Beaming Messages to the Nation
Asmsh Rajadhyaksha (born 1959) went into political joumalismafter colkgeand then beganwritingon film in the early 1980s. He is the author of Ritwik Ghatak:
A Return to the Epic (Screen Unit, 1984) and has edited the two-volume l/Awenturose Storie del Cinema Indiano (Mostra Internazionak del Nuovo Cinema, Pesaro, 1985), and Ghatak: Arguments/ Stories (with Amrit Gangar, Screen Unit, 1988).
He is an active member of the editorial collective of the Journal of Arts & Ideas and a regular contributor to the British film journal. Framework. Some of his more important essays like 'New Traditionalism: Film as Popular Art In India', and the 'Phaike Era' are published in these journals.
A committed organizer, he has staged film seasons, film seminars and publications with the help of the Film Institute and National Film Archives, Puneó and through organisations like Screen Unit, and Kasauli Art Centre, and the Centre for Film Research.
Among the programmes he has presented a season of student films was much liked and of course the film retrospect of Ritwik Ghatak. He is working towards staging a season of independent cinema from Britain. He has served on an international jury at Oberhausen, participated in several conferences in Europe and Cuba,
and lately prepared a report on the Indian TV for Unesco.
His current work includes the editing of an Encyclopaedia of Indian Film, partly financed by Unesco and to be published by the British Film Institute as the first of a four-volume series on Asia. The research includes 500 films, ISOfilmmakers and about 20 major studios, and individual entries on key actors, music directors, scenarists and technicians. Along with exhaustive appendices giving statistics, the volume is expected to be approximately 500,000 words. The research depends extensively on regional language sources, and he claims that this volume will he the first detailed and exhaustive foray into the early decades of the silent and early sound periods. Given that an encyclopaedia is at best a compendium of available collective wisdom rather than an authorial effort, he is depending on assistance from several historiographers infields hitherto unconcerned with conventional histories of Indian film: these include economics, visual art, music, theatre, literature and political histories. It is hoped that current workbdngdonein these areas on the history of modern India will be actively referred to in the Encyclopaedia.