The Rediscovery of India:
A Re-thinking and Repossession through Theatre and Cinema by the Centre of Advanced Studies in India & the University of Cologne, Germany
Researchers: Professor Beate Neumeier, University of Cologne
Professor Nilufer E. Bharucha, CASII
Professor Sridhar Rajeswaran, CASII
The objectives of this research project are to help comprehend India, within India itself as it is emerging in the new millennium and within the European context where the older Orientalist construct of India exists side by side with the new globalised India. A thorough comprehension of how these ancient links continue to have importance in the new multicultural and even global order is thus of extreme importance, if one is to fully benefit from such old and new ties. One aspect that could be useful in understanding these issues would be to explore possibilities from the realms of theatre and cinema.
Not just Indian Theatre in English would be considered, but also theatre in the important languages of India, especially those theatres which are today in a dynamic mode such as the Hindi theatre, the Gujarati theatre the Marathi theatre and the Tamil theatre. Also not to be ignored would be the oral traditions in theatre, especially the tribal traditions as these are the ones which capture the primordial rhythms of the earth and refashion them to represent the lived realities of cultures caught between old and new worlds.
While Hindi films - Bollywood - would be an obvious choice for the study of Indian society and the ideologies of popular culture, at least one more important Indian cinema would be taken on board to avoid Hindi hegemony, in a multilingual, multicultural country like India. So the inclusion of Tamil cinema which has its own iconic, cultural and political importance would also be an area of critical concern for this project. Also of interest would be the Diasporic Indian Cinema which represents Indian culture in Western spaces, produced by both Indian as well as Diasporic film makers.
This project envisages the fulfillment of the objectives outlined above in two distinct modes: Accumulation:
1. The theoretical investigation and practical exploration in theatre and cinema.
2. The theoretical investigation and the practical aspect would both be split within the Indian and Western geographical spaces, making this a truly multinational initiative.
1. The organization of symposiums, workshops, conferences in India and in Germany on the target area.
2. The publication of the proceedings of the above events, monographs by individual researchers and articles in scholarly journals.
3. The putting together of some/all of the above in audio/video documents
4. To create a data base on Indian theatres and cinemas in the context of the Re-Imaging of the Indian Nation for purposes of future research.
This project is planned over three years.
Archiving of the Research Findings:
These publications, data base and audio-visual documents would be housed in the Centre for Advanced Studies in India, and be accessible to research scholars from India and abroad. They would also be made available through Scholarship Gateway - the internet portal of CASII.