Archeology of an experiment: The science-fiction cinema of Pramod Pati | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6 Number 2
  • ISSN: 1756-4921
  • E-ISSN: 1756-493X



The Films Division (FD) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting went through a spurt of experimentation in the 1960s and 1970s that yielded a small but historically significant corpus of films with a unique vision. Pramod Pati was one of the most distinctive voices to have emerged among FD film-makers in this period. While his short films have traditionally been categorized as ‘experimental’ and ‘avant-garde’, in this article I argue that they are also examples of proto science-fiction cinema and provide a flickering glimpse of a newly budding outer space imaginary in 1960s India. In making a case for Pati’s films to be regarded as proto sci-fi, this article analyses three short films, Explorer (1968a), Claxplosion (1968b) and Trip (1970) with respect to their formal features, imagery and sound. Through the use of nonlinearity, special effects and electronic sound, the films both challenge and affirm the ambitions of a postcolonial nation caught between its past and future. This article suggests that these films are representative of a peculiar moment in the history of Indian experimental cinema when the deployment of science-fictional tropes signalled a transforming mediascape being mobilized by the state into constructing ‘modern’ publics.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): experimental; Films Division; Pramod Pati; radio; science fiction; sound
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