INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 163 (26/4/1946)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 163).


I. "DEWAS SENIOR CELEBRATES VICTORY ON RULER'S VICTORY" Maharajah of Dewas presides at his own Durbar accompanied by the nobles and dignitaries of the state, and by his heir apparent, the Yuvaraja, who receives Atar Pan from his father. Scenes of traditional court life of princely India are said to survive unchanged in a rapidly changing world, although commentary states that "the Princes will play a progressive role in helping the destiny of our great country".

II. "GIANT DAM PROJECT FOR THE MAHANADI VALLEY" Sir William Hawthorne-Lewis, Governor of Orissa, lays foundation stone "of one of the three mighty dams which will harness the destructive waters of the Mahanadi River". Detailed account read out of the "Mahanadi Valley Multi-Purpose Development Scheme", which notes the future construction of three dams at Hirakud, Tikarparha and Naraj. Hirakud is the first and largest to be constructed. Commentary notes that Dam's purpose "to harness nature and to turn the poverty-stricken area into a land of plenty". Sir William views a model of the project which, in Lord Wavell's words, "is for transforming that headstrong giant, the Mahanadi, into a well-behaved benefactor of a poor and deserving Province".

III. "ANNUAL SESSION OF THE FEDERATION OF INDIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE" The nineteenth session in Delhi is attended by the industrialists G D Birla, Sir Badridas Goenka, Sir Shri Ram, Sir Padampet Singhania and A D Shroff of Tata with aim of safeguarding India's economic interests. Shroff moved resolution "suggesting that Indian political leaders in their discussions with the Cabinet Mission should consult a body like the Federation before committing themselves to any treaty". The session also discussed India's sterling balances and the position of Indians in South Africa.

IV. "NEW RULER INSTALLED IN COCHIN" Installation Durbar of His Highness Sree Kerala Varma at Ernakulam, capital of Cochin. Varma is accompanied by State officials including the Dewan Sir George Boag and greets the Resident of the Madras. The ruler is led to the Silver Chair, and the Resident performs traditional ceremonies and conveys a message from the Crown representative. "Many prominent citizens of Cochin were present on this historic occasion, including the religious leaders of many sects." They later "take leave of the Dewan Sir George Boag". The commentary illustrates political paradox of the Raj. "Cochin is one of the most progressive States in princely India and the New Ruler is determined that during his reign the policy of the past will continue".

V. "MUSLIM LEAGUE LEGISLATORS CONVENTION AT DELHI" Convention aimed to press demand for a separate Muslim state and was attended by Sirdar Aurangzeb Khan (Northwest Frontier Province), Sirdar Shaukat Hyat Khan (Punjab) and Mr Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar (Bombay). Commentary states that "it was claimed that this Convention was the Constituent Assembly of India's Mussulmans" and was attended by Muslim legislators such as Sir Bandulla from Assam and the Premier of Sind Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah. "Important guests were Giani Kartar Singh and other Sikh leaders" and the convention began with Jinnah's arrival as President of the Muslim League. Commentary notes that "in India it was time for decision and the League was sparing no effort to mobilise all Muslims behind the demand for Pakistan".

VI. "CABINET MISSION ENTERS CRUCIAL PHASE" The Viceroy's House is scene to historic talks between the Cabinet Mission and Leaders. Jinnah arrives as sole spokesman of All India Muslim League and is shown into conference room. Pressmen gathered outside eagerly study Jinnah's expression on his departure after long interview to gauge an idea of how his demand for Pakistan had been taken within a political settlement. Master Tara Singh and Giani Kartar Singh, prominent leaders of the Akali Party presented the Sikh community views. Sirdar Baldev Singh, an influential Sikh leader of the Punjab has a separate interview. Commentary notes the Sikh demand for separate state if Pakistan is conceded. Also present was the Scheduled Caste leader - Doctor Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Commentary notes these interviews are intended "to get a comprehensive idea of the currents and undercurrents of India's political world".


Summary: film not viewed; synopses based on commentary sheets.



