115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Fetish for the Bad Image: Dibakar Banerji’s Early Films

Nandini Chandra, University of Hawaii, Manoa

Dibakar Banerji's early films, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008) and Love, Sex aur Dhoka (2010), attempt to carve a highly disruptive and graphic realism through a conspicuous use of low-tech, low-quality images: surveillance cameras, spy-cams and found footage. I believe Banerjee incorporates gaps in seeing and hisses of static to exploit the residual and embodied memory of senses other than sight, so as to produce an experience adequate to the contradictory totality of the subcontinent.

Proposal: 

Dibakar Banerji started as a neo-avant-garde auteur with unequivocal aspirations to commercial success within the Bollywood film industry. And yet his early films notably Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008) and Love, Sex aur Dhoka (2010) are attempts to carve a highly disruptive and graphic realism through the conspicuous use of low-tech images: surveillance cameras, spy-cams and found footage. Large sections of LSD consist of shaky shots and glitch-ridden footage. The ubiquity of surveillance cameras and MMS prints produces a deliberate fetish for the low-quality image. How do we square this desire for the bad image with the neoliberal target audience, accustomed to a steady diet of glossy, photo-shopped visuals? I will argue that Banerjee incorporates the gaps in seeing and hisses of static etc. as a way of extending the partial views inherent to sight. The gaps exploit the residual and embodied memory of senses other than sight to produce an experience adequate to the contradictory totality of the subcontinent.