The spring thunder: revisiting the Naxal Movement in Indian cinema

Sanghita Sen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates why and how the Naxal movement, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist armed revolutionary movement which emerged in May 1967 in India, has been repeatedly addressed, adapted, and accommodated in Indian cinema. As an organized political movement with specific manifesto and vision of the nature of the state, the Naxal movement attempted to disrupt and dismantle the quasi-feudal Indian social structure and an oppressive Indian state that functioned still under colonial administrative regulation, as caretaker of interests of the powerful classes. In this article, I argue that the Naxal movement helped Indian cinema to map out the history and internal architecture of political dissent in post-independence India and construct a counter-nationalist discourse. The paper aims to evaluate how the Naxal Movement serves as a resource to represent the politics of dissent in India in the 1970s in parallel cinema and as a critique of the neo-liberal policies of the Indian State in the postmillennial Bollywood films. It aims to analyse selected films that deal with the Naxal/Maoist movements in India as a counter historiography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-69
Number of pages17
JournalCinema et Cie
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

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