From Moscow to Mumbai: The Flourishing of a Soviet Book Culture in India

From Moscow to Mumbai: The Flourishing of a Soviet Book Culture in India


Screening and discussion of “Dhukyat Haravlele Laal Taare” (Red Stars Lost Behind the Mist), a documentary film on the history of Soviet book culture in Western India.

After the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, literary exchange between India and a more globally-oriented Soviet Union grew at a rapid pace. For the next four decades, the Soviet Foreign Languages Publishing House (Издательство Литературы на Иностранных языках) and its offshoots, Progress, Raduga, and Mir Publishers, would proceed to recruit hundreds of translators and writers from India to come to Moscow to translate works of Soviet fiction, scientific/technical literature, and children’s books into over 12 Indian languages. At this event, Mumbai-based Indian filmmakers Devadatta Rajadhyaksha and Nikhil Rane (Prasad Deshpande, in absentia) will screen and discuss their documentary film on the popular reception of Soviet children’s literature translated into Marathi, the major language of Western India. In the 39-minute film, entitled “Red Stars Lost Behind the Mist,” you will get to hear from Indian readers and distributors of Soviet books as well as from professional Indian translators who once worked in the USSR. This film has been selected for screening at the MediaCongress XIII to be held in St. Petersburg.

The discussion and Q&A session following screening will be moderated by Jessica Bachman, a History PhD Candidate from the University of Washington in Seattle. Bachman, a Mellon doctoral dissertation fellow, is currently conducting research on the wider history of the Soviet literary translation program in the Russian State Archives. The film will have English subtitles, and the discussion will be carried out in English.

We invite you to a meeting and discussion with filmmakers on Monday, 5 November at 5 p.m.

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