Cross-wing filmmaking: East Pakistani Urdu films and their traces in the Bangladesh film archive

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This article excavates Urdu cinema from East Pakistan from the Bangladesh Film Archive. Neglected within the scholarship on Bangladeshi cinema history, I ask what shape the forgetting of East Pakistani Urdu films, and the worlds in which they were made and seen, has taken. I will suggest that the political watershed of 1971 limits the possibilities for excavating the past of Bangladeshi and Pakistani cinema and produces deeply personal forms of forgetting of this particular cinema. I will show how, contrary to accepted film historiography, the cinema of East and West Pakistan was deeply connected, that there was a Bengali reading audience for Urdu films and that Bengali filmmakers in East Pakistan debated the question of Urdu cinema. I use the film Son of Pakistan to suggest that the peculiar opacities around this film direct us to pay attention to those fragments of visual culture that refer not just to a disappeared past but an actively forgotten world of everyday pleasures and aspirations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-118
Number of pages20
JournalBioScope: South Asian Screen Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • East Pakistan
  • Urdu cinema
  • film historiography
  • Bangladesh


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