INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 135 (12/10/1945)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 135).


I. "SIR SHENTON THOMAS REUNITED WITH WIFE AFTER 3 AND A 1/2 YEARS OF JAPANESE INTERNMENT". At Calcutta airport, Sir Thomas greets his wife and members of his former staff after his release from a Japanese prisoner of war camp. II. "THE NEWS IN BRIEF. Hallet Hospital, Fauji Sevadarnis, Reception to POW's, Ganpati Festival". Governor of the United Provinces, Sir Hallet, opens a new Women's hospital. New training camp for Fauji Sevadarnis (women workers) opened at Fategarh in the United Provinces. Reception in Fysabad for Indian prisoners of war just returned from Germany and Italy. Ganpati - or Ganesh - Festival celebrated. III. "A.I.C.C. IN SESSION AT BOMBAY". Twenty-five thousand people make up the crowd at the open session of the All India Congress Committee at the Gowalya Tank Maidan, a park in Bombay. IV. "HONGKONG REOCCUPIED". As Allied soldiers pack the streets of Hongkong, Col. Tekunaga is arrested as a war criminal and the Japanese garrison are marched into prison camps, so recently occupied by Allied servicemen.



On 25 September, ‘two days after the historic session of the All-India Congress Committee in Bombay’, Ambalal J. Patel, Chief of the Central Camera Company, wrote a letter to the Bombay Sentinel complaining about the filming of this recent event. ‘I think that our congress belongs to all of us’, he wrote. ‘On that assumption I approached the General Secretary of the B.P.C.C. [Bombay Provincial Council Congress] to give me a chance to film the A.I.C.C. session, but I was told that the monopoly is given to Mr Motwane of the Chicago Radio’. Patel further complained that Motwane provided his loudspeakers in exchange for free transportation and advertising and explained that his cameraman had been thrown out of the event. ‘If this is the way the Congress is exploited’, Patel concluded, ‘and others are deprived of the ordinary right of filming such occasions, there is something shady about the people giving exclusive rights’ (Film India, November 1945, 55-57).

Film India wrote extensively on this subject in November 1945 and featured correspondence from all of the prominent film companies. Amongst those quoted were William J. Moylan, the head of Indian News Parade, who explained that ‘it is true that the monopoly had been given to Chicago Radio Company’ but added that they had been granted ‘the necessary permission to cover the event’ (Film India, November 1945, 55-57). The event itself, which ran from 21 to 24 September, was held at the Gowali Tank Maiden, where in August 1942 Congress had passed the ‘Quit India’ resolution. Peter Ward Fay argued that ‘the choice of site was deliberate. Politics must resume where it left off’ and this certainly appeared to be the case, as the committee reaffirmed the ‘Quit India’ pronouncement (Fay, 1995, 445). The committee also condemned the Viceroy’s latest proposals as ‘vague, inadequate and unsatisfactory’, while a further resolution began by stating that ‘After more than three years of wanton suppression by the British Government, the A.I.C.C. desires to convey its greetings and congratulations to the nation for the courage and endurance with which it withstood the fierce and violent onslaught of the British power, and its deep sympathy to all those who suffered during these years of military, police and ordinance rule’ (The Times, 24 September 1945, 4, Fay, 1995, 446). The General Secretary of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee argued that the fact that ‘the Government organisation – the News Parade’ filmed Congress should refute Ambalal Patel’s allegations of a monopoly (Film India, November 1945, 55-57).

The newsreel opens with coverage of Sir Shenton Thomas meeting his wife at Calcutta airport. The pair had been held captive in separate camps since the occupation of Singapore in February 1942. Upon his release, Shenton Thomas was flown to Chungking and then Calcutta on his way back to London, while his wife arrived in Calcutta, as shown here, on 11 September. The Times explained that ‘they had not met since a few days after the fall of Singapore’ (The Times, 12 September 1945, 3).



Indian News Parade 135 is framed by items illustrating the end of the war with Japan and continues the extensive coverage of the liberation of Singapore, which had featured in the previous two issues. These items emphasise the ‘Japanese atrocities’ and the hardships experienced by POWs. They have a vitriolic tone, most notably in the final item in which the commentator watches the ‘Emperor worshippers…marched into the filthy prison camps, so recently occupied by British, Canadian and Indian soldiers’. ‘Sullen and dejected’, he adds, ‘humiliated by the jeers of the people of Hong Kong, these self-appointed world conquerors can now have a taste of their own medicine’. The item again highlights the differences between the Allied and Japanese forces and emphasises in particular the apparent Chinese support for the returning British.

The contrast between the British and enemy forces is further highlighted within the ‘News in Brief’ items. The film shows Indian POWs, who had been ‘starved and tortured by Germans’ now enjoying tea (the ultimate signifier of British ‘civilisation’) and ‘re-established here in peace time India’. The item highlights British support and recognition for those Indians who fought in the war, and, as with the earlier footage of Lady Hallett opening a new women’s hospital, stresses Britain’s ongoing social welfare plans in post-war India. Also included in the ‘News in Brief’ item is the opening ceremony of a new training camp for Fauji Sevadarnis. The Fauji Sevadarnis, described in INP 108 as ‘honorary women workers pledged to the service of India’s soldier families’ are, Jude Cowan noted, ‘particularly celebrated in Indian News Parade’. Serving to boost the morale of Indian soldiers, their presence on film underlines the care administered for the returning soldiers and their families and the broader popular support for the war effort. However, Cowan notes that in this issue, their visual appearance – wearing a sari uniform and forming a distinctive guard of honour in a ‘semi-civilian variation on the military parade’ – is more important than the commentary, as she argues that the ‘women’s costumes and gestures endorse the authority of the dignitaries who walk underneath their formal arch’ (Cowan, 2001, 33).

For all this continued emphasis on the war, the most interesting item within this issue is the one which makes no mention of the hostilities, but instead focuses on the impending political changes within post-war India. The Bombay Provincial Council Committee used the presence of cameramen from Indian News Parade – which it described as a ‘Government organisation’ – to illustrate that Congress was open to all film companies, yet the decision of Indian News Parade to film this event is equally interesting. In featuring, and indeed noting the popular support for the event– as it talks of the ‘record-breaking crowds’ – Indian News Parade seemingly acknowledges the widespread public interest in Congress. However, aside from a brief reference to Congress’ plans ‘to preserve Indian unity and to win Independence’, the item avoids reference to the specific aims and resolutions passed. The anti-colonial rhetoric of Congress is entirely absent, while the footage is still framed by items celebrating the war effort. Within the context of items commemorating Allied victory over the Japanese and showing British and Indian co-operation in welfare work, the antagonistic anti-British sentiments of the event are almost entirely overlooked.

Tom Rice (March 2009)


Works Cited

Cowan, Jude, ‘”Women at Work for War… Women at Work for the things of Peace”: Representations of Women in the British Propaganda Newsreel in India in the Second World War, Indian News Parade’ (unpublished master’s thesis, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2001), accessed at Imperial War Museum.

Fay, Peter Ward, The Forgotten Army: India's Armed Struggle for Independence 1942-1945 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995).

‘A.I.C.C. Filming Monopoly: Did Motwane Get Congress Monopoly? Ambalal Patel Makes Grave Accusations’, Film India, November 1945, 55-57.

‘Arrivals at Calcutta’, The Times, 12 September 1945, 3.

‘Proposals For India: Congress Party's Reactions, Terms "Inadequate"’, The Times, 24 September 1945, 4.



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 135 (12/10/1945)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Film Gauge (Format):

Production Credits

Production Countries:
GB, India
Department of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)





Production Organisations