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

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Prabhat Studios

Early Marathi Cinema and Respectability

The history of early Marathi cinema has a necessary passage through the studio era, and specifically Prabhat Studios, in Kolhapur and Pune. This article elaborates two aspects: (i) early regional film-making—its strategies of imagining a cinema through regional content, and (ii) the notion of social respectability—that circumscribes the industrial enterprise, as evident in the history of Prabhat Studios. It also deliberates on the negotiation of a national and regional cinema as observed in the practice of bilingual film-making in Prabhat.

The author would like to thank sahpedia.org, where an abridged version of this article was published.

Image credit: M/s AV Damle

In the history of Indian studio era cinema, the name of Prabhat Studios is invoked alongside that of New Theatres and Bombay Talkies. Prabhat has been variously celebrated for its technical, thematic, and cultural production in the late colonial period. As a studio that popularised genre film-making of mythic fantasies, devotional and saint films, Prabhat encapsulated regional and national cinematic imaginaries, characterised by the intersection of creative exuberance with industrial/technological advancement in pre-independence India. Prabhat was eponymous of its cinematic journey, as it ushered in a new dawn (Prabhat) in the film industry of western India that in turn symbolised an expression of modernity in the Marathi sociocultural milieu.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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