Celebrating more than 25 years of publishing excellence


Project Cinema City Bombay/Mumbai

Madhusree Dutta

Published in association with Majlis, Mumbai

July 2012

6.5 x 9 inches

240 pages

ISBN : 978-81-89487-99-7

INR 995
INR 995.00
In stock

dates.sites presents a timeline of the city of Bombay/Mumbai in the 20th century, anchored to its most adored public institution: cinema.

Why this timeline when it is now generally accepted that dates are rigid and memories porous – and that the latter needs to be prioritized over the former? How does one create a timeline that is neither cast in stone nor vulnerable to the charge of ‘manufacturing a past’? How does one evolve a timeline for a geographically defined entity in the context of its popular cultures that are defined by specific processes of production and distribution? These were some of the challenges that confronted the making of this volume.

The volume is divided into sections by decades, and the decades in turn are separated by a series of calendars designed by artists, filmmakers and designers. The text is a stitching together of found information and received knowledge from formal/informal, acknowledged/discarded sources. It is layered with images from either the public domain or personal archives. The relationship between text and image, far from being umbilical, is playfully associative. Just as contemporary readings are incorporated with dated markers in the body of text, in the body of visuals too, contemporary works are inserted alongside period images – and these incorporations and insertions appear with detectable joint–marks, in order to snap the spell of ‘snippets from the past’.

dates.sites thus becomes a deliberation on the contemporary with the aid of a speculated upon and collated past.

Madhusree Dutta

Madhusree Dutta, the curator of Project Cinema City, is a filmmaker and executive director of Majlis. She curated the cultural component at World Social Forum, 2004 and 2007, and has conceived and realized various courses on cultural literacy and art interfaces for both academic institutions and social movements. Her publications include The Nation, the State and Indian Identity (co-editor, 1996), and Sites and Practices: An Exercise in Cultural Pedagogy (editor, 2006).

“A useful compendium of facts, dates and significant moments compiled and designed by Madhusree Dutta and Shilpa Gupta…If the book is a pleasurable journey through history, it is because play and whimsy create delightful “lightness”. Readers will find their own way of navigating the book and take the liberty to surf and pause over whatever detail or anecdote that catches their fancy…. There is no doubt that this excellent book, a must have for all film and city lovers, deserves to have many lives and incarnations.”

Shohini Ghosh, Economic and Political Weekly

“At first glance, it is a book that seems straightforward in its aims: a historical ready reckoner, a vast compendium of facts about the city and its film industry, arranged chronologically. And it is that at one level. But as you spend more time with it, it begins to reveal itself as a quirkier creature: an artifact in its own right, a space where facts about the transformation of land and labour, law and life in the city can share the page with cinema history, inflected bv chatty, opinionated commentary…. dates.sites is a real goldmine of stories, allowing itself the luxury o9f the suggestive anecdote: the sparkling, free-floating detail unbound by the ponderous footnote. The text continually throws up real-life characters whose mythification in urban lore was immortalized by the cinema… dates.sites is a Benjaminian archive of the materiality of cinema in Bombay/Mumbai. Accessible, joyful and packed with possibility, this is a book every film-lover should have on her shelf.”

Trisha Gupta, Biblio

“The book, thus, ‘is divided into sections by decades, and the decades in turn are divided by a series of calendars designed by visual artists, filmmakers and designers.’ But even that isn’t enough to tell you how extraordinarily this volume has been produced, how sumptuously it has been designed.”

Baradwaj Rangan, The Hindu