Bombay Talkies mapinpub

Bombay Talkies

Josef Wirsching and an Unseen History of Indian Cinema

Debashree Mukherjee
Foreword by Georg Wirsching With contributions by Sudhir Mahadevan, Priya Jaikumar, Rachel Dwyer, Debashree Mukherjee, Kaushik Bhaumik, Virchand Dharamsey and Eleanor Halsall.

Following Hitler’s rise to power in interwar Germany, the biggest German film studios of the day found themselves being taken over by the Nazi Party for propaganda purposes.

Published in Feb. 2023

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Following Hitler’s rise to power in interwar Germany, the biggest German film studios of the day found themselves being taken over by the Nazi Party for propaganda purposes. Published in Feb. 2023
Many artists and filmmakers, Jewish and non-Jewish, who wished to escape the coercive, persecutory atmosphere, migrated westward; less well known is their eastward movement to India, where German and East European émigrés found work in the Bombay film industry. Among them was the cinematographer Josef Wirsching, who moved to Bombay in the 1930s. In his films for Bombay Talkies, he frequently framed characters through arches, doorways and windows; favoured eccentric camera angles; and masterfully moulded light to create shadows and pools of darkness. These techniques lent themselves beautifully to Bombay Talkies’ melodramatic screenplays, and thus was the crisis of the alienated individual in post-war Europe transferred to the crisis of the modernising self in a colonised nation.

While scores of books on Indian film and its “pioneers” exist, there is little memory of Josef Wirsching. This illustrated volume invites a variety of film historians and scholars to analyse the cultural significance of Wirsching’s photographic archive, thereby situating a film pioneer back into the history of Bombay cinema.

Sudhir Mahadevan is Associate Professor of Film Studies in the Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media at the University of Washington, Seattle. Priya Jaikumar is Professor of Cinematic Arts in the Division of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London. Debashree Mukherjee teaches film and media in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University in New York. Kaushik Bhaumik is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Virchand Dharamsey is the author of numerous articles on the history of Indian cinema. Eleanor Halsall is a film historian whose current research focuses on German film studios as part of the STUDIOTEC project.

• Foreword
• Introduction
What Photography Can Tell Us About Cinema’s Past
• How Photography Gives an Account of Itself
The Wirsching Collection as a Nation of Photography
• The Knot: A Scholar and an Angel Unravel Izzat (1937)
• A German Eye on Indian Beauty
Josef Wirsching’s Portrayal of the Female Star in Hindi Film
• Between the Studio and the World
Built Sets and Outdoor Locations in the Films of Bombay Talkies
• Re-visioning Bombay Talkies: Restoring Parallaxes to an Image:
A Conversation with Virchand Dharamsey
• Josef Wirsching and The Kreuzer Emden
The Entangled Politics of the Interwar Period

• Josef Wirsching’s Filmography
• Works Cited
• Index
ISBN 9789385360787
Pages 192
Number of photographs 120
Size 9.65 x 11.50" (245 x 292 mm), hc
Date of Publishing FORTHCOMING
Language(s) English
Co-publisher(s) Mapin in association with The Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi
Rights Available World rights