Past Event

Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City

December 3, 2020
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
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From starry-eyed fans with dreams of fame to cotton entrepreneurs turned movie moguls, the Bombay film industry has historically energized a range of practices and practitioners, playing a crucial and compelling role in the life of modern India. Columbia Global Centers invites you to a lecture and panel discussion featuring Debashree Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Film and Media at Columbia University as she draws on original archival research and an innovative transdisciplinary approach to offer a panoramic portrait of the consolidation of the Bombay film industry during the talkie transition of the 1920s–1940s from her new book, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (Columbia University Press and Penguin Random House 2020). Professor Mukherjee will be joined by leading film scholars who will discuss the history of Indian cinema and its material practices, bringing insights to studies of media and modernity in the context Bombay’s burgeoning film industry that embodied the late colonial city’s spirit of 'hustle'. 

● Debashree Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Film and Media, Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University
● Ranjani Mazumdar, Professor of Cinema Studies, School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
● Tejaswini Ganti, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, New York University

● Ravina Aggarwal, Director, Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai

About the Speakers:


Debashree Mukherjee is Assistant Professor of Film and Media in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University in New York. Her first academic monograph, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (Columbia University Press 2020), approaches film history as an ecology of material practices and practitioners. Professor Mukherjee edits the peer-reviewed journal BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies and has published in journals such as Film History and Feminist Media Histories.


Ranjani Mazumdar is Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her publications focus on urban cultures, popular cinema, gender and the cinematic city. She is the author of Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City (2007) and co-editor with Neepa Majumdar of the forthcoming Wiley Blackwell Companion to Indian Cinema. She has also worked as a documentary filmmaker and her productions include Delhi Diary 2001 and The Power of the Image (co-directed). Professor Mazumdar’s current research focuses on globalisation and film culture, and the intersection of technology, travel, design and colour in 1960s Bombay Cinema.


Tejaswini Ganti is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and core faculty in its Program in Culture & Media at New York University. She has been conducting research about the social world and filmmaking practices of the Hindi film industry since 1996 and is the author of Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry (Duke University Press 2012) and Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (Routledge 2004; 2nd edition 2013). Her current research examines the politics of language and translation in the Mumbai media world, the dubbing of Hollywood and Netflix in India, and the formalization of film training through film schools in India.


Ravina Aggarwal has been the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | Mumbai since 2015. Dr. Aggarwal taught in the Department of Anthropology for over a decade and also served on the Women’s Studies Program at Smith College, where she became a tenured faculty member. Her research is based on extensive fieldwork in the Himalayas and her areas of study and teaching included political anthropology, peace-building, cultural studies, gender, and development. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Aggarwal worked at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi office from 2007-2015, where she was responsible for strategic planning and grant-making for programs on development, social justice and public policy, with a focus on the fields of education, media and information technology, and arts and culture.