School of Media and Cultural Studies

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The School of Media and Cultural Studies, (SMCS) is a part of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, engaged in media teaching, film production, research and dissemination. The school was in the news recently because some of their students produced a documentary film Caste on the Menu Card which was not given permission to screen.[1][2]


The School of Media and Cultural Studies is an independent centre of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, engaged in media teaching, production, research and dissemination.

The SMCS has done pioneering work in media education in the country. The two-year master's degree in Media and Cultural Studies focuses on professional media practice and research.

Production is an important component of the school’s work. SMCS video documentaries have been screened at national and international film festivals and other forums.[citation needed] Educational institutions, activist groups, government and non-governmental organizations and campaigns use them.[citation needed] The Centre’s productions have been archived in many library collections, including the US Library of Congress.[citation needed] It has to its credit twenty two awards at national and international film festivals.[citation needed] The themes explored include gender, communal adfdffe, natural resource and environmental management, the city, media and identity. The focus has been on marginalized groups and issues concerning them.

The centre also has a digital archive of films, video footage and photographs. Faculty and students of the Institute access the collection. The database is also used by other agencies, visiting academics, activists and researchers.

Centre programmes include a biennial seminar, an artist/scholar in residence, fellowships to new practitioners and a Study India Programme.


SMCS films have won several awards. These include:[3]

So Heddan So Hoddan

  • On Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai's legacy
  • Directed by Prof. Anjali Monteiro and Prof. K.P. Jayasankar
  • Three silvers for Sound Design, Cinematography and Script at IDPA, 2011


  • Directed by Jagannathan Krishnan
  • Silver for the Best Documentary at IDPA, 2011

Before Dark

  • Directed by Ajay T.G.
  • Second best film at Jeevika Film Festival, 2011

Do Din ka Mela

  • Directed by Prof. Anjali Monteiro and Prof. K.P Jayasankar
  • Indian Documentary Producers Association (IDPA) Gold for Best Non Fiction Script and Certificate of Merit for Best Documentary 2009
  • Commendation of the Jury, Intangible Culture Category, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Film Festival, London, 2011

There are no Borders Here

  • Directors: Shilpi Gulati, Parool Sharma, Ram Krishna Ranjan
  • First prize in the non fiction category at I P College International Students Film Festival, New Delhi, 2010.

Inside Out

  • Directed by Shilpi Gulati and Divya Cowasji
  • Second prize in the non fiction category at I P College International Students Film Festival, New Delhi, 2011
  • IDPA Silver for best student non-fiction film, 2011
  • Special Jury Award, Script International Film Festival 2012

352, Remembering Emergency

  • Directed by Students of SMCS - Ashwini Falnikar, Nikhil Titus, Nandita Thomas, Sanjay Singh won the Gold for the best student non-fiction film at the IDPA awards for 2009 announced in October 2010. It also won the ACT-UCP Sarnet award for the best student film under 20 minutes on a Human Rights issue at Abhivyakti 2010, the 9th Bihar Low Cost Video Festival in May 2010.

Where's Kishore

  • Directed by Students of SMCS - Shaira S. Shetty, Sneha Anand, Nikhil T. Titus


  • Best Short Film Award at the Kashish International Queer Film Festival, Mumbai, India April, 2010 and Best Documentary Award at the SOMS National Film Festival, Kochi, India 2009

Our Family

  • Indian Documentary Producers' Association Awards (4 awards):
  • Gold for Best Script; Gold for Best Sound Design; Silver for Best Editing and Certificate of Merit Best Documentary
  • Mumbai, India May 2008, Mumbai International Film Festival,Special Mention of the Jury
  • Mumbai, India February 2008, Signs 2007, Special Mention of the Jury, Thiruvananthapuram, India October 2007


  • Best documentary Prize, IV Festival Internacional del Documental Tres Continentes (IV Three Continents International Documentary Festival, Venezuela 2005
  • Indian Documentary Producers Association Awards 2005: The First Technical Award for Sound Design and the Second Technical Award for Cinematography. Music for the film was by L. Vaidyanathan.


  • Second Prize, New Delhi Video Forum, 2001.

YCP 1997

  • Certificate of Merit, Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) 1998
  • Jury’s Award for Best Innovation, Astra Festival of Anthropological Documentary Film, Sibiu, Romania, 1998.

Kahankar: Ahankar

  • Jury's Special Mention at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), 1996.
  • Odhni- A Collective Exploration of Our Selves, Our Bodies, Second Prize, Health and Population category, International Video Festival on Science, Society and Development, September, 1995, Thiruvananthapuram.

Identity- The Construction of Selfhood

  • Prix Futura Berlin 1995, Asia Prize for the best Asian entry, TV documentary section of the Prix Futura Berlin 1995- International Radio and Television Festival;
  • Second Prize, Education and Literacy category, International Video Festival on Science, Society and Development, September, 1995, Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The Plot Thickens..., First Prize and the award for Individual Technical Excellence in Editing, Sixth UGC Country-wide Classroom Video Festival, 1993, Calcutta.

From the Diary of a Genetic Counsellor

  • Best Programme Award, Open/General category, Fifth UGC Country-wide Classroom Video Festival, 1992, Hyderabad.

MA Media and Cultural Studies[edit]

The M.A. in Media and Cultural Studies aims at honing skills of media production and research. The programme will impart training in video production, including direction, research, scripting, editing, camera and sound. It also has a strong research focus. Students produce documentaries and short films. The programme culminates in the production of a documentary and a research term paper.

The programme also teaches basic skills in community radio, graphics and web design. The students have access to the facilities and the visual archive of the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies ( The teachers of the course include CMCS and TISS faculty as well as professionals.

Students of the course will be equipped to work in the areas of media and television production, independent media practice, media education, advocacy and research. The potential employers include NGOs, television production houses, educational and research institutions and governmental agencies.

M.Phil/Ph.D in Media and Cultural Studies[edit]

The school has doctoral students working in the area of Media and Cultural studies. Admission to these programmes is centralized The broad list of research interest of research supervisors in the Centre for Media & Cultural Studies are: Affect and Ideology, Cultural Studies, Documentary film, Hermeneutics, Semiology, Critical theory, Media audience reception studies, Censorship, New media, Film and television studies, Decentralisation, local governance and gender, Political economy of media, Participatory communication and development


The SMCS undertakes research in spheres, including film and television, new media and studies of the nation state, cultural nationalist ideologies and movements of religious ‘revival’.

Digital Archive[edit]

SMCS has a digital archive of films, video footage and photographs. It has a collection of over 2500 films.

The focus areas of the archive are:

  • Development, including issues of globalization, marginalized groups, environment, disasters, movements,
  • Ethnographic film from India and other countries[4]

The collection can be accessed through a customized on-line data base, which is available within TISS through the Intranet for researchers, students and faculty.


  1. ^ "Defying Directive, Students Screen Beef Documentary at Delhi's JNU". Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  2. ^ "TISS documentary on beef ban blocked by Films Division - Mumbai Mirror -". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  3. ^ "Awards". Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Do Din Ka Mela- A new film on Murra Lala and Kanji Rana, set in Kutch

Our Family




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