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East and North-East India

A journey from Odisha to Kolkata to the Buddhist communities of West Bengal and the diverse people of the north-eastern states.

From home movie footage of Puri in 1927 we head via Ranchi and Patna to Kolkata and an extraordinary selection of films shot in the former colonial capital. Heading north on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway we stop off in Sikkim to witness spectacular Buddhist processions filmed in colour. Heading east, the collection highlights the ethnographic films shot by explorers across the north-easten states. The collection includes films from Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

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Boat Repairs - Sunderbans
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Boat Repairs - Sunderbans

Amateur film193511 minsSilent

Stunning colour footage showing colonial life in the hills of Assam and bustling activity on the lakes below

Devil Dancers of Sikkim
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Devil Dancers of Sikkim

Travelogue19349 mins

Hear the Lama band, see the sacred dances: welcome to Sikkim, in the shadow of the Himalayas.

Sir John Laing Missionary Films Calcutta, Darjeeling & Bihar
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Sir John Laing Missionary Films Calcutta, Darjeeling & Bihar

Amateur film194712 minsSilent

Rare amateur footage of East India

Darjeeling: A Foothill Town
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Darjeeling: A Foothill Town

Travelogue193410 mins

Evocative travelogue exploring life at the foot of the Himalayas, including tea gardens and a Buddhist shrine

Panorama of Calcutta, India, From the River Ganges.
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Panorama of Calcutta, India, From the River Ganges.

Non-Fiction18992 minsSilent

One of the earliest films to be shot in India apparently shows the Calcutta ghats - or does it?

Scenes at his Excellency the Viceroys's Garden Party at Belvedere
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Scenes at his Excellency the Viceroys's Garden Party at Belvedere

Non-Fiction19266 minsSilent

Indian high society enjoy themselves at a Calcutta garden party held to welcome the new Viceroy, Lord Irwin.

Picturesque India or, In and About Calcutta
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Picturesque India or, In and About Calcutta

Travelogue19135 minsSilent

Botanical gardens in Bombay (now Mumbai) plus the highly decorative Jain Temple in Calcutta (now Kolkata) as they were in 1913.

Ranchi and Patna
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Ranchi and Patna

Amateur film192913 minsSilent

Amateur footage around Bihar and what is now Jharkhand in east India

Her Excellency Lady Lytton at the Victoria Memorial
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Her Excellency Lady Lytton at the Victoria Memorial

Non-Fiction19222 minsSilent

Lady Pamela Lytton, wife of the Governor of Bengal, visits the grand marble Victoria Memorial in Calcutta (Kolkata)

Imphal Bazaar
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Imphal Bazaar

Amateur film193418 minsSilent

Richly detailed home movie shot in Manipur by G.P. Stewart, member of the Indian Civil Service

Men Seeking God
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Men Seeking God

193011 minsSilent

An inside view of Methodism taking root in India – and dealing with leprosy.

Old Barak
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Old Barak

Amateur film194713 minsSilent

Glorious colour film of a fishing trip and geese-hunting expedition in north-eastern India

From England to India by Air
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From England to India by Air

Documentary191712 minsSilent

A state welcome for a Handley Page aircraft arriving in Kolkata

Gurkhas and Shillong Scenery
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Gurkhas and Shillong Scenery

Non-Fiction193012 minsSilent

The festival of Dashian is celebrated in rural India - including scenes of animal sacrifice

Puri
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Puri

Amateur film192710 minsSilent

Unguarded images of Europeans and Indians at Puri on the Bay of Bengal

Refugee Camp at Nampong
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Refugee Camp at Nampong

Amateur film194211 minsSilent

Film document of a true act of heroism in the wake of a Namphuk River flood

A Foot-hill Town
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A Foot-hill Town

Documentary19379 mins

Darjeeling - a portrait of the Raj hill station made for schools

Edward Prince of Wales' Tour of India: Calcutta and Delhi
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Edward Prince of Wales' Tour of India: Calcutta and Delhi

Travelogue192118 minsSilent

The future Edward VIII opens a durbar and enjoys a day at the races before inspecting the fire brigade in Calcutta

Bhutan
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Bhutan

Amateur film192814 minsSilent

This amateur film captures the Maharajah of Bhutan watching the marking of the Assam/Bhutan boundary.

