Nainsukh of Guler was an eighteenth-century miniature painter from the hills of Northern India. With his patron, the prince Balwant Singh of Jasrota, this master artist created some of the most refined, delicate works of Indian painting, which seem to have been, in the words of art historian B.N. Goswamy, not painted as much as breathed upon paper.

In 2010, Swiss art historian Eberhard Fischer produced a film titled Nainsukh, an experimental biopic based on Goswamy’s writings on the Guler master. Directed by Amit Dutta, this art-historically rigorous, formally playful screen biography brought the painter’s works to life, offering vivid reimaginations of the circumstances of their making.

Nainsukh, the Film: Still Lives, Moving Images delves into this enchanting, singular work located at the confluence of art and film history. With detailed contextual information, the book accompanies the reader through the world of Nainsukh, illuminating the themes, style and genealogy of one of the most sublime cinematic creations of the twenty-first century.



Museum Rietberg Shop (international shipping)

Amazon India (India only)



Since the mid-2000s, Indian experimental filmmaker Amit Dutta has been producing work that defies easy categorization. His sensual, stimulating films are as removed from national mainstream cinema(s) as from the international arthouse tradition. They are, instead, incarnations of a personal quest, a lifelong project of research and self-cultivation. They propose newer forms of cinematographic expression through their constant, ongoing dialogue with ancient Indian artistic thought. Taken together, these films constitute a cinema of aesthetic introspection. Despite universal acclaim, including awards and retrospectives across the world, critical commentary on Dutta’s oeuvre has remained scarce.

Modernism by Other Means is the first book-length consideration of the output of one of the most compelling film practitioners active today. Through close-grained critical analysis of each of his films, it examines how Dutta’s work strives towards an authentic conception of modernism, one that bypasses Eurocentric rites of passage, inviting us to reframe our ideas of what being modern in art means.



Hardcover book (India only)

Hardcover book (international)

Kindle e-book (international)

PDF e-book (international)



“A magnificent work, as complete as it is precise, analyzing in depth each of Amit Dutta’s films, intended to be a reference. Congratulations to Srikanth Srinivasan and his publisher, Lightcube. I would like every contemporary experimental filmmaker to find their Srikanth!”

Dr. Nicole Brenez, Professor at the Sorbonne Nouvelle

Srikanth Srinivasan’s book on Amit Dutta is an invaluable foundational text for anyone wanting to explore the rich contours of Indian experimental film and is also an indispensable authorial study that opens up a far reaching interrogation and critical awareness of modernity and its relationship with contemporary filmmaking in India today.

– Dr. Omar Ahmed, UK-based Film Scholar and Curator

Amit Dutta might possibly be my favorite filmmaker to have emerged in the 21st century. His mix of playfulness, inquisitiveness, respect for his subjects, his devotion to numerous forms of beauty—all make him a rare and deep talent… I recommend the e-book [of Modernism by Other Means], which is inexpensive, and which is proving to be a really valuable document on a great body of work.”

– Zach Campbell, Independent Scholar

“Modernism by Other Means is structured chronologically, but Srinivasan’s prose flows between influences, memories, and Dutta’s visions of the future of his cinema, invoking Dutta’s style and perspective; he makes the proposition that we are reading about a filmmaker and artist who matters.

– Soham Gadre, Los Angeles Review of Books

With rugged clarity and verve, Srinivasan walks us through an extensive portrait of an elastic artist… Modernism by Other Means is nothing short of an essential aid not only in contextualizing Dutta’s films, but in some cases understanding the absolute basics of what each film communicates, the existing register it is working within or developing upon.”

– Maximilien Luc Proctorphotogénie

Helping the director return to cultural circulation is already a remarkable merit for the book dedicated to his work, but not being involved in the cultural economy gives value to both it and Amit Dutta’s films.

– Maksim KarpitskyCineticle

Dutta’s interests include architecture, as seen in the four-hour documentary Finished/Unfinished (2015), where he obsesses on every minute detail of an eighth-century rock-cut temple complex at Masrur in the Himalayas. Srinivasan’s book, too, is a manifestation of such rigorous study and examination.”

Arun A.K.The Art Newspaper


4 Responses to “Books”

  1. Mehul Devkala Says:

    Dear Srikanth,
    Received my copy today. Your personalised handwritten message came as a real surprise. Thanks for such a warm gesture !!
    Looking forward to read your well designed book.

    Best wishes,
    Mehul Devkala


    1. Dear Mehul,

      My pleasure, wish you a pleasant reading once again!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Priya Sundaravalli Says:

    Hello Srikanth,
    This is Priya Sundaravalli from Auroville. I have a copy of your book which I am thoroughly enjoying reading. Yes, thank you for the personal note.

    Please let me know if there is any way to purchase or rent Amit Dutta’s movies.

    I find his films deepmy inspiring for my own approach to creating.

    Thank you for your scholarship.

    Priya Sundaravalli


    1. Hi Priya,

      Thank you very much for your note and your kind words.

      I believe Dutta’s films are still streaming on Mubi, not entirely sure about that. Apart from that, you can rent his films at his Vimeo page:

      Nainsukh is available to view at the Rietberg Museum website:

      Hope that helps!


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