Terrorism, conspiracy, and surveillance in Bombay's urban cinema

Mazumdar, R. 2011. Terrorism, conspiracy, and surveillance in Bombay's urban cinema. Social Research: An International Quarterly. 78 (1), pp. 143-172.

TitleTerrorism, conspiracy, and surveillance in Bombay's urban cinema
AuthorsMazumdar, R.
Abstract

This essay looks at three films from Bombay that take the issue of terrorism to mediate the landscape of conspiracy, surveillance, and the city. The films are Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday (2005), Raj Kumar Gupta's Aamir (2008), and Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday (2009). All three films belong to a body of cinema that has emerged in relation to what is now commonly referred to as the Multiplex era. The filmmakers belong to a community of cinephiles and are therefore extremely conscious of and dedicated to their craft. These twenty-first century films refer to various terrorist attacks of the last two decades and work with an investigative cartography, staging the city through narratives cluttered with evidentiary details, an aggressive marking and arranging of information, and a constant presence of the visual media as the ultimate arbiter of knowledge. Unlike popular melodramas, the films discussed here open out cataclysmic events through reenactments and precision-style unraveling; in this process a "mobile script" is carved out to mediate the relationship between paranoia and citizenship. If the social practice of paranoia is rooted in the belief that the truth is not fully available, then in these films, conspiracy is the form through which the spectator is provided the illusion of comfort and control over contemporary events, the city of Bombay, and history. Conspiracy selectively opens out an archive of memory to frame a city's present, ironing out rival visions of truth for a unified and singular projection.

JournalSocial Research: An International Quarterly
Journal citation78 (1), pp. 143-172
ISSN0037-783X
Year2011
PublisherNew School for Social Research
Web address (URL)http://socialresearch.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&issn=0037-783X&volume=78&issue=1&spage=143
Publication dates
Published2011

Related outputs

Film stardom after liveness
Mazumdar, R. 2012. Film stardom after liveness. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies. 26 (6), pp. 833-844.

Aviation, tourism and dreaming in 1960s Bombay cinema
Mazumdar, R. 2011. Aviation, tourism and dreaming in 1960s Bombay cinema. Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies. 2 (2), pp. 129-155.

Friction, collision, and the grotesque: the dystopic fragments of Bombay cinema
Mazumdar, R. 2010. Friction, collision, and the grotesque: the dystopic fragments of Bombay cinema. in: Prakash, G. (ed.) Noir urbanisms: dystopic images of the modern city New Jersey Princeton University Press. pp. 150-186

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/8zz35/terrorism-conspiracy-and-surveillance-in-bombay-s-urban-cinema


Share this
Tweet
Email