like Syed Masood urged that it was necessary for Urdu literature to modernise Indian Muslims and inculcate a national consciousness amongst them, making them a part of the “nation” which was identifying itself as an oppositional force against colonialism. It was also during this period that Urdu acquired the status specifically of a “Muslim” language with the objective of contributing in the construction of “national literature” (Ahmed 1993: 19-35). It is hence evident that for Urdu to play a legitimate

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part in the rising consciousness of a nation which was defining itself to be largely Hindu, it was important for the language to declare its solidarity with the agenda of “nationalism”. Likewise, it was important for the Indian Muslim to separate himself from the Muslim League and prove him/herself as a “Nationalist Muslim”.6 Zafar’s character as a writer in the genre of realism which itself was not the predominant genre in Bombay cinema reflects the need on the part of the film to establish him as a “nationalist Muslim” believing in the cause of reform, and never expressing any ambiguity about his identity in those divided times either through his writing or his cinema. Zafar’s identification as a writer using Urdu language and literature as a vehicle of social change is depicted in the first story that he writes as a scriptwriter acted out by Nikhat and Prem Kumar.

The story is set in the context of the post-reform movement and freedom struggle in Bengal and the success of the film despite its use of social-realism in its form is also an indicator of the steady change in Bombay cinema through the 1940s and the 1950s when a lot of progressive writers like Bedi and Chander were writing scripts for cinema. Most of early cinema dramatised either mythologies or historical romances drawing from the e stablished tradition of theatre, ram lila and nautanki; realism, as mentioned before, was a late entrant in the life of literary as well as film narratives in India. KKC aptly captures this in its narrative in which the films being shot in the course of the story are either historical romances or courtly dramas with the exception of Zafar’s novel which is adapted for the screen. Sandra Freitag mentions that visual culture in India dated from the religious act of darsan prevalent in the act of viewing god and the medieval courtly event of the Emperor letting himself to be viewed by the audience (Pinney and Dwyer 2001: 35-67). The film narrative was an extension of the visual culture dramatising mythologies for the viewers in the form of historical romances and the secularisation of cinema started only with the use of realism by progressive writers in films beginning with the years of the war. The generic success of realism can only be mapped in the 1950s in the context of Nehruvian socialism when a new nationalist elite demanded that cinema had to serve the purposes of development of the new nation. Akin to the agenda for progressive writers, the new nationalist elite ensured a control and regulation over c inema and demanded the cooperation of the film industry in spreading nationalist sensibility amongst citizen subjects. The Film Enquiry Committee, set up in 1949, clearly stated that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting saw cinema within the framework of nation building and urged producers and directors to ensure a positive cinematic representation of a young India

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and build myths of “Indianness” through film narratives (Schulze 2002: 1-17). It is hence to be noted that realism as a genre either located itself in the representation of the past, that is, the reform movement and the freedom struggle of India, or in the role of creating myths of a consolidated “nation” through films like Mother India (1957) brushing aside the immediate reality of Partition violence and the deeply entrenched communal sentiment of the “other” which was the reality of that period. The film KKClike most other mainstream representations also bypasses the question of identity in the characterisation of Zafar as a writer in the context of communal divisions, which were a stark reality of the 1940s and the 1950s. While the film positions itself as a saga m apping the “glorious 1950s and 1960s” of the film industry, the events and characters as I have observed in this paper are closer to the knowledge of the 1940s in the public imagination. Evidently the need to dissociate the representational universe of KKC from the Partition is only one more in the series of denials of Partition violence by the “secular” nation.

Like the inability of realism to grasp or make sense of Partition violence leading to its interpretation as an aberration caused by “outsiders”, progressive writers both in their literature and scripts glossed over the violence that had questioned the very core of so-called harmonious and rational Indian society. Aamir Mufti in his reading of Manto’s short stories notes that Manto dismissed the canonical forms of Indian realism: the novel format, the realist narrative and the allegoric rendering of the nation as the mother. Through short stories where marginal figures like female prostitutes were the central characters, Manto used irony to state the “familial semiotic of nationalism to interrogation” exposing nationalism’s universalising of identity formation7 (Chatterjee and Jeganathan 2000: 1-36). Even in his writings on the film industry where Manto repeatedly said that his experience of Bombay and the film industry were the happiest years of his life, he presented the dichotomy between identification either as a “nationalist Muslim” or as the “other Muslim” who was the symbol of separatism in national istic discourse.

In Bombay, the communal atmosphere was becoming more vicious by the day. When Ashok and Vacha took control of the administration of Bombay Talkies, all the senior posts somehow went to Muslims which created a great deal of resentment among the Hindu staff. Vacha began to receive anonymous letters which threatened everything from murder to destruction of the studio. Neither Vacha nor Ashok could care less about this sort of thing. It was I, partly because of my sensitive nature and partly because I was a Muslim, who expressed a sense of unease to both of them on several occasions. I advised them to do away with my services because Hindus thought that it was I who was responsible for so many Muslims getting into Bombay Talkies. They told me I was out of my mind (Manto 1998: 73-74).

