Changing the guard: The transition from studio-based film production to independent production in post-colonial India
Taylor & Francis
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Contemporary Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
This paper examines the 1940s as a key decade to understanding the history of the Indian cinema. It takes as its focus the studio system created in the major cities and how they dealt with a number of common issues. It argues that the studio system in India was diverse and complex, shaped by cultural and linguistic factors and it can only be understood through its response to these issues, which are identified as dealing with government bureaucracies, the issue of securing film finance, the construction of the audience for Indian films and the adoption of a specific narrative strategy. The paper takes the view that in terms of film the 1940s is a long decade beginning in 1937 and concluding in 1951. In this extended period the studios were confronted by competition from the independent producers or freelancers and that this competition brought about a transformation in the role of the studios and their textual output. The resultant tensions in this situation led to a flowering of film talent in the 1950s, which in many ways shaped the future directions of the Indian cinema.