Filmi Jagat: A Scrapbook (Shared Universe of Early Hindi Cinema)

01 August 2014

Rahaab Allana Collection

Niyogi Books

218 pages, Rs. 995

In 2013, “Filmi Jagat,” an exhibition in Delhi, brought together historical material and contemporary art to create a narrative of the shared experience of popular Hindi cinema. At the heart of the show was an extraordinary object: a scrapbook, possibly created and owned by a mysterious Mangaldas V Lohana, whose name was stamped on several of the pages. In it were clippings from film magazines, song booklets, advertisements and more from the 1930s and 1940s, showing stills from lost movies such as Apni Nagaria, Kunwara Baap, Duniya Kya Hai and Tasveer. Filmi Jagat reproduces the original scrapbook in its entirety, alongside exploratory essays by the academics Kaushik Bhaumik and Debashree Mukherjee and the art curator Rahaab Allana, as well as a foreword by the director Shyam Benegal. The result is an intimate and fragmented history of early Hindi film.