Indian News Parade 163 was the final issue produced by Information Films of India. A meeting of the Congress-dominated Central Assembly on 12 March 1946 had criticised the IFI – for its productions and its ‘extravagant expenditure’ – and enforced a cut in their budget of Rs. 93 lakhs (Indian Information, 1 April 1946, 372). Three days later, the newsreel halved its production and at the end of the month the IFI was forced to shut down. The Department of Information and Arts informed the Ministry of Information on 20 April that all supplies of Indian News Parade newsreels would be discontinued on 1 May 1946 (L/I/1/692).

However, this did not mark the end of Indian News Parade. Ambalal J. Patel, the owner of Central Cine Corporation, took over the Indian News Parade, buying its equipment and employing most of its staff, including William J. Moylan (Garga, 2007, 115). This was not an altogether popular move. ‘The very emblem of the Indian News Parade now taken over by the Central Cine Corporation has most unhappy and unforgettable memories behind it’, wrote The Journal of the Film Industry in July 1946, ‘both to the Exhibitor and Cinegoer alike’. ‘To the exhibitor’, it continued, ‘it is the spoilt child of the D.I.R.–44 –A [the Defence of India Rule 44-A, which compelled theatres to show government approved films and pay a rental for them] and to the cinegoer it has been an eyesore for the past three years. To both it has been a taxation and a worry’. The journal added that as the Central Cine Corporation took over Indian News Parade with ‘goodwill’  from the Government of India, ‘it is not surprising that the exhibitors and the public could not take kindly to it’. It further argued that despite assurances that the new proprietors ‘intended to make the Indian News Parade really Indian’, the public doubted whether this was possible, particularly after an item appeared under the heading “Paris Fashions”. The journal did though acknowledge that ‘there has been an appreciable change for the better in the subjects chosen’, which it hoped would encourage producers ‘to take note of the changing times and to portray our country and our society in their true colours’ (The Journal of the Film Industry, July 1946, 5).

These criticisms, and the ultimate failure of this latest incarnation of INP, which closed later in 1946, highlight the popular distaste for Indian News Parade. This can largely be attributed to the newsreel’s direct association with the Government of India and its blatant pro-war stance, yet INP did shift in its coverage after the war. For example, Philip Woods argued that ‘its content became more political as it covered the various attempts to find a solution to India’s demand for independence’ and this is certainly evident in this final issue, which contains footage of the Muslim League Legislators’ Convention and concludes with the talks between Indian Political leaders and members of the Cabinet Mission.

The Muslim League Legislators’ Convention was held from 7-9 April. The Timesargued that the Muslim League staged it as a ‘demonstration in strength on the occasion of the Cabinet Mission’s visit’ and historian Ayesha Jalal has more recently argued that ‘its purpose was not to discuss the practicalities of Pakistan; it was simply to demonstrate that Muslim opinion was solidly behind its spokesman [Jinnah]’ (The Times, 8 April 1946, 4 and Jalal, 1994, 182). The convention, which followed the League’s successes in the recent election, also formalised the League’s proposals as it resolved to constitute the two Muslim majority wings of India into ‘a sovereign independent state of Pakistan’ (Singh, 2003, 26). Jinnah had earlier met with the Cabinet Mission, as shown in the final item, for three hours on 4 April to discuss his plans for ‘a viable Pakistan’ (The Times, 5 August 1946, 3). Cripps recognised both the intransigence of the parties and the necessity to achieve a resolution, when he wrote in his dairy shortly after this meeting; ‘We can’t leave this country without a settlement of some kind. If we did there would be bloodshed and chaos within a few weeks’ (Clarke, 2008, 434). 



Indian News Parade 163 marks the end of the government’s involvement with the newsreel, and some aspects – such as items showing the pageantry of the Princely States, a development scheme introduced by the British, and the direct quotes from Wavell and other British figures – may appear symptomatic of much of the newsreel’s output, particularly in the eyes of its many critics. However, this final issue also addresses and records a moment of huge political importance within India. The newsreel was widely derided and despised by many cinemagoers, journalists, and perhaps most importantly the leaders of the interim government, but this final issue also indicates the newsreel’s value now, in the words of B.D. Garga, as ‘”priceless relics” of our past history’. Garga argues that the demise of Indian News Parade ‘deprived the people of the visual record of one of the most momentous events in Indian history – the liquidation of the British Empire’ (Garga, 2007, 115).  Philip Woods further argued that the revival of Information Films of India two months after independence was, in part, a response to the shortage of newsreel film of recent momentous national events (Woods, 2000, 107).

