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LAHS-233: History of Indian Cinema and Culture

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Recommended Reading


Filming the Gods: Religion and Indian Cinema by Rachel Dwyer
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Image:Filming_the_Gods.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Filming the Gods examines the role and depiction of religion in Indian cinema, showing that the relationship between the modern and the traditional in contemporary India is not exotic, but part of everyday life. Concentrating mainly on the Hindi cinema of Mumbai, Bollywood, it also discusses India's other cinemas."
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Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema Through a Transnational Lens by Raminder Kaur and Ajay J. Sinha
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Image:Bollywood_Popular_Indian_Cinema_Through_Transnational_Lens.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"This volume brings together a group of international scholars to analyze the globalized networks of Indian cinema. It provides a critique of a common scholarly tendency in the field of popular cinema of defining Indian films in terms of their modernity and desire for nationhood."
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Brand Bollywood: A New Global Entertainment Order by Derek Bose
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Image:Brand_Bollywood.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Brand Bollywood is an excellent example of a well-researched dissertation on media integration. It is an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the current and future landscape of the entertainment industry and optimistically holds out the hope of a Bollywood that could challenge the 'hegemony of Hollywood'."
Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance edited by Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti
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Image:Global_Bollywood_Travels_of_Hindi_Song_Dance.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"This interdisciplinary collection describes the many roots and routes of the Bollywood song-and-dance spectacle. Examining the reception of Bollywood music in places as diverse as Indonesia and Israel, the essays offer a stimulating redefinition of globalization, highlighting the cultural influence of Hindi film music from its origins early in the twentieth century to today."
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Indian Literature and Popular Cinema: Recasting Classics by Heidi R.M. Pauwels
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Image:Indian_Literature_and_Popular_Culture.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"This book addresses the socio-political implications of popular reinterpretations of 'elite culture', exploring gender issues and the perceived 'sexism' of the North Indian popular film and how that plays out when literature is reworked into film."
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Reframing Bollywood: Theories of Popular Hindi Cinema by Ajay Gehlawat
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Image:Reframing_Bollywood.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"This book combines multiple theoretical approaches to provide a fresh perspective on Bollywood - just as a Bollywood film that transgresses multiple genres-and challenges the homogenizing tendencies in much of the ongoing scholarship in the area."
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Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen
PN1994 .M364 2004  Check Availability
Image:Film_Theory_and_Criticism.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Since publication of the first edition in 1974, Film Theory and Criticism has been the most widely used and cited anthology of critical writings about film. Extensively revised and updated, this sixth edition highlights both classic texts and cutting edge essays from more than a century of thought and writing about the movies."
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Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire by Vijay Mishra
PN1993.5.I8 M57 2002  Check Availability
Image:Bollywood_Cinema_Temples_of_Desire.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"In Bollywood Cinema, Vijay Mishra argues that Indian film production and reception is shaped by the desire for national community and a pan-Indian popular culture. Seeking to understand Bollywood according to its own narrative and aesthetic principles and in relation to a global film industry, he views Indian cinema through the dual methodologies of postcolonial studies and film theory."
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Global Bollywood edited by Anandam P. Kavoori and Aswin Punathambekar
PN1993.5.I8 G56 2008  Check Availability
Image:Global_Bollywood.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Organized thematically, the book examines contestations surrounding the term 'Bollywood,' changing relations between the state and the film industry, convergence with television and new media, online fan culture, film journalism, and the reception and negotiations of gender and sexuality in diverse socio-cultural contexts."
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Wanted Cultured Ladies Only!: Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s-1950s by Neepa Majumdar
PN1993.5.I8 M35 2009  Check Availability
Image:Wanted_Cultured_Ladies_only.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! maps out the early culture of cinema stardom in India from its emergence in the silent era to the decade after Indian independence in the mid-twentieth century. Neepa Majumdar combines readings of specific films and stars with an analysis of the historical and cultural configurations that gave rise to distinctly Indian notions of celebrity."
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The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
PS3562.A316 N36 2004  Check Availability
Image:The_Namesake.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"In The Namesake, Lahiri enriches the themes that made her collection an international bestseller: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations."
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Indian Popular Cinema: A Narrative of Cultural Change by K. Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake
PN1993.5.I8 G65 2004  Check Availability
Image:Indian_Popular_Cinema.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"The book reviews nine decades of Indian popular cinema and examines its immense influence on people in India and its diaspora. Since it was published in 1998, Indian film has developed in new directions. As films today vie with Indian soap operas for popularity, film making in India has acquired 'industry status' and consequently has greater accountability to its public."
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The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability, and Indian Popular Cinema edited by Ashis Nandy
PN1993.5.I8 S43 1998  Check Availability
Image:Secret_Politics_of_Our_Desires.jpg‎ From Google Books:
"This book deals