Lucknow Screens: Cinema and the Everyday State in Postcolonial India


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project historically and ethnographically traces the implementation of laws and policies regulating cinema exhibition and distribution in several sites in urban Lucknow, the administrative capital of the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. What does a local view from Lucknow’s cinema halls, optical disc markets, and streets reveal about cultural production at the intersection of the state and cinema in postcolonial India? The project’s findings, structured around several regulations ordered by the Indian state at key points within the history of Indian cinema, suggest that although the state has sought to rationalize, order, and measure cinema, such attempts have been contested in numerous ways—both by audiences and by lower level state agents who are often deeply invested in localities.