Most of the biographical criticism of Manto construct him as an egoist writer where his leaving for Pakistan in 1948 is explained through his arrogance over the rejection of his script in favour of Chughtai’s Ziddi and Nazir Ajmeri’s Majboor, but never really analysing the events leading to the disillusionment of a sensitive writer whose astute understanding of violence was unparalleled. Manto himself through his writings gave numerous explanations of his own departure, each proving the impossibility of pinpointing a logical reason for an experience rooted in the

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difficulty of expression of an identity which was rendered as a suspicious “other”. With the drawing of lines on real physical spaces, the question of homeland was linked to religious belief disregarding the emotional and cultural affinity of individuals. No other writer was able to respond to the immediacy of Partition like Manto, and even in cinema the first attempt of understanding Partition happened much later in M S Sathyu’s Garam Hawa (1973) written by Ismat Chughtai, which posed the problem of accepting the communal reality of the subcontinent rendered naked through Partition violence. Unlike the urgency with which Manto responded, even important writers like Chughtai took many years to accept the ugliness of Partition violence and the stark question of belonging.

Shyam and I were listening to a family of Sikh refugees from Rawalpindi. They were telling us horrifying stories of how their people had been killed. I could sense that Shyam was deeply moved and I could understand the emotional upheaval he was undergoing. When we left I said to him, ‘I am a Muslim, don’t you feel like murdering me?’ ‘Not now’, he answered gravely, ‘but when I was listening to the atrocities the Muslims had committed … I could have murdered you.’ I was deeply shocked by Shyam’s words. Perhaps I could have also murdered him at that time. But I suddenly understood the basis of those riots in which thousands of innocent Hindus and Muslims were killed everyday. ‘Not now … but at that time yes.’ If you ponder over these words, you will find an answer to the painful reality of Partition, an answer that lies in human nature itself (Manto 1998: 73).

Manto’s sketch of actor Shyam (who was the only person seeing Manto at the time of his leaving) finds reference in his story “Sahae” where the protagonist suddenly leaves for Pakistan following an exchange with a close friend similar to the passage quoted above. The story unfolds as the two Hindu friends accompany the protagonist to his ship for Karachi and their ensuing conversations. “Sahae” is a simple story, which r eveals the way friendships and interpersonal relationships are not neutral spaces and negotiated through the politics of communal difference, but are an underlying aspect of one’s subjectivity where belonging is also a category marked with religious connotations in a region like south Asia. Citing Gyanendra P andey in this context could offer an explanation: he states in his book Routine Violence that the violence of everyday life is not merely manifested in “explosive” and visible but also in hidden and disguised ways, sometimes even through gestures and cultural practices; “routine violence is involved in the construction of naturalised nations, of natural communities and histories, majorities and minorities” (2006: 8).

Unlike the dramatisation of Zafar’s sudden departure explained as his reaction to the failure of his first directorial “realist” film, the exile of a “Muslim” during and after the Partition was not just an egoistic choice or an imposed act. Rather it was a phenomenon with its seeds in the basic question of how to categorise one physical space as homeland when “home” itself had become a political entity organised around religion and exclusion.

Conclusions

Miraji’s poem quoted in the epigraph talks about the boats clustering along “the Juhu Shore” and each fading away as the light dims. Fading into oblivion the figure of the enigmatic

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“Urdu writer” is suddenly recovered and brought back into the contemporary domain of the popular/public by the film KKC. In redefining the “hero” as a Muslim writing a “Muslim language” which has almost disappeared from the public world barring certain singular attempts in cinema and music, the attempt of KKCto bring back a forgotten era within the limitations of commercial Bombay cinema is commendable.

In a letter reflecting his concerns about Urdu language written to Pandit Nehru, Manto stated, “You are a litterateur in English. Here I write short stories in Urdu, a language which is in the process of being wiped out from your country” (quoted in Bhalla 1997: 175-83). With a strange sense of prescience, Manto foresaw the exile of Urdu by the Urdu writers who had exiled the language in their new “Hindu” homeland. Written around August 1954, the letter ironically shares its moment in history with the release of the last story written by Manto for the Bombay film industry, Mirza Ghalib (1954) directed by Sohrab Modi. Released years after it was written during Manto’s tenure in Bombay, Mirza Ghalib dramatised the life of the greatest Urdu poet in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar, his conflict between domesticity symbolised by his wife and liminal space represented by the courtesan, along with the struggle of the writer desiring acknowledgement for his vision. The film won the

Notes References

P resident’s gold medal for the best feature film in 1954 (the first equivalent of the national awards), receiving appreciation from Nehru himself. Interestingly in the film, the credits stated, “original story by S H Minto, dialogues Rajinder Singh Bedi and screenplay J K Nanda” by which the name of the “greater short story writer than God” was changed into an unknown name, removing all markers of his identity in the country that remained his “home” if not his nation.

