Visiting-Artist Lecture: Keya Ganguly “Cinema in India”
Can proletarian consciousness be cosmopolitan? This was the question at the heart of many artistic struggles waged worldwide in the early to middle decades of the twentieth century, and the varied answers to it represent the outlook of that which has come to be associated with "internationalism." Today this term has fallen into disrepair, perhaps suggesting the need to revisit it in the interests of retaining a conception of political art. The art house films of the Indian director Satyajit Ray (1921 - 1992) on the one hand, and the films of his mainstream counterpart, Bimal Roy (1909 - 1966), serve as the two poles of this discussion. Together, they provide a glimpse into how each of these filmmakers from India saw the relationship between aesthetics and politics and, in that conjunction, make it possible to offer some alternatives to current ways of thinking about global culture.