Arun A.K. reviews Srikanth Srinivasan’s Modernism by Other Means – the first book-length study of the films of Amit Dutta, renowned as one of the foremost filmmakers working in experimental cinema today.
Publisher and Date of Publication – Lightcube, 2020
Amit Dutta is regarded as one of the foremost filmmakers working in contemporary experimental cinema with his films shown in major festivals and museum programs across the world. In the last decade, he has had over half a dozen retrospectives in India and elsewhere. Even so, there has not been a single book-length study of Dutta’s work—a lacuna Srikanth Srinivasan’s book—Modernism by Other Means: The Films of Amit Dutta, seeks to remedy. Part of the reason for this gap is the difficulty in accessing Dutta’s works. Not one of his films has had a commercial release in India. It is only recently that a retrospective of his works has been made available for online streaming in India on the OTT platform —MUBI. Even abroad, they have had very limited circulation outside of festival screenings and retrospectives. It is lamentable that contemporary experimental audiovisual practice in India has been sidelined by disproportional critical and scholarly focus on mainstream and ‘parallel’ cinema.