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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Dr Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram, MA, PhD

Ashvin Immanuel

Senior Lecturer in World Cinema

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8291
Room Number: Arts One 1.01A


Senior Lecturer in World Cinema

Whilst specialising in World Cinemas, particularly new independent Indian Cinema, emerging cinemas from South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, my teaching and research interests are open to transdisciplinary and intercultural exploration. I am also interested in intersections of cinematic representations with topical themes and alternative discourses, particularly through the prism of philosophy, politics, drama, visual art, creative industries, film festivals, postcolonialism, postmodernism, decolonisation, migration, urban violence, LGBTQ+ issues, marginalised and minority narratives and subalternity.

My monograph India's New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid (Routledge Advances in Film Studies, 2016) and edited volume Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood: The New Independent Cinema Revolution (Routledge, 2018) are the world’s first books on new Indian Indie cinema. Completing my book trilogy on the topic, Indian Indies: A Guide to New Independent Indian Cinema (with a foreword by Shabana Azmi) was published by Routledge in 2022. I have also co-edited the anthology South Asian Diasporic Cinema and Theatre: Re-visiting Screen and Stage in the New Millennium (Rawat Publications, 2017).

I am actively engaged in film festival curation as Associate Director of the UK Asian Film Festival - London (UKAFF) and I founded the Edinburgh edition of the festival at the Filmhouse, in 2016. I have led initiatives such as the annual Emerging Curators Lab (ECL), International South Asian Film Festivals Conference in 2021 and delegate networking events as part of the BFI London Film Festival. I also directed the documentary film Movies, Memories, Magic (2018) as lead researcher on a Heritage Lottery-funded project – Memories Through Cinema, about British South Asian communities’ recollections of cinema and contributions to cultural heritage.

I have explored intersections between moving images, urban transformations, cultural heritage, colonial/postcolonial histories and diverse communities in locations spanning India, South Africa, Bhutan, Singapore and Brazil. I have led British Academy-supported international interdisciplinary symposia in Brasilia and London, establishing an international research network on the theme of global urban violence and its impact on marginalised communities, through the lens of film and media, built environment, policing, migration and politics. I am also part of a South Asian Cinema and Video on Demand research network, investigating the rise of digital streaming platforms in the region.

I delivered keynote lectures at the I World Cinema International Conference 2021 organised by University Complutense of Madrid, Community Cinema Conference and Film Society Awards 2017 organised by Cinema For All (British Federation of Film Societies), the Deutsches Film Museum during the Frankfurt New Generations Independent Indian Film Festival in 2022 and 2016, and the 12th Annual Phalke Memorial Lecture 2015 at the Indian High Commission's Nehru Centre in London.

I received the Edinburgh University Literary Award in 2012 for my analysis of Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman's La Folie Almayer. I have worked in the past as a television documentary researcher and filmmaker with Channel 4. I am a BBC Academy Expert Voice in Cultural Studies and Visual Arts, and was an advisory panel member for BFI India on Film – part of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017. I am a mentor on the B-MEntor cross-institutional academic mentoring scheme for academics and researchers from Black, Asian and other global majority backgrounds.

Some of the themes from my academic and philosophical introspections spill over into music - I compose songs and play lead guitar with transglobal neo-progressive rock project -The Multitude.



FLM7211: MA Film Studies Core Course

FLM4205: Decolonising Approaches to Film Analysis

FLM5202: Contemporary World Cinemas

FLM5210: New Independent Indian Cinema


Research Interests:

  • World Cinemas
  • New Independent Indian Cinema
  • South Asian Studies
  • Global Urban Violence
  • Film Philosophy
  • Decolonisation
  • Creative Industries
  • Film Festivals
  • Visual Cultures
  • LGBTQ+ and gender identities
  • Globalisation and Neoliberalism
  • Cultural Theory
  • Politics and Irregular Migration
  • Ethnography
  • Postcolonial Theory and Subaltern Studies


  • Poststructuralism


  • Postmodernism




Indian Indies: A Guide to New Independent Indian Cinema (with a foreword by Shabana Azmi), Routledge Focus Series, 2022

Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood: The New Independent Indian Cinema Revolution, Ashvin Devasundaram (Editor), New York: Routledge. 2018

South Asian Diasporic Cinema and Theatre: Re-visiting Screen and Stage in the New Millennium Ajay, Chaubey and Ashvin Devasundaram (Editors), Jaipur: Rawat Publications. 2017

India’s New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid, New York: Routledge Advances in Film Studies. 2016


Bollywood’s Majoritarian Politics and the Independent Alternative, Current History, University of California Press, April 2022.

‘Framing Police-related Urban Violence: Cinematic Crosscurrents from the Global South’, British Academy Special Issue on Urban Violence, June, 2021.

‘Tracing Bergman in Contemporary Indian Cinema: Philosophical Cross-Connections in Through a Glass Darkly, Ship of Theseus and Dear Molly’, special issue Bergman World: Perspectives on the Iconic Swedish Filmmaker’s Work, Hamish Ford & Daniel Humphrey (Editors), Popular Communication (Routledge), Jan 2021.

‘Subalterns and the City: Dubai as Cross-cultural Caravanserai in City of Life and Pinky Memsaab’, in Rohit Dasgupta, Yanling Yang and Clelia Clini (Editors). Transnational Screens, Routledge, 2020

‘Performativity of Rape Culture through Fact and Fiction: An Exploration of India’s Daughter and Anatomy of Violence’. Ashvin Devasundaram and Ravinder Barn, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2020

‘Interrogating Patriarchy: Transgressive Discourses of ‘F-Rated’ Independent Hindi Films’, Special issue on contemporary South Asian women film directors, Valentina Vitali (Editor), BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. SAGE. September 2020.

