The politics of re-presentation: distribution and exhibition of Indian cinema in Turkey
National Centre for the Performing Arts Mumbai : Mārg Foundation
78 - 85
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The first Indian films arrived in Turkey in 1947, immediately after India gained Independence. These films had a limited run, as they could not compete with the highly popular Egyptian films. With ten new titles, a second roll of Indian films arrived between 1952 and 1954; these too were screened in second-run movie theatres showing Turkish as well as non-Hollywood films, and had only limited success.1 But this trend would soon intensify with the release of Award on February 15, 1955 in Istanbul, which attracted a large number of viewers and also appears to have contributed to the success of other Indian films in Turkey.2 The movie was the box-office hit of the season and was watched by several generations of Turkish filmgoers. Since there are no statistics available from the 1950s for annual admissions, it is difficult to estimate the number of viewers. However, newspaper advertisements reported that the film was watched by some 100,000 in the first week of its run. Awara was voted as the best movie of 1955 by the readers of the popular daily Milliyet, beating such Hollywood films as Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953) and Limelight (Charlie Chaplin, 1952) which had come to Turkey that year. The film's director and star Raj Kapoor ranked third on the list of best actors and its heroine Nargis was seventh on the list of the ten best actresses of a newspaper survey (Milliyet, September 12, 1955, p. 3).3 Thanks to this unprecedented success, many films from India were imported in the next few years, constituting 10 per cent of total film imports in 1959 and 1960. Between 1952 and 1962, 101 Indian movies were screened in Turkey (see table).