Led by Manishita Dass, the project “Left Luggage: Cinematic Legacies of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA)” explores the transformative impact of left radicalism on Indian cinema of the 1940s-50s. A vibrant left cultural movement emerged in India in the 1940s, under the banner of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). The project combines archival research, textual analysis, and an inter-medial perspective to trace IPTA’s role in reshaping the entertainment-oriented Hindi cinema produced in Bombay and fostering a Bengali art cinema in Kolkata in this period. It excavates a hidden history of Indian cinema and Popular Front cultures, and contributes to debates about theatricality, realism, modernism and mass culture.
Supported by the British Academy Small Grant (2014-2016) and a Leverhulme fellowship (2019-2020).