C. Yamini Krishna


Most of the film historiography has originated from the cities like Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Lahore. The more recent scholarship has looked at cities like Pune and Kolhapur. In all these histories details of film production happening in cities like Hyderabad is a curious absence. This absence could be attributed to a multiplicity of reasons like the prominence of film production in these cities and the availability of archival evidence. Focusing on the film practises in cities like Hyderabad presents the possibility of bringing alternative histories to the fore which enhances the understanding of cinema as a complex network. The city of Hyderabad was distinct in being a princely city under the rule of the Nizam unlike Madras, Calcutta, Bombay and Lahore which were the colonial cities and also in being at the crucial intersection of the transport and communication networks from the north to the south. The city of Hyderabad under the Nizam rule has also been argued to be a modern city embedded in the international networks by scholars like Eric Beverley(2015). The study of early film history in Hyderabad becomes a way to understand the social history of the place itself.

This paper attempts to trace the history of early film production in Hyderabad state by examining the case of Dhirendranath Ganguly. Dhiren Ganguly ran the Lotus Film Company in Hyderabad from 1922 to 1924. The case of Dhiren Ganguly and the Lotus Film Company becomes a site to investigate the patronage networks of princely city of Hyderabad, the industrial networks within which cinema operated and also the politics of film historiography post the linguistic reorganization of states. It is also an avenue to examine Ganguly as an early film artist, his influences and his mobilization of various networks to make cinema. Through the examination of fragmented evidence it tries to understand the different negotiations that were involved film production in the Nizam state in the 1920s and hence on the nature of society under the Nizam. 


Film History, Early Cinema, Princely States

Full Text:



Arudra, “Two decades of Telugu Cinema”. N.D. Print

Balme, Christopher. "Managing Theatre and Cinema in Colonial India: Maurice E. Bandmann, JF Madan and the War Films’ Controversy." Popular Entertainment Studies 6.2 (2015): 6-21.

Beverley, Eric Lewis. Hyderabad, British India, and the World: Muslim Networks and Minor Sovereignty, c. 1850–1950. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Chatterjee, Ranita. Journeys in and beyond the city: cinema in Calcutta, 1897-1939. Dissertation. University of Westminster, 2011. Digital.

Hansen, Kathryn. "Stri Bhumika: Female impersonators and actresses on the Parsi stage." Economic and Political Weekly(1998): 2291-2300.

Hughes, Stephen P. "Pride of place." SEMINAR-NEW DELHI-. MALYIKA SINGH, 2003.

Hughes, Stephen Putnam. "Urban Mobility and the History of Cinema»~ Going in Chennai." Chennai, not Madras: Perspectives on the City. Marg 57.4 (2006).

Hughes, Stephen. "House full: Silent film genre, exhibition and audiences in south India." The Indian Economic & Social History Review 43.1 (2006): 31-62.

Hughes, Stephen Putnam. "What is Tamil about Tamil cinema?." South Asian Popular Culture 8.3 (2010): 213-229.

Jaikumar, Priya. Cinema at the end of empire: A politics of transition in Britain and India. Duke University Press, 2006.

Kaushik, Bhaumik. The emergence of the Bombay film industry: 1913-1936. Unpublished Dissertation. University of Oxford, 2001. Digital.

Liang, Lawrence. "Cinematic citizenship and the illegal city." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 6.3 (2005): 366-385. Digital.

Majumdar, Neepa. Wanted cultured ladies only!: female stardom and cinema in India, 1930s-1950s. University of Illinois Press, 2010.

Nair, Janaki. Mysore modern: Rethinking the region under princely rule. 2011.

Pernau, Margrit. The Passing of Patrimonialism: Politics and Political Culture in Hyderabad, 1911-1948. Manohar, 2000.

Rajadhyaksha, Ashish, and Paul Willemen. Encyclopedia of Indian cinema. Routledge, 2014.

Rangoonwala, Firoze, Indian Filmography: Silent and Hindi Films (1897-1969), Bombay: Rangoonwalla-J. Udeshi, 1970.

Srinivas, S. V. Politics as performance: A social history of the Telugu cinema. Permanent Black, 2013.

Thoraval, Yves. The cinemas of India. South Asia Books, 2000.

Non English Sources:

Gudipudi, Srihari. “Telugu Cinema Sankshipta Charitra”. Eds. Namala Venkateshwara Rao. Telugu Cinema(1997): 1-10. Print

H, Ramesh Babu. “Alanati Bollywood lo Mana Toli Hero”. Eds. K. Vimala & S. Jagan Reddy. Ooregimpu. Telangana Sangatulu (2006). 10-12. Print.

Inturi, Venkateshwara Rao. “Aravai ella Telugu Talkie”. Eds. Muddali Raghuram. Aravai ella Telugu cinema (1994): 1-37. Print.


“Dhirendranath Ganguly”, National Documentation Centre on Mass Communication, Research and Reference Division, NDCMC WHO/2/93. NFAI

“Film Jack and fancies”. The Stage.7 June 1923, The stage. Pg. 9.

“Fredric Culpitt”. The Stage. 17 June, 1926, Pg. 11.

Sarkar, A.K.“Doyen of the Indian Film World”, 18.07.1976. NFAI

Dogra, Bharat. “Grand Old Man of Cinema”. 1.08.1976. NFAI.

“Cine Forum Jabalpur”, Cine Forum, Jabalpur. 17 August 1976. Pamphlet. NFAI.

Mullick, Swapan. “He made film making respectable”, 16.12.1978. NFAI


Bhakta Jayadeva. Dir. C.Pullayya. 1938

Bhakta Markandeya. Dir. C. Pullayya. 1925.

Bhishma Pratigya. Dir. R.S. Prakasham. 1921

Bilat Pherat. Dir. D.Ganguly. 1921.

Chintamani. Dir. D.Ganguly.1923

D.G. Movie Pioneer. Dir. Kalpana Lajmi. 1978.

Deshbandhu. Dir. G.R. Sethi. 1931

Haragauri. Dir. D.Ganguly. 1922

Hero of the Wilds. Dir. Chunilal Parekh, St, 1931

Indrajit. Dir. D.Ganguly.1922

Jagmagati Jawani. Dir. Nagendra Majumdar. 1929

Lady Teacher. Dir. D.Ganguly.1922

Meri Maa. Dir. K.P. Bhave. 1931

Meri Maa. K.P. Bhave, St, 1931

Razia Begum. Dir. Nanubhai Desai/ B.P. Mishra. 1924

Sadhu ki saitan . Dir. D.Ganguly 1922

Shikari. Dir Naval Gandhi, H, 1932

Step mother. Dir. D.Ganguly.1923

Yashoda Nandan Dir. D.Ganguly. 1921

Yayati. Dir. D.Ganguly.1926


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.