Duke of Connaught's Indian Tour
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Duke of Connaught's Indian Tour

Sport19213 minsSilent

In this newsreel report the Duke rides an elephant as he ventures on safari in Bengal.

Cuttack Leper Asylum
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Cuttack Leper Asylum

Documentary19303 minsSilent

Amateur film featuring scenes at an Indian leper colony

Governor's Durbar, Bihar and Orissa
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Governor's Durbar, Bihar and Orissa

Non-Fiction192918 minsSilent

Official duties and big game hunting in 1920s India, filmed by Lord Stephenson’s private secretary

Car Assembly, Calcutta
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Car Assembly, Calcutta

Amateur film19262 minsSilent

Motorcars take shape - outdoors in a Kolkata yard

Magnus Family in India
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Magnus Family in India

Amateur film192712 minsSilent

A colonial family record their travels as they holiday around north and eastern India

Viceroy's Cup Race
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Viceroy's Cup Race

Non-Fiction191713 minsSilent

Lords and ladies gather in Calcutta (Kolkata) for the Viceroy’s Cup, an exclusive horseracing event, in this actuality film.

Grand Lodge Deputation to India
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Grand Lodge Deputation to India

Amateur film19277 minsSilent

Footage shot during an intrepid hunting trip in India

Guthrie Collection - Gangtok and Sikkim Trip - C. 1935
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Guthrie Collection - Gangtok and Sikkim Trip - C. 1935

Amateur film193516 minsSilent

Amateur footage of a trip into the Himalaya

Trip to Manipur
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Trip to Manipur

Amateur film193517 minsSilent

Amateur film of a road trip through northeastern India, showing traditional dances and a gigantic flower float

Shillong Scenes
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Shillong Scenes

Amateur film193219 minsSilent

Golf - and other pursuits - in the 'abode of clouds'

Arrival of the Earl of Lytton at Calcutta
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Arrival of the Earl of Lytton at Calcutta

Non-Fiction19227 minsSilent

Lord Lytton takes up the post of Governor of Bengal

Sir Basil Gould Collection No. 7 - Procession at Gangtok
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Sir Basil Gould Collection No. 7 - Procession at Gangtok

Amateur film194013 minsSilent

Traditional games, dancing and music among the people of Sikkim - in vivid colour

Manufacturing Ropes and Marine Cables at Howrah, Near Calcutta
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Manufacturing Ropes and Marine Cables at Howrah, Near Calcutta

Non-Fiction19098 minsSilent

Strung out on hemp and coconuts: Indian industry supplies a maritime fix

S.E. Tibet and E. Bhutan
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S.E. Tibet and E. Bhutan

Amateur film193817 minsSilent

Amateur footage of a trip to Tibet and Bhutan, including shots of the flora and fauna.

Lady Stephenson's Fete: Tiger Shoot
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Lady Stephenson's Fete: Tiger Shoot

Amateur film192817 minsSilent

Eccentric home movie scenes of the high life in British India, shot by Lord Stephenson’s private secretary

Polo at Patna: Leopard Shoot
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Polo at Patna: Leopard Shoot

Amateur film192816 minsSilent

Amateur film of a polo match at Patna, Bihar, followed by scenes of elephants and a leopard hunt.

Indian Scenes
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Indian Scenes

Travelogue190611 minsSilent

Remarkable early documentary turning the camera on life in Kolkata and Mumbai

Ukhrul Medical Tour
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Ukhrul Medical Tour

Amateur film193411 minsSilent

A doctor and party visit the villages of eastern Manipur in India's far north east

Government House Garden Party 1923
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Government House Garden Party 1923

Non-Fiction19232 minsSilent

Scenes at a garden party given by Earl Lytton, Governor of Bengal, at Government House, Calcutta (now Kolkata).

