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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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Alexander Sikanda r

Alexander Sikanda r

(p.302) 16 Alexander Sikandar
Classics and National Cultures

Phiroze Vasunia (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Sikandar (1941), an Indian film about Alexander the Great, and situates it within broader contexts of colonialism and nationalism. It considers how cinema's engagement with the historical past provides responses to political pressures, through such devices as narrative, representational strategy, and the use of tradition. In evaluating the film about Alexander (directed by Sohrab Modi and starring Prithviraj Kapoor as Sikandar), the chapter considers the broader socio‐political contexts in which the film was made, and also locate it within Indian historical writing on the ancient Greeks. The choice of Alexander was not entirely arbitrary, and the Macedonian figure offered Indian intellectuals a vehicle through which they could speak about specific contemporary issues raised by anti‐colonial struggles and aspirations to nationhood.

Keywords:   Sikandar, Alexander the Great, India, colonialism, cinema, Sohrab Modi, Prithviraj Kapoor, Urdu literature, British Empire

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