An evening on mars, love on the moon: 1960s science fiction films from bombay

Rashmi Sawhney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A number of low-budget science fiction (SF) films were made in Bombay in the 1960s that have entirely been glossed over in scholarly accounts of Indian film history, genre studies, or global accounts of non-western SF cinema. Symptomatic of the desires and anxieties of the space age, these films mobilized common science fictional tropes of UFOs, space travel, rockets, atomic energy, gigantic monsters, epic disaster, automatons, aliens, and so on, in an attempt to legitimize India’s claims to scientific and technological modernity. Inspired by the SF narratives and iconography of 1950s international films, these B-films constructed alternative circuits of stardom and creative labour, along with new imaginations of science, technology and ethics. Although prints of most of the films are unavailable, this article constructs a speculative account of the industrial economies and aesthetic characteristics of this peculiarly 1960s Bombay B genre through film scripts, song and publicity booklets, film stills, posters, media interviews and film reviews. The flash-in-the-pan appearance of the genre in the 1960s, much like a meteorite zapping past, is indicative of the tremendous risk and enterprise that characterizes 1960s Bombay cinema, and this article attempts to recover some of this, in its lowbrow forms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-146
Number of pages26
JournalStudies in South Asian Film and Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2015


  • 1960s India
  • B-films
  • Bombay cinema
  • Science fiction
  • Special effects
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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