Watch Parliament of India, CP and Qutab in 1938

The documentary is shot by the legendary Jack Cardiff – Oscar-winning cinematographer of Black Narcissus – this is one of a number of short films that he made in India in the late 1930s. As much a study to show off his brilliant Technicolor photography as it is a portrait of Delhi, this film presents the city – and the period – as rarely seen before.

After a brief historical and architectural preamble, the film moves into an extended sequence that shows Jama Masjid and stunningly coloured saris among the gardens of the Red Fort. Then it’s off to New Delhi to see how the British (in the form of architect Edwin Lutyens) taught the Indians how to build… However, despite the colonial pomposity of the commentary, the record of New Delhi in the ’30s is extraordinary – especially the scenes of Connaught Place that appear as a sea of calm and green lawns ( – Robin Baker).

Watch more on the BFI Player:

DG Correspondent

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