A word or two about myself

Thank you for visiting my site. Below is my working life in brief.

I started my life in academia in the early years of the millennium, having completed my education at St Xavier’s College Calcutta and Jawaharlal Nehru University, and while finishing my MPhil from Jadavpur University. For the next decade I let myself be tossed around; not only moving jobs within academia but also, in about three years leaving it altogether, having felt stifled. For the next 7 years, I had an excitable life in the media. At the end of the first decade of this century, media was in the middle of a great churn. I left.

I returned to academia in 2011. Since then, I have been teaching at Ambedkar University Delhi. My research and teaching interests are in colonial and postcolonial visual modernisms, photography studies, adaptation studies, cinema studies, and city studies. I have published a few essays in these areas in journals by Intellect and Routledge and in thematic anthologies published by Routledge (2016, 2017, 2019), Palgrave Macmillan (2016, 2018), University of Brussels Press, and University of Amsterdam Press. They will be found under the head of Academic Press.

I have also been a UKNA Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden in 2015, and a Charles Wallace UK Fellow in 2016, both having helped me in my doctoral work, which I am completing at the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University.

Bringing together my interest in popular culture, Bengali cinema, and star studies, I have just published a monograph called Uttam Kumar: A Life in Cinema. (Bloomsbury). This is not a biography of a matinee idol. The book is a contextual and intellectual history of Uttam Kumar’s cinema. More about the book and a free downloadable poster can be found on the Books page. There are also links to buy the book from prominent global retailers.

I have written for publications that once I worked for – the edit pages of Daily News & Analysis (which has since become digital-only) and Hindustan Times, and the now-defunct The Bengal Post. They are a mix of commentaries, interviews, and features. The better among them are here. Since my return to academics, I have continued to write on books, politics, and cinema in international publications like Huffington Post and The Monthly Review, and national ones like Art IndiaOutlookIndian ExpressTheWireScrollBusiness StandardThe Hindu; long-form publications like BiblioCaravanCafé DissensusCritical Collective, and EPW, and in Bengali for the popular broadsheet Anandabazaar Patrika. There are few other publications too. They are in the Cultural Press section.

There is a motley section on my public life as an academic – podcast, interviews, talks; and some itinerant translations. Finally, there is one substantive section on my photographs. The camera has been a robust companion for some time now and I am delighted to share a small part of the harvest that I think is worth sharing.

In general for life and for this website in particular, I am in debt of my abiding friendship with Anirban Banerjee and Shamik Chatterjee. Anirban planned, populated, and executed this site. I only played along. I cannot overemphasize the gratitude that is justly due to him. Shamik designed the site and advised on it equally. Both have my love. Without them, this website would have remained only on my mind. I am also grateful to longtime friend Pinaki De for making a poster out of one of his exceptional optional covers for the book on Uttam Kumar (which he designed). I am also thankful to my friend Rituparno Basu for the wonderful caricature that you can see on the Cultural Press pages.

Together, this website is a digital and evolving archive of my writings and sightings that have been culled from over one-and-a-half decades of engagement with things cultural. The range of writings hence varies from the doggedly academic to the nonchalantly banal. I had to overcome several bouts of hesitation to proceed with this website. I did so because the strong opinions of friends prevailed over my dithering.

I would hope that the reader finds some of the pieces (and images) worth their time.