‘The Representation of Building Events in Wim Wenders’ Cathedrals of Culture’, Ursula Boser, Mairead Nic Craith and Ashvin Devasundaram, Studies in Documentary Film, 11:1, 1-15, Routledge. 2017. (Journal article)

‘Giving Voice to Heritage: A Virtual Case Study’, Mairead Nic Craith, Ursula Boser and Ashvin Devasundaram, in Sarah Green and Patrick Laviolette (Editors), European Association of Social Anthropologists Social Anthropology/ Anthropologie Sociale, Wiley, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp. 433-445. 2016.

‘Bollywood's Soft Power: Branding the Nation, Sustaining a Meta-hegemony’, in Soft Power, Film Culture and the BRICS, Paul Cooke (Editor), New Cinemas Journal of Contemporary Film, Intellect, 14(1) pp. 51-70. 2016.

‘Cyber Buccaneers, Public and Pirate Spheres: The Phenomenon of BitTorrent downloads in the transforming terrain of Indian Cinema’, Media International Australia, 152:1, 2014

‘Autumnal explorations of Alterity: Conjuring Ghosts of Kashmir's Forgotten and Disappeared in 'Harud', The South Asianist Journal of South Asian Studies, 2:3, 2013

Book chapters:

‘World Cinema and the Emerging Cinema from the Global South’ in Volume 1, Histories, Theories, and Globalities, Jane Kromm, Michael Gardiner, Julian Haladyn, and Heike Raphael Hernandez (Editors), The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Visual Culture, 2025.

'Accessing Ingmar Bergman in 21st Century India: Film Festivals, Societies and Filmmakers as Reception Pathways', in Ingmar Bergman Out of FocusTranslations, Receptions and Interpretations, Jono Van Belle, Maria Paz Peirano and Fernando Arenas (Editors), New York: Berghahn, 2024.

Book Foreword and Introduction to section on 'Gender and Sexuality', A Handbook of Indian Indie Cinema by Anik Sarkar and Jayjit Sarkar (Editors), Routledge, 2024.

‘Local Realism: Indian Independent Film as a Socio-political Medium’, in Cinemas of the Global South: Towards a New Aesthetics,  Dilip Menon & Amir Taha (Editors), Routledge, 2024.

'The New Indian Indies: Breaking Bollywood's Bastion' in El Cine de la India: Tradiciones, Rupturas y Disidencias, Caimán Cuadernos de Cine, Carlos F. Heredero (editor), SEMINCI (68th Valladolid International Film Festival), Spain. October 2023.

‘Beyond Brand Bollywood: Alternative Articulations of Geopolitical Discourse in New Indian Films’, in Popular Geopolitics: Understanding an Evolving Interdiscipline, Robert Saunders and Vlad Strukov (Editors), Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics. pp. 152-172. 2018

‘Back where we Belong: Reverse Migration, Global Communities and Cultural Interflows in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, in Making Sense of Popular Culture: Essays in Cultural Studies, Maria Ramón- Torrijos & Eduardo Gregorio-Godeo (Editors). Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 183-196. 2017

‘Contesting the Conventionalising of Castilian: The Role of Galician Parents as Counter-Elites’, Anik Nandi and Ashvin Devasundaram, in Bilingualism and Minority Languages in Europe: Current Trends and Developments, Fraser Lauchlan and Maria Parafita Couto (Editors), Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 12-33. 2017

Other Publications

‘New Indian Cinema Guide’, Cinema For All (British Federation of Film Societies) 2017

‘Alternative Narratives from New Indian Indie Cinema’, IAPS dialogue: The Online Magazine of the Institute of Asian & Pacific Studies. University of Nottingham, 25th July 2017

‘India’s New Independent Cinema’, India Independent Films, web feature, 2016

‘Defiantly Different: How India’s New Indies are Kindling an Indian Cinema Revolution - The World’s First Book on the Phenomenon’, guest editor Shashi Tharoor, Litro Magazine: Inaugural India Series, Arts and Culture, London, 1st October 2016

‘Viceroy’s House is very watchable – but its account of Indian independence is limited’, The Conversation, 3rd March, 2017

‘...And One Woman in Her Time Plays Many Parts’, Review of Edinburgh Fringe theatre production - Lady Shakespeare at Paradise in the Vault (Venue 29), Aug 17-20, 22-28, 2016

Review Article: The Cinema of Michael Winterbottom: Borders, Intimacy, Terror by Bruce Bennett, in Making Media Participatory, edited by Christina Spurgeon and Maura Edmond, Media International Australia, 154, February 2015

‘The Pitfalls in the Pendulum: Swinging between Script and Screen’, Litro Magazine, 25th March 2014

‘Imagining Isolation, Suspending Time and Space: Diving into the Depths of Almayer’s Folly’, Division of European Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh [website], March 2012




Current PhD Supervision

Aditi Tara Verma: 'Making the Cut: A Study on Editing Practice for Contemporary Hindi Cinema', co-supervised with Dr. Guy Westwell

Poorvi Gaur, ‘Planning films for ‘family planning’: Situating women in films and practices of Films Division of India (1952-80)’, co-supervised with Dr. Grazia Ingravalle

Danyal Abdullah, ‘Challenges to Integration in the Workplace for White Collar Transgender Workers in Pakistan’, co-supervised with Prof. Parvati Nair and Dr. Sadhvi Dar

Yuehan Liu, ‘Spaces in Asian Slow Cinema.’, co-supervised with Dr. Anat Pick and Dr. Kiki Yu

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