Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Columbia University
Website URL
film studies, feminist historiography, media studies, Indian cinema, postcolonial studies, cities, labor, production studies, ecology, technology, migration, oceans, Bombay, Bollywood
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Personal Info

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor of film and media in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University. My first academic monograph, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (forthcoming with Columbia University Press), narrates the early history of Indian cinema as a history of material practice. The book investigates the material relations between cinema’s bodies, machines, aesthetics, and environments as they intersect with practices of modernity and freedom in late colonial India. I edit the peer-reviewed journal BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, and regularly curate film exhibitions. In a previous life I worked in Mumbai’s film and TV industries as an assistant director, writer, and cameraperson.

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Recent Publications

2020 (forthcoming). Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City, Columbia University Press, Film and Culture series.

2020 (forthcoming). Beyond the Silver Screen: Josef Wirsching and An Unseen History of Indian Cinema, ed. Debashree Mukherjee, New Delhi: Mapin.

2020 (forthcoming). “Somewhere Between Human, Nonhuman, and Woman: Shanta Apte’s Theory of Exhaustion,” Feminist Media Histories, 6(3).

2019.   “A Specter Haunts Bombay: Censored Itineraries of a Lost Communistic Film,” Film History, 31(4): 29-59.

2016.   “Tracking Utopias: Technology, Labor, and Secularism in Bombay Cinema (1930s-1940s),” in Anupama Rao and Arvind Rajagopal (eds.) Media/Utopia: Imagination, History, Technology, Routledge – Critical Interventions in Theory and Practice, pp. 81-102.

2015. “Scandalous Evidence: Looking for the Bombay Film Actress in an Absent Archive (1930s-1940s),” in Christine Gledhill & Julia Knight (eds.) Doing Women’s Film History: Reframing Cinema’s Past and Future, University of Illinois Press, pp.29-41.


Media Coverage
Country Focus
India, Mauritius, Fiji
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Environment, Labor, Material Culture, Migration & Immigration, Technology, Urban History, Women