Saturday, July 11, 2009

Questions prompted by "Filming", Khair

I am now kind of curious about the situation of Muslim Indian actors during partition. Since there are so many actors today, many of the best known male leads are Muslims, it makes me wonder what happened in 47/48 and the years soon after?
Is there a great book about the legacy of Muslim Indian actors? Is there a book or article about the relative lack of prejudice within the industry?

1 comment:

katepourshariati said...

Narayan: To answer your question is to ask what was going on in Bombay during partition. My uninformed impression is that the only film center with overt violence was Calcutta. I don’t have any material available to consult but there should be pointers on the Internet. The Bombay film industry was far more mature than Calcutta’s or Madras’ and had Muslims in every activity, especially music and scripting, also, I imagine, distinctly liberal and lefty. The social norms of the city, the political leanings of the people in the industry, and the level of literacy/education/enlightenment would have been important factors. Between 58 & 68, when I lived in Bombay, I was unaware of any anti-Muslim sentiment. Some famous Muslim actors and actresses took on bland Hindu names - something I didn’t question till recently. I doubt that anyone had to leave or lost favor, but that might be just be uninformed of me. I don’t know if there was an industry center in the Punjab at that time. Amardeep, being interested in Indian film, might know more. I remember reading of some people who moved to Pakistan and were unhappy with professional opportunities there. I’ll check and ask someone who might know.
PS : I had a distant uncle who ran away from home as a teenager to join the film industry in Bombay in the early 50s, was taken in by a lefty couple, went into the art business and progressed to renown as a director. He married a woman from a prominent Muslim family, herself active in the theater world - if that’s any indication. I imagine that intermarriage was not and is not a big deal in filmi circles.