In the wake of Rupture: Iconoclasm, Film Aesthetics and the Wound in the foundational years of Indian Parallel Cinema (1968 - 1975)

  • Omar Ahmed

Student thesis: Phd


Rupture is a relatively undetermined scholarly field often associated with political philosophy. While there have been many ruptures in the history of film, South Asian cinema has been largely displaced from this paradigm because of the Euro-centric nature of film historiography. This thesis demonstrates how the concept of rupture can be used as a tool for analyzing history in film. I have determined how the moment of Parallel Cinema was a break in the history of Indian cinema but was made altogether potent because of the collision with The Naxalite Movement in West Bengal in 1967. Since Parallel Cinema has a broad history, my research looks specifically at the strand of Bengali Parallel Cinema films and covers the first phase that I have labeled as the foundational years (1968 – 1975). Deploying textual analysis as a primary methodological approach, this thesis examines rupture as a multilateral occurrence through what I call the signifiers of rupture. Firstly, rupture is made salient through a pattern of wounding in the imagery of state violence and points to a cultural and collective trauma that left its traces in Parallel Cinema. Secondly, iconoclasm and the obliteration of the Mother figure, which has often been viewed as a stabilizing force in Indian cinema. Lastly, an aesthetic rupture that transpired through these films point to the attempts to forge a new film syntax that fused European influences with more indigenous traditions, but largely against a backdrop of political modernism.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAnindita Ghosh (Supervisor) & Felicia Chan (Supervisor)


  • Film Aesthetics
  • Iconoclasm
  • Trauma
  • Parallel Cinema
  • Indian Cinema
  • Rupture

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