Assistant Professor of Film Studies
208-A, G Building
PhD (Film Studies), University of California, Berkeley, 2009
MPhil (English), University of Delhi, 1995
BA Honors (English), University of Delhi, 1990
2009-present Queens College, CUNY (Assistant Professor)
2002-2009 University of California, Berkeley (Graduate Student Instructor and Researcher)
1992-2002 Gargi Gollege, University of Delhi (Assistant Professor of English)
Transnational flows in silent cinema, comparative historiography, international film theory, melodrama, spectatorship and star studies
My scholarship examines “early” film within the expanded spatial and temporal framework of silent and early sound cinemas outside the United States, particularly those of India. My coedited volume Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space (Indiana UP, 2014, with Jennifer Bean and Laura Horak) engages with silent cinema’s multiple dispersals and messy crossings—of origins, texts, locations, histories; even genres and genders. While the essays collected in this volume foreground the transnational ebbs and flows of silent cinema across the world, my current book project Film as Body/Politic examines “early” cinema going in India across the silent and sound periods (1913-1939).
Film as Body/Politic: Indian Cinema, the Early Years (forthcoming).
Film as Body/Politic: Indian Cinema, the Early Years maps the distinctive cultural, material and epistemological contours of cinema’s arrival in India. While the search for selfhood and self-governance emerged as collective goals of the nationalist struggle, cinema embodied the nation’s public as an unmanageable body of cinephiliac excess. If the nation as imagined community signified righteous political resistance, the cinema as corporeal excess came to signify the public’s hedonism and insatiable appetite for moving image—official decrial quickly turned cinema into the perfect embodiment of a polluted body politic.
I argue that this breach between the corporeal, sensory cine goer and the liberal, cerebral citizen is a governing force behind cinema’s rehabilitation in India. Based on a range of unseen documents, Film as Body/Politic brings Indian cinema’s transitional years to life by focusing on “informal” materials that question, subvert or challenge official accounts of the “birth” of film. Pursuing the incidental, the fragmentary and the unintended, it offers a history located on the margins—how-to manuals, personal memoirs, interviews, newspaper trivia, film advertisements and censorship documents. Without these “chronicles,” there would be little trace of how cinema came to be retooled as a popular medium capable of representing unlikely screen bodies as dream citizens.
Memorializing the Centenary. Dossier for South Asian Popular Culture (forthcoming, 2015)
“Shanta Apte” in Indian Film Stars, ed. Michael Lawrence (forthcoming, British Film Institute, 2015).
“Melodrama and Female Stardom in 1960s Bombay Cinema” in The 1960s Revisited: Fashion, Film, Modernities, ed. Louise Wallenberg, Drake Stutesman and Eugenia Paulicelli (forthcoming, Indiana University Press, 2015).
Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space, with Jennifer Bean and Laura Horak (Indiana University Press, 2014). http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=807150
“Around the World in Eighty Minutes: Douglas Fairbanks and the Indian Stunt Film” in Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space, pp. 210-234. http://muse.jhu.edu/books/9780253015075
“Awara,” “Pandora’s Box, “ and “Mother India” in The Routledge Encyclopedia of Films, ed. Sabine Haenni, Sarah Barrow and John White (Routledge, 2014) pp. 58-61, 121-124, 356-359.
“Melodrama as Method” in Framework: The Journal of Cinema and MediaVolume 54, Number 2, Fall 2013, pp. 146-151
“What Happened to Khadi? Dress and Costume in Bombay Cinema” in Figurations in Indian Film, ed. Meheli Sen and Anustup Basu (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013) pp. 44-66, rpt. New Delhi: Orient-Blackswan, 2014.
Grants and Fellowships
Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, 2015
PSC-CUNY Research Award, 2012
Andrew Mellon Fellow, Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center, 2010
Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
Female Acting and the Autobiography of the Self. March 27, 2015. Montreal, Canada. SCMS.
Vernacular Performance on Film. Barnard College. April 19, 2014.https://theatre.barnard.edu/vernaculartraditions
Origins, Aesthetics, Discourse: Melodrama and Early Indian Cinema. Screen Melodramas: Global Perspectives. New York University and Columbia University, March 2, 2013.http://cinema.tisch.nyu.edu/object/csspring2013_melodrama.html
Year of South Asia: Introductions to Nayakan and Devdas. ”Clothing, Dress and Fashion in Indian Cinema.” Queens College, CUNY. April 3, 17 and 14, 2013.http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/godwin_ternbach/year_of_india/
Song and Dance in the Indian Silent Film. Performing New Media. 1890-1915. University of Brighton, UK. June 18, 2012. DOMITOR.http://www.domitor.org/downloads/2012ConfSched.pdf
What Happened to Khadi? Fashion and Female Stardom in Contemporary Indian Cinema. Yale Symposium on Fashion and Film, November 12, 2011.
Film as Madness: Phalke, Cinema and the Dream Factory. Graduate Center, City University of New York. Dec 2, 2012.
Snakes, Sirens and Vamps: A Short History of Early Indian Cinema. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival and Third Eye, San Francisco. July 24, 2009.
Silent Cinema (Graduate and Undergraduate)
Early Film Genres
MA Program Committee
Undergraduate Studies Committee
Year of India Film Series
Queens College Academic Senate
South Asian Popular Culture
The Melodrama Consortium