Calcutta Pageant
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Calcutta Pageant

Ceremony19124 minsSilent

A lavish pageant held during the royal visit to India, celebrating King George V’s coronation

Horse Artillery at Bihar and Orissa
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Horse Artillery at Bihar and Orissa

Amateur film192810 minsSilent

Amateur film surveying colonial life in eastern India

Annual Inspection of the Bodyguard by His Excellency Lord Lytton
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Annual Inspection of the Bodyguard by His Excellency Lord Lytton

Non-Fiction19254 minsSilent

The Governor of Bengal and family - on and off duty.

Procession of Elephants at Jaipur; Galta; Raj Mahal
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Procession of Elephants at Jaipur; Galta; Raj Mahal

Amateur film193312 minsSilent

Armoured elephants, sacred monkeys and a camel carriage feature in Col. George Craster’s home movie despatch from Rajasthan

Calcutta Topical
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Calcutta Topical

Non-Fiction192610 minsSilent

Extravagant military ceremonies and the start of the Calcutta (Kolkata) 'season'

Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine Film
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Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine Film

Interest film192715 minsSilent

Indian medical film about the parasitic disease kala azar

Calcutta Topical No. 1 for 1925
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Calcutta Topical No. 1 for 1925

Non-Fiction19256 minsSilent

Fashionably attired folk attend the races in Kolkata

Viceroy's Cup at Calcutta
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Viceroy's Cup at Calcutta

Sport192916 minsSilent

Film of the 1929 Viceroy’s Cup horse race held in Calcutta (Kolkata).

Royal Visit to India and Nepal
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Royal Visit to India and Nepal

Non-Fiction19227 minsSilent

Edward, Prince of Wales, visits India and Nepal and goes on a tiger hunt.

Darjeeling - Sir Stanley Jackson
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Darjeeling - Sir Stanley Jackson

Amateur film193710 minsSilent

Home movie hinting at the opulence of life for some British officials in India

Tours in Southern Bengal - In the Sunderbans
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Tours in Southern Bengal - In the Sunderbans

Amateur film193512 minsSilent

Everyday life and places of interest around the areas of Midnapore and Chittagong, including steamers and Indian boats along the Damodar river.

Rathjatra, Bone Ceremony
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Rathjatra, Bone Ceremony

Amateur film19364 minsSilent

Home movie footage of a sword dance and ceremonies in Manipur, shot by a member of the Indian Civil Service

Kangchenjunga 1955
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Kangchenjunga 1955

Amateur film1955107 minsSilent

Amateur footage of the British expedition to Kangchenjunga in 1955. Led by Charles Evans, this expedition saw the first ascent of the mountain.

Fourth Everest Expedition
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Fourth Everest Expedition

Non-Fiction193376 minsSilent

Percy Wyn-Harris' filmic record of the 1933 expedition, led by Hugh Ruttledge.

Climbing Mt Everest
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Climbing Mt Everest

Non-Fiction192283 minsSilent

The first film of Tibet, by Captain John Noel from the 1922 British expedition to Mount Everest, which was led by Brigadier General Charles Bruce.

P.R. Oliver Everest Expedition
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P.R. Oliver Everest Expedition

Amateur film193859 minsSilent

Amateur footage directed by Peter Oliver documenting the ‘Mount Everest Expedition 1938’, which was led by Bill Tilman.

Sherriff Kodacolour No. 1
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Sherriff Kodacolour No. 1

Amateur film19358 minsSilent

Colour film of Sikkim / Tibet (no sound), photographed by Scottish explorer and plant collector George Sherriff in 1935.

Sherriff Kodacolour No. 2
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Sherriff Kodacolour No. 2

Amateur film19359 minsSilent

Colour film of Sikkim / Tibet (no sound), photographed by Scottish explorer and plant collector George Sherriff in 1935.

Sherriff Kodacolour No. 3
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Sherriff Kodacolour No. 3

Amateur film19356 minsSilent

Colour film of Sikkim / Tibet (no sound), photographed by Scottish explorer and plant collector George Sherriff in 1935.