In Where Histories Reside Priya Jaikumar examines eight decades of films shot on location in India to write a magisterial history of the nation’s filmed spaces. A broad idea of the space created by a camera’s interaction with real places underlies this history, which accounts for the spatiality of a film’s screen fashioned by camera angles and edits, in conjunction with the socio-political dynamics of territory and geography.
Whether discussing Jean Renoir’s The River (1951), which portrays a universal human condition through particular landscapes in Bengal, or Films Division documentaries about India’s mountainous borderlands, or Bollywood films today that are changing the look of background actors and settings, Jaikumar demonstrates that filming a location always involves competing assumptions, experiences, and visual practices. In so doing, she writes a bold “spatial” film historiography, outlining factors that have shaped India's filmed locations and architectures, from state bureaucracies and commercial infrastructures to aesthetic styles and neoliberal policies. She also shows why the study of cinema, whether celluloid or digital, must account for an aesthetics and politics of space.
Introduction: Filmed Space
PART I RATIONALIZED SPACES
1 Disciplinary: Indian Towns in British Geography Classrooms
2 Regulatory: The State in Films Division’s Himalayan Documentaries
PART II AFFECTIVE SPACES
3 Sublime: Immanence and Transcendence in Jean Renoir’s India
4 Residual: Lucknow and the Haveli as Cinematic Topoi
PART III COMMODIFIED SPACES
5 Global: From Bollywood Locations to Film Stock Rations
Conclusion: Cinema and Historiographies of Space