This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 9).


I. INDIA'S LAST TRIBUTE TO SIR SIKANDAR HYAT KHAN - Showing the funeral procession of Punjab's late Premier.

I. SIR SIKANDAR HYAT KHAN - India mourns the great loss of Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan, one of her noblest sons, premier of the Punjab and a soldier-statesman of India. His Excellency Sir Bertrand Glancy, Governor of Punjab, pays his last homage to a valued friend and trusted collaborator. Mourners follow the bier as it passes through the hall. Full Military Honours are accorded to the Punjab's soldier-premier. Respected and admired by all, irrespective of caste, creed or community Sir Sikandar's record of service to India can hardly be paralleled. As a friend and guide to India's fighting sons, Sir Sikandar paid many visits to the Middle East. Sir Sikandar had conferred with Mr Churchill and Field Marshal Wavell when the British Premier visited the Middle East to discuss important measures for the conduct of war on that front. Apart from his impressive record of public service Sir Sikandar's personal popularity was immense, and his enthusiasm for sports helped not a little to inspire the young of India to healthy recreation. His greatest contribution to India's welfare was the fostering of communal harmony and concord. The funeral procession approaches its journey's end, the Badshahi Mosque where Sir Sikandar's remains were interred. India will never forget Sir Sikandar. We know that Sir Sikandar's life will inspire the leaders and the people of India to bring to fruition a great communal unity. May his soul rest in peace.

II. ALL INDIA RADICAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY - Showing conference attended by over 600 delegates, presided by Mr M N Roy, the founder.

II. ALL INDIA RADICAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY - In Lucknow the Radical Democratic Party which was formerly the league of Radical Congressmen met recently under the leadership of Mr M N Roy its founder. Over 600 delegates from all over India attended the conference. Since its inception two years ago, the Radical Democratic Party has done valuable work among the working classes to create the will to resist the fascist aggression. Mr Manabendranath Roy, the life and soul of the party, is an extraordinary figure in Indian politics. An active revolutionary all his life, he spent many years in exile and his activities ranged very widely indeed, covering Mexico, China and Russia where he was on the executive of the Communist International during the life time of Lenin. Almost alone among the leftists, Mr Roy had clearly realised that this is a people's war, even before Russia was invaded. The Party has all along taken the line that India's whole future depends upon the outcome of this war, a people's war against Fascist dictatorship, and that all efforts should be concentrated on defeating aggressors.

III. HOME FOR POLISH CHILDREN - Showing pictures of Polish refugee children in their new home at Jannagar.

III. HOME FOR POLISH CHILDREN - A haven of peace in a war torn world, is this camp at Balachadi, near Jamnagar, where Polish children refugees from the land of their birth have found a home. Children of all ages - from tiny tots who have just learned to walk to grown up boys and girls. All are well cared for under the watchful guidance of Madam Banasinska, Delegate of the Polish Ministry of Social Welfare for Polish Children in India, and Mrs Clarke, the Liaison Officer. Although far away from home, the children are one big, happy family here in India, and are brought up according to their own national customs and ideals. Apart from their usual schooling they are taught many useful activities to make them into useful citizens. They have left suffering behind them, and in India there is a friendly welcome for them. Their own cultural traditions are not forgotten and they dance traditional Polish folk dances in picturesque costumes for Movietone's cameramen. Any little help we can give to these children to make them happy is small recompense for what Poland is enduring in the fight for freedom.

IV. PHYSICAL CULTURE - Showing a demonstration by the pupils of the Byranje Jejeebhey Institute, Bombay, at their Annual Sports.

IV. PHYSICAL CULTURE - At their Annual Sports, the boys of the Byranje Jejeebhoy Institute in Bombay gave an excellent demonstration showing the right type of training to harden nerves and muscles. The hurdle race - an earnest of what is to come. They will clear bigger and more difficult hurdles in life when they grow up with the same grace and agility. Not afraid of rough and tumble; diving into the sack to scramble for the hidden shoe. The mass drill, the spirit of the war time has caught the boys too. One, two, one, two - invaluable training for acquiring discipline and collective action. These boys will grow into sturdy youths to throw themselves into any job, no matter what it may be, and whether unfortunately it happens to be protection of their country against aggression or organising civilian defences. The march past, boys from seven to sixteen - smart and well disciplined - the future defenders of India and Nation builders.

V. ALL INDIA HINDU STUDENTS' FEDERATION - Showing the annual session of the Hindu Mahasabha and the All India Hindu Students' Federation at Cawnpore, attended by Dr Moonje and Mr Savarkar.

V. ALL INDIA HINDU STUDENTS' FEDERATION - Kanpur was the scene of the annual session of the Hindu Mahasabha as well as the All India Hindu Students' Federation. Militarisation of the Hindu Community at this critical time of the country featured very prominently in the discussions. Dr Moonje urged the Hindu students to acquire military training and become so strong as to be able to retaliate any attempts against the integrity of India. Mr Savarkar also vigorously appealed to the Hindus to respond intensely to the Hindu Militarisation Movement.

