What Is Wrong with Indian Films? (India, 1948)

Written the year after Indian Independence, this manifesto by Satyajit Ray laments the state of Indian cinema and the fact that Indian films never play outside of India. He claims that the language of the cinema, as it presently stands, is an American idiom but can easily be adapted to other cultures. Ray wrote this manifesto shortly before beginning Pather Panchali (India, 1955), which placed Indian realist cinema on the international map alongside Italian neorealism, a movement that greatly influenced Ray. “What Is Wrong with Indian Films” also echoes the thesis of la caméra stylo put forward by Alexandre Astruc the same year, namely that the cinema “can handle Shakespeare and psychiatry with equal facility” (see Astruc, “The Birth of a New Avant Garde” in chap. 11 of this volume).