Arts and Culture
The paper focuses on imagining neoliberal globalization uncannily in Indian cinema, looking at the on-going urban transformations in Kolkata, West Bengal – one of the largest cities in India. The paper takes gentrification, proliferation of new urban developments and decline of heritage sites as an important starting point for a philosophical inquiry into relationship between past and present in neoliberal times. It looks at imagining the above-mentioned problems in Bengali cinema – a film industry based in Kolkata. The paper, by focusing on the uncanniness of such spaces in a horror comedy Bhooter Bhabishyat (Eng. The Future of Ghosts, Anik Datta, 2012) claims that the haunted house about to be demolished to make way for a shopping mall, and the anxiety of ghosts facing homelessness is a metaphor for gentrification. The paper claims that a metaphor of a haunted house and ghosts in horror genre films usually represent history, past and/or heritage resisting the social transformation, in the case of this paper - neoliberal urban development. Spectrality, or ghostliness can be seen as a critical metaphor in analyzing urban development but at the same time it embodies spaces as sites of struggle between history and development. The paper, following Jacques Derrida’s concept of hauntology, argues that Bhooter Bhabishyat presents a spatiotemporal collapse out of which attempts to negotiate the past, the present and an uncertain future emerge.