VI. CALCUTTA AIR RAIDS - Showing first pictures of Japanese Air Raids over Calcutta.

VI. CALCUTTA AIR RAID - Calcutta - the first city of India - is carrying on despite the air raids. The people of Calcutta now know what Japanese promised really mean, the promise that the Japanese are the friends of India - that they mean no harm to its people. These Movietone pictures of the city after the air raids show that Calcutta was fully prepared for the attack and that Calcutta can take it too, just as well perhaps as Malta, London, Birmingham, and Coventry. Splinter damage - glass panes, doors and windows of the upper floors blown off by blast. As can be seen from these pictures the damages were really not as extensive as apprehended. Mark the small size of the crater made by an exploded bomb. Apparently only light bombs had been used, hardly the type of bomb to be used for military objectives. Bombing was quite indiscriminate. Many of the bombs fell wide off the mark, outside the city limits, but some hit the residential areas causing senseless destruction to civilian property, and there were some casualties. Information regarding the oncoming planes had been received well in advance and the alert had been given fully one hour before enemy planes were actually sighted over the city on the first night of the raids. The morning after - overhead electrical wires are quickly repaired. Craters filled up, splinter damage made good. There is no need to drop the cricket matches on the Maidan. The city resumes normal life - traffic running as usual. Bengal has been known for its daring the courage in the past, and Calcutta is enhancing that fine record by remaining cool and unperturbed in the face of air attacks. Although some of the more nervous citizens left the city, the great majority remained firm and calm in the face of their first air attacks.


Summary: Commentary sheet includes final item not on IWM copy of this film: "VII. DESERT PATROL - Showing E-Boats on desert patrol [sic]" - which would have made this issue 1092 ft long (12 minutes).



On 24 February 1943 a copy of Indian Movietone News 9 was screened to the Ministry of Information in London. This was part of a newly established newsreel which was ‘managed for Government as a commercial venture by the Twentieth Century Fox Corporation’ who were ‘entirely responsible for production and distribution’. The Ministry had hoped that this newsreel would cater specifically for audiences in India (‘Final Plan for Immediate Establishment of an Indian Vernacular Newsreel’, INF 1/569). Yet, the Ministry also intended to show some of this Indian footage in Britain and the rest of the world. As such, C.B. Newbery, the managing director of Twentieth Century Fox in India, was instructed to send mute copies of the Indian portions of this fortnightly newsreel to London, Cairo and New York, so that they could use any appropriate material (Woods, 2000, 98).

Indian Movietone News 9 was the first of the series viewed by the Ministry and was widely criticised. Mr Burton Leach deemed it ‘very disappointing’ and added that ‘I find it difficult to believe that it is impossible to produce newsreels of rather more interest than these in India’. On viewing the newsreel, Frank Chisnell complained that ‘personally I feel that we have had very poor propaganda films from India ever since Alexander Shaw returned and it is a pity there has apparently been nobody capable of taking his place’ (INF 1/569). Film historian Philip Woods suggested that the criticisms from London were fuelled in part by the ‘apparent foot-dragging of the government of India and the rumoured obstructiveness of the Indian Army to newsreel cameramen and war correspondents’ (Woods, 2000, 98).

The newsreel was also heavily criticised in India, in particular for its portrayal of Polish refugees. Film India, the biggest selling film magazine in India, which was often noted for its anti-British sentiments, published a lengthy article about this item in February 1943 under the title ‘Charity does not begin at home!’ ‘In that Indian Movietone newsreel’, the article argued, ‘we are also shown lovely well-dressed Polish boys and girls dancing their folk dances and getting all they want, of course at our expense’. The criticisms were not directed at the Polish children as such, but rather at the emphasis on ‘foreign’ hospitality when many in India were living in poverty. ‘While we don’t grudge the good fortune to those tiny Polish tots who have found a peaceful home in our country’, the article explained, ‘we wish to know from those who fritter away this charity whether our own people are to die from want and starvation without even an attempt being made to save them’ (Film India, February 1943, 19).

Film India’s criticisms were directed not only at the Government, but also at the newsreel for failing to recognise and highlight the problems within India. A caption beneath a picture of a poor Indian family asked ‘And who should be proud of this? Here are some representing our starving millions in India, who eat in the streets, while no newsreelman notices even their existence’. The article complained about the lack of a ‘film propaganda which we ourselves so richly deserve’ and further suggested that this apparent preference for Polish refugees was racially motivated. ‘And can the white-skinned Polish children go to bed in burning sands just as these sons of the soil do?’ the magazine asked, before concluding that ‘to provide comfortable sanctuaries to foreign refugees, India has to turn her own out on the streets’ (Film India, February 1943, 19).

The experiences of Polish refugees in India were widely reported both within the newsreel – for example in issue 19 and in Indian News Parade 62 and 81 – and within Government literature. Indian Information reported in January 1943 that ‘India, famed for its hospitality, is now the refuge of thousands of helpless Polish women and children’ and offered a lengthy article in April reporting that Polish children, seeking bread, had proclaimed ‘we want to go to India please’. ‘India is famed for its charity’, the article noted, before stating that ‘India has agreed to give refuge to 6,000 Polish children, mostly orphans, and to 5,000 Polish women and children and men of over military age’ (Indian Information, 15 January 1943, 89, 1 April 1943, 306). 