Christina Oesterheld notes that the histories of Urdu narrative genres usually focus either on older traditions of qissa or dastan often neglecting shorter narrative forms, leading to a gap in the study of the various vast fields of Urdu literary production which have not been part of any established canon (Oesterheld 2004: 166-68). However as recent studies have retrieved important figures like Manto in the public imagination, I suggest that it is also necessary to look at the construction of the elusive figure of the “Urdu writer” represented in the texts of criticism, literature and history.

My exercise of locating the figure of the “Urdu writer” fictionalised as the “hero” in KKC a contemporary film text, is an effort to juxtapose cultural texts imagining the writer as a character read with real figures emerging discursively within the politics of identity and representation.

Manto, Saadat Hasan (1998): Stars from Another Sky:

1 See Christopher Pinney’s usage of Appadurai and Breckenridge’s formulation of “public culture” to understand politics of the popular consumption of visual forms in Pleasure and the Nation (2001: 1-30).

2 Quoting from Thomas Elsaesser (1986).

3 Priya Jaikumar (2007) discusses the two forms realism in Indian cinema, the “nationalist realism” of Ray and Ghatak and the second used in popular cinema, closer to Hollywood realism.

4 Partha Chatterjee theorises about the “new” patriarchy which was formulated through the discourses of nationalism and the agenda of social reform redefining domesticity and m arriage in the context of anti-colonial struggle where the inner world was the domain of the p rivate, the morally superior “home” which had to be protected from the immoral ideas of western modernity in The Nation and Its Fragments (1995: 119-24).

5 Saikat Ghosh in his unpublished dissertation gives a detailed reading of the Progressive Writers Association and their uneasy relationship with Manto, also looking at the way the Progressives mirrored the construction of “nationalistic” ideas within which differences and questions of identity and subjectivity were subsumed. Following direct control of the Communist Party over progressive writing by the 1940s with its overt agenda of Soviet realism, most talented writers like Manto and Chughtai had drifted away from it. See Partition’s Forgotten Double (2004: 28-30).

6 Gyanendra Pandey (2006) mentions that there were two kinds of Muslims identified during the years of Partition; the “nationalist Muslim” and the Muslim as the minority.

7 In an interesting moment from the film Khoya Khoya Chand (2007), Zafar Ali is shown to be visiting a prostitute in one of Bombay’s red light areas in order to have a conversation with her on local politics for the story he was writing. Also see similar incident of Manto visiting a prostitute at a brothel as described by Jagdish Chander Wadhawan in Manto Nama (1998: 54-59).

Ahmed, Aijaz (1993): In the Mirror of Urdu: Recompositions of Nation and Community, 1947-1965 (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Studies).

Bhalla, Alok, ed. (1997): Life and Works of Saadat Hasan Manto (Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Studies).

Chatterjee, Partha (1995): The Nation and Its Fragments (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).

Chatterjee, Partha and Pradeep Jeganathan, ed. (2000): Community, Gender and Violence: Subaltern Studies XI (New Delhi: Permanent Black).

Elsaesser, Thomas (1986): “Film History as Social History”, Wide Angle, 8, 2.

Farooqi, Mehr Afshan, ed. (2008): The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).

Freitag, Sandra B (2004): “Visions of the Nation: Theorising the Nexus between Creation, Consumption, and Participation in the Public Sphere” in Stuart Blackburn and Vasudha Dalmia (ed.), India’s Literary History: Essays on the Nineteenth Century (New Delhi: Permanent Black).

Ghosh, Saikat (2004): Partition’s Forgotten Double: Reception Histories and Cultural Contexts of Manto’s Stories on the Partition, Diss Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Jaikumar, Priya (2007): Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India (Calcutta: Seagull).

The Bombay Film World of the 1940s (New Delhi: Penguin Books).

– (2000): Manto ki Kahaaniyan, Narendra Mohan (ed.), (New Delhi: Kitabghar). Mishra, Sudhir (2007): Khoya Khoya Chand (Adlabs).

Mufti, Aamir R (2000): “A Greater Short-Story Writer than God: Genre, Gender and Minority in Late Colonial India”, Subaltern Studies XI, 1-36.

Oesterheld, Christina (2004): “Entertainment and Reform: Urdu Narrative Genres in the Nineteenth Century” in Stuart Blackburn and Vasudha Dalmia (ed.), India’s Literary History: Essays on the Nineteenth Century (New Delhi: Permanent Black).

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november 21, 2009 vol xliv no 47

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