Light of Asia Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934

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Editor: Suresh Chabria
Publisher: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
(Pp 340, ISBN 978-93-83098-02-6, Rs 695)

Indian cinema turned 100 on April 21, 2012. In a country where over 1,000 films are made every year, in several languages, when we celebrate a century of filmmaking excellence, how do we define Indian cinema? How do we look for its history?

Light of Asia Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934 by Suresh Chabria provides a close-up view of Indian film making and the steps that led to the crest where the Indian movie industry rests today. The present volume is a revised and expanded edition of the earlier edition of the publication that accompanied the first complete retrospective of Indian silent films in Le Giornate del Muto, Pordenone, (referred to in English as Pordenone Silent Film Festival), October, 1994. Pordenone Festival has become a recognised international event, attended by historians, archivists and enthusiasts from all over the world.

Light of Asia Indian Silent Cinema 1912-1934 by Suresh Chabria is an extensively researched and updated data, archival records, new essays by celebrated film historians and commentators, crisp reproductions of silent film stills, photos of emerging movie moughals, journal covers, colour posters of films and quaint publicity materials of the times- unearthed and restored by the National Film Archives of India- lend that unique extra edge to this story of intellectual pursuit coupled with romantic vision.

Filmography a chronology of Indian silent cinema from 1912 -1934 beginning from Pundalik (1912) to Jadui Jung (1934) also provides revised and updated list of 1338 silent films- 1290 full length films and forty eight short features. Filmography compiled by Virchand Dharmasey, also gives information about the production company, director, camera, story, script and leading players. In information which is hard to find for a student of film history.

Beautifully illustrated with rare pictures and colour posters, the volume is indeed a collectors’ item.

–GS Jolly

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