Censoring India

18 December 2015 05:00PM

By what right or qualification can one group of people decide what their fellow citizens may or may not see at the movies? Why do the images that supposedly injure one group of people leave another unaffected? Professor William Mazzarella spoke about these persistent questions vis-à-vis the longer history of film censorship in India, and illustrated how a set of colonial debates around the force and meaning of mass mediated images continues to animate present day controversies over the power, promise and danger of film.

After the talk, Mazzarella was in conversation with the hilarious Anuvab Pal who had the audience in splits talking about his personal experiences with censorship and sharing anecdotes from the film industry.

About William Mazzarella: 

William Mazzarella is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (2003) and Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity (2013). He is also the co-editor, with Raminder Kaur, of Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction (2009). He is currently working on a book called The Mana of Mass Publicity that explores classic anthropological theories of magic and ritual for what they might help us understand about advertising, charismatic action, and world-making in mass-mediated societies.

About Anuvab Pal:
Anuvab Pal’s stand-up comedy special The Nation Wants To Know, has had over 500 shows starting in Mumbai and playing from Sydney to San Francisco to sold out houses. He’s also the screenwriter of the Bollywood films Loins Of Punjab Presents and The President Is Coming as well as the author of four hit stage plays- The President Is Coming, 1 888 Dial India, The Bureaucrat and Chaos Theory.