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Dr Anuja Jain


My research and teaching revolves around South Asian film, media and visual culture; experimental film and moving image art; transnational film history; documentary film; Asian Cinemas; film, memory and historical trauma; and film poetics.

I completed my Ph.D. from New York University and before coming to St Andrews in 2016, I was a South Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Rice University in Houston, Texas, US.

Currently, I am completing a monograph which examines the role of Indian documentary film in lending representation to religious violence in post-Partition India, with a focus on contemporary instances of Hindu Right instigated violence. Situated in the post-1990s liberalization landscape, the book interrogates the affective and activist spaces made available by documentary cinema, and its relationship to other medium and critical responses to which it speaks to and draws upon – video magazines, video art and multi-channel installations, among others.

I am also working on a second book project that focuses on the local and global cinematic histories and sensibilities that informs contemporary Indian cinema.

I am co-editor of The Poetics of Indian Cinema (Screen 2017) that moves away from Indian cinema’s industrial frames of reference, to interrogate a ‘historical poetics’ in Bordwell’s sense of locating the elements of style in a historical context in order to study the constructive principles of films, and their effects, with an objective to produce new knowledge of key works and their place in histories of Indian cinema.



Articles/Book Chapters

Love Sex Aur Dhoka: A New Morphology of Contemporary Bombay Cinema,” The Poetics of Indian Cinema, Screen, vol. 58, issue 1 (Spring 2017), 98-106.

“Introduction,” The Poetics of Indian Cinema, Screen, eds. Sudhir Mahadevan and Anuja Jain, vol. 58, issue 1  (Spring 2017), 59-63.

“Curious Case of the Films Division: Some Annotations on the Beginnings of Indian Documentary Cinema in Post-Independent India, 1940s-1960s,” The Archive, Special Issue of The Velvet Light Trap, 71 (March 2013), 5-26.

“‘Beaming it live’: 24 hour Television News, the Spectator and the Spectacle of the 2002 Gujarat Carnage,” InterMedia, Special Issue of the Journal of South Asian Popular Culture, Eds. Anustup Basu, Rajinder Dudrah, Sangita Gopal and Amit Rai, vol. 8, no. 2 (July 2010), 163–178.

 “The Melodramatic Imaginings: Representations of Sectarianism in Hindi Popular Cinema and Indian Documentaries,” Narratives of Indian Cinema, ed. Manju Jain (Delhi: Primus, 2009), 85-95.

“Media Against Communalism (India),” The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media, ed. John H. Downing (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, October 2010), 319-321.


"The Other Song: Gender, Performance and Aurality in Indian Documentary Film," Blackwell Companion to Indian Cinema, Eds. Neepa Majumdar and Ranjani Mazumdar.

“‘Expreimenta India’: History and Politics of Curation and Exhibition of Experimental Film and Video Art in South Asia,” Special issue on Indian Documentary, ed. Ravi Vasudevan, Marg, Journal of Indian Art (Mumbai: Marg Publications, September 2018).

Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan: Politics and Legacy of New Wave Movement in Contemporary Indian Cinema,” Breaching Bollywood’s Bastion: India’s New Independent Cinema Revolution, ed. Ashvin Devasundaram (Routledge, 2018).


Current research


British Academy US-UK Early Career Workshop on Violence, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Spring 2018

Visiting Fellow, King's India Institute, King's College London, Fall 2018

Invited Talks 

"Afterlives of Sleaze: Taste, Trash and Contemporary Bombay Cinema.” King's India Institute, King's College London, January 2018.

“Vernacular Performance on Film.” Barnard College, New York, April 2014.

“The Evolution of Indian Cinema: 100 Years of Indian Cinema” Harvard South Asia Institute, Harvard University, Massachusetts, November 2013.

Research supervision

I would welcome projects from students working in various areas of South Asian cinema, experimental film and moving image, transnational visual and material cultures, film and politics, documentary film with a specific interest in questions of community and public sphere, film spectatorship, and violence and questions of representation.


I am currently supervising: