Documentary filmmaker, Samina Mishra, in collaboration with Nandini Chandra, Assistant Professor, English Department, Delhi University, will study how the State, as embodied by the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), imagined and represented the child, from its inception in 1955 to the early 1980s. CFSI is a vehicle for promoting the Nehruvian idea of India, being a significant repository of images and narratives that tell us about how the child was viewed in Nehru’s India. The researchers will study the CFSI archive, examining its institutional engagement with the figure of both the real and metaphorical child. Some of the questions central to the project are: how was the child imagined in the early decades of independent India? And how was s/he represented? Through the study of the child, the project seeks to arrive at an understanding of the larger political and cultural goals that were enshrined in the nation-building agenda. While this is the primary focus of the research project titled, Nehru’s Children: The Child in the CFSI Archive, the duo will also examine how these films were produced, disseminated and received.
The project will result in a monograph and curated programme of films from the archive that will be available for screening purposes in collaboration with the CFSI. Both these outcomes will seek to widen the discussion on ideas of childhood as well as encourage further engagement with the archive through the possibility of organising screenings and traveling film festivals.