This practice-based research uses the context of the documentary assertions around the Indian nuclear project to examine how comic modes and irony can be employed
to undermine authoritarian knowledge claims that make use of the epistephilic dimensions of the documentary form. An analysis of the pro-nuclear assertions in the documentary narratives of two state institutions in India, Films Division and Vigyan Prasar, was done as part of this enquiry. The diverse ways in which Indian anti-nuclear films engage with these narratives in humorous and ironic ways was also studied. The insights gained from this analysis contributed to the production
and circulation of a film I made titled Nuclear Hallucinations, which is centred around the Kudankulam anti-nuclear movement in South India. Through its processes, the research develops a specific configuration of the vantage point of what I call tamasha in order to unsettle the certainty of pro-nuclear knowledge claims in documentary. Nuclear Hallucinations experiments with the use of satirical impersonations, irony, hallucinatory voice-overs and comic appropriation of pronuclear arguments to arrive at strategies that can elicit a response from the realm of
tamasha. These experiments are informed by a framework that treats film as a process that goes beyond the limits of the edited film; the sites of engagement created during the production and circulation phases of the film are treated with equal importance. The research argues that the interventions created by the vantage point of tamasha offer new ways to resist the epistemological violence of documentary narratives that privilege the documentary form’s ability to authorize
assured knowledge claims.