This final issue begins with footage of the ‘traditional court life of princely India’, highlighting ‘ancient customs’ and noting that ‘the pattern remains unchanged in a rapidly changing world’. Philip Woods noted that ‘whenever the princely states appeared on western newsreels there was a temptation to portray them as exotic anachronisms’. This may initially appear to be the case here, yet Woods argued that, with the princely states playing a vital part in the war, ‘Indian News Parade went out of its way to choose the more progressive states and to highlight their modernity’ (Woods, 2000, 104). Certainly the conclusion to this item emphasises the role of the Princes in an independent India. ‘While still following the traditions and customs of the past’, the commentator states, ‘the Princes will play a progressive role in helping the destiny of our great country’. The fourth item similarly highlights the ‘traditional ceremonies’ within Cochin, before explaining that this ‘is one of the most progressive states in Princely India and the new ruler is determined that during his reign the policy of the past will continue’. The item offers the reassurance of continuity – at a point when the Indian News Parade itself was ending – and again highlights the role of the Princes in the move towards independence. Leaders of the Chambers of Princes, headed by the Nawab of Bhopal, had met with the Cabinet Mission on 2 April to discuss the potential status of the States in a free India and also to ascertain what the British intended to do about its existing treaty obligations to defend and protect their states against foreign enemies (The Times, 3 April 1946, 3). Stanley Wolpert noted that Attlee, Pethwick-Lawrence and Cripps had agreed that all treaties with the states would lapse after independence, but they were not ‘quite ready yet to inform the princes of this decision and its full implications’ (Wolpert, 2006, 102).

The film’s final two items directly address the negotiations and preparations for independence. First, in the coverage of the Muslim League Legislators’ Convention, the commentator outlines ‘their demand for a separate Muslim State’, and highlights the apparent unity within the Muslim community – ‘Muslim legislators from all over India were there’. The commentator concludes that ‘in India it was time for decision and the League was sparing no effort to mobilise all Muslims behind the demand for Pakistan’. The newsreel thus recognises and addresses the impending changes, and then highlights, in what it recognises as ‘historic talks’, the role of the Cabinet Mission in reaching this decision and facilitating this change. Yet, while the newsreel now acknowledges these impending changes, its close association with the colonial administration ensured that it would not be on hand to record them.

Tom Rice (March 2009)


Works Cited

Clarke, Peter, The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: The Demise of a Superpower, 1944-1947 (London: Penguin, 2008).

Garga, B.D., From Raj to Swaraj: The Non-Fiction Film In India (New Delhi: Penguin, 2007).

Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 311.

Indian Information, 1 April 1946, 372.

‘Indian News Parade and D.I.R. – 44A’, The Journal of the Film Industry, July 1946, 5-6.

‘Note from Government of India to Ministry of Information, 20 April 1946’, accessed at British Library, Films-India, L/I/1/692.

Singh, Nagendra K., Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (New Delhi: Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., 2003).

‘Indian Princes See Mission: The States' Future’, The Times, 3 April 1946, 3.

‘Pakistan In A Free India Muslim Case Heard’, The Times, 5 April 1946, 3.

‘Muslim League Rally Mr. Jinnah On His Talks: A Fully Sovereign Pakistan’, The Times, 8 April 1946, 4.

Wolpert, Stanley, Shameful Fight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

Woods, Philip, ‘”Chapattis by Parachute”: The Use of Newsreels in British Propaganda in India in the Second World War’, Journal of South Asian Studies, 23:2 (2000), 89-110.

See also:

‘India’s Constitutional Question – The Cabinet Mission Plan 1946’, accessed on 2 April 2009 at



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 163 (26/4/1946)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
8 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
729 ft

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