Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Special issue of Journal of South Asian Popular Culture, guest-edited by Dr Sarita Malik

The latest issue of the Journal of South Asian Popular Culture is a special collection (‘The Cinema Issue’) guest-edited by Network participant, Dr Sarita Malik. ‘The Cinema Issue’ stems from the ‘Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe’ network and from the first Network conference held in Oxford in 2006 where a number of speakers and other delegates shared a research interest in South Asian cinema. The idea for the special Issue was to build on the foundation established by the network focus on the films of migrant and diasporic filmmakers and to take a close-up view of South Asian cinema, past and present.

'The Cinema Issue' presents a broad range of peer-reviewed, academic articles. Shohini Chaudhuri offers a layered analysis of ‘exoticist representations’ (‘snake charmers and child brides’) in the work of Deepa Mehta with a focus on her Oscar-nominated film Water (2005). Sanjay Sharma examines the tendency towards uniformity in relation to the way British Asian cinema is typically critically discussed. His work on My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and East is East (1997) introduces an argument about multiple readings and the challenges involved pedagogically (partly based on his own teaching experience), which sets things up for the main materialist analysis he presents in relation to Brick Lane (2007).

Rahul K. Gairola, like Chaudhuri, offers a close reading of a South Asian film text – in this case the seminal 1980s British film, My Beautiful Laundrette. Alongside his extensive overview of the multiple interpretations of My Beautiful Laundrette, he highlights queerness as a means for reading and re-reading the film. Nirmal Puwar offers a poetic and, at times, personal account of the public sphere politics of The Ritz in Coventry, England; a now abandoned building which, during the 1970s, was a cultural hotspot for Asian cinema icons such as Raj Kumar and Sunil Dutt, as well as a space for Britain’s Asian communities to gather together. C. S. Venkiteswaran’s polemical reflection on the film scene in Kerala looks back, from a current standpoint, to trace the formation of the film society movement in Kerala. ‘The Cinema Issue’ ends with an interview conducted by Sarita Malik with Asif Kapadia, the British-Asian film director, who achieved phenomenal success at a relatively early stage in his career with his stunning feature debut, The Warrior (2001).

Each of the articles presented here addresses a set of concerns from multiple positions of enquiry; revealing an evolving diversity in how academics today are speaking and writing about South Asian cinema and adding to the debate on migrant and diasporic cinema.

Posted by Daniela Berghahn on 11 May 2009 •

Last edited: 11 05 2009 - Designed by PageToScreen