This article argues that a fantasy of Indian road infrastructure was archived in official documentary films. It analyzes two 1960s road construction projects through three corresponding Films Division of India documentaries, which represented India's northern borders. These show how the playfulness of film, the unruliness of infrastructure, and the precariousness of the border and its imaginary have meant that even propaganda films with set narratives erupted with an aesthetics of pleasure and violence. Replete with such dramatic signifiers, the films offer a psychic archive of the developmental state. The projective capacity of architectural knowledge enables this article to speculate on this archive of fantasy and thus interrogate infrastructure, modernization, and development, not as normative categories, but as aesthetic techniques. These produced for the Indian state a spatial narrative of fraught borders contiguous with metropoles, a condition that created a new tyranny of proximity.

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