Laleen Jayamanne examines the major works of leading Indian film director, Kumar Shahani, and explores the reaches of modernist film aesthetics in its international form. More than an auteur study, Jayamanne approaches Shahani's films conceptually, as those that reveal cinema's synaesthetic capabilities, or cinaesthesia. As the author shows, Shahani's cinematic project entails a modern reformulation of the ancient oral tradition of epic narration and performance in order to address the contemporary world, establishing a new cinematic expression, an epic idiom. As evidenced by his films, constructing cinematic history becomes more than an archival project of retrieval, and is instead a living history of the present which can intervene in the current moment through sensory experiences, propelling thought.
Laleen Jayamanne teaches Cinema Studies in the Department of Art History and Film Studies at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Toward Cinema and Its Double: Cross-Cultural Mimesis (IUP, 2001).