Indian Movietone News 9 is the earliest Indian-produced newsreel within the collection, and while this copy is mute and contains titles in Hindi and Urdu, it nonetheless offers a valuable early example of the Government’s attempt to create a newsreel specifically for Indian audiences. Its establishment indicated the need and demand for propaganda, specific to, and produced in, India, but its reception indicates the opposition and criticism that it faced from the outset both in England and India.

The newsreel opens with footage of the funeral procession of Sir Sikandar Hyat Khan, who is introduced as a ‘trusted friend and valued collaborator’ to Britain. He is depicted sitting between Churchill and Wavell, while the commentator notes his support for the War. The item is symptomatic of much of the newsreel’s output, as it depicts a civil event in India – each newsreel was required to contain approximately 50% civil material – but relates this through the commentary directly to both Britain and the War.

Indeed, Britain’s attempt to generate support for the War within India unites all of the items here. This is evident in the coverage of the All India Hindu Students’ Federation, over which the commentator emphasises the ‘Hindu Militarisation Movement’ and notes the need for ‘Hindu students to acquire military training’. Even the footage of an annual school sports day – ‘Physical Culture’ – highlights the military disciplines practised within the school. The event, with organised pageantry akin to Empire Day and sports events such as the sack race, has a distinct British identity and is presented in a military context. The commentator explains that the boys march past ‘from seven to sixteen – smart and well disciplined – the future defenders of India and Nation builders’.

The item refers to the ‘defenders of India’ and throughout, the newsreel presents the War as a direct threat to India. The final item contains footage of the Japanese air raids on Calcutta, and it both exaggerates the destruction within the city and downplays the panic amongst the citizens. First, the commentator aligns the Indians with the other allies, explaining that ‘Calcutta can take it too, just as well perhaps as Malta, London, Birmingham and Coventry’, before stating that ‘the great majority remained firm and calm in the face of their first air attacks’. The commentator then claims that ‘the damages were really not as extensive as apprehended’, crediting this to the British intelligence services as ‘information regarding the oncoming planes had been received well in advance’. The item follows a similar form to war coverage from England, both in its defiant message (‘Calcutta can take it’) and in its subsequent emphasis on the continuation of normal city life, represented here by a cricket match.

The footage of Calcutta attempts to generate support for the War, not by outlining any threat to the Empire, but rather by illustrating its direct impact on India. The second item within the newsreel similarly emphasises the importance of victory for ‘India’s future’. It endorses the Radical Democratic Party, even though the party’s support for the War was based entirely on its desire for Indian independence. ‘The party has all along taken the line that India’s whole future depends upon the outcome of this war, a people’s war against Fascist dictatorship’, the commentary explains, ‘and that all efforts should be concentrated on defeating aggressors’. Furthermore, it now celebrates Manabendra Neth Roy, a nationalist imprisoned by British authorities for six years in the 1930s and described here as an ‘active revolutionary’. The British mistrust for Roy was still evident in 1943, as Reginald Maxwell, a British Home Member of the Government of India wrote in a confidential note ‘[W]e don’t trust him [Roy]… He is still an admirer of Russia, and the long range objective of his party is the creation of a Socialist State in India’ (Roy, 1997, 105). Yet the newsreel, which even includes communist symbols on the item’s title screen, willingly promotes this movement as an endorsement of the British war effort. It does not explicitly reveal through the commentary the nationalist aims of the party, but this is evident from the banners displayed prominently within the footage. One centrally-framed banner reads ‘[T]he same arm that fights Fascism today SHALL free India tomorrow’, and adds in a corner ‘Win this war to win freedom’.

The footage of Polish refugees was evidently intended to highlight the welfare work of the British, and to generate support for the war effort by illustrating the inherent differences between the British and the Germans. Yet, in doing this, the item presents India as a ‘haven’ and depicts the Polish children eating bread in front of the audience as they turn to face the camera. Film India’s objections illustrate a dissatisfaction with both the Government’s response to famine in India, but also more specifically with the failure of film to acknowledge and address this problem. These objections were also fuelled, at least in part, by the magazine’s anti-British stance, and it is evident that Film India already recognised Indian Movietone News not as a newsreel for the Indian people but as a tool for the British Government.

Tom Rice (January 2009)


Works Cited

‘British Newsreels for Overseas Countries. India’, July 1942-September 1943, accessed at The National Archives (INF 1/569).

‘Charity Does Not Begin at Home’, Film India, February 1943, 19.

‘Polish Refugees in India’, Indian Information, 15 January 1943, 89.

‘Polish Refugee Children in India’, Indian Information, 1 April 1943, 306-307.

Roy, Samaren, M.N. Roy: A Political Biography (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1997).

Sargent, Paul, ‘Indian News Parade: The First Indian Newsreel’, IWM Review, No. 12 (1999), 29-35.

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.



Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
9 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
830 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