Introduction: India on Film (01:42)
This film examines archival footage of India from the vaults of the British Film Institute. Restored footage allows audiences a glimpse at India’s fight for independence.
Turn of the Century Footage (05:18)
Footage from 1899 depicts religious rituals conducted along the Ganges River. A 1906 clip by the Walturdaw Company reveals evidence of caste divisions.
British India (06:31)
Britain controls much of the subcontinent for 300 years. Footage from 1902 depicts the celebration of King Edward VII's coronation at Delhi’s Coronation Park.
Scenes from West Bengal (05:43)
Footage from 1906 depicts Calcutta, one of India’s largest cities and the seat of British power. At the time, India is a vital source of the British Empire’s wealth.
Plantation Life (05:11)
Archival footage presents a rosy view of life on Indian tea plantations. Other clips depict mountain railways that move goods and soldiers between cities.
Religious Imperialism (03:11)
Turn of the century footage depicts missionaries from the Salvation Army and their converts. They arrive in 1882 and target the lower class and untouchables for conversion.
“Delhi, Great Capital of India” (05:41)
The 1909 film depicts a Muslim procession through the city. Another scene takes viewers to the Jama Masjid, the Great Mosque of Delhi.
Devadasi Dancers (04:40)
Footage for “Scientia” depicts Indians gathering fruit and eating exotic foods. Many of the reels in the vaults of the British Film Institute show scenes from British territories, but filmmakers occasionally ventured into the settlements of other countries.
Royal Celebration (06:07)
Archival footage depicts a durbar to mark the coronation of King George V on Dec. 12, 1911. The gala marks the first time a reigning British monarch visits India. Britain's hold on India is starting to slip.
Great War (03:31)
News footage from 1914 depicts Indian soldiers departing for what is now Tanzania to fight the Germans. Many of the soldiers are Sikhs, Rajputs, and Pathans, whom the British thought of as natural warriors.
Credits: India on Film: Part One (00:30)
Credits: India on Film: Part One
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