ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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(Un)Changing Territories

The Indian cinema industry functions within a territoriality that sometimes overlaps political and linguistic lines, but most often merges, splinters or transgresses them. 

The political map of Indian states is actually a palimpsest of various internal territorial maps that arrange, organise and divide land mass for varied purposes – commercial, economic and social. The political boundaries of states, being contested on various counts and redrawn from time to time, are also shifting. Originally “stitched” rather than “carved” out from the umpteen royal and not-so-royal states and provinces strewn across the subcontinent, the nation underwent another such colossal exercise at the time of the reorganisation of states. It involved long and tortuous deliberations, finally anchoring its founding logic in languages; accordingly, state territories were drawn and redrawn on a linguistic basis. Still, issues of overlaps and subsuming of “small” languages and sub-identities continue to haunt this logic of territorialisation. We still hear demands for separate states based on many other identities – geographic and economic, communal and cultural.

Interestingly, there have always existed various kinds of territories and territorialities that overlap and criss-cross the official state boundaries in India. One such instance is the Indian cinema industry which functions within a territoriality that is totally different from the political administrative ones: though these territories do sometimes overlap political and linguistic lines, most often they merge, splinter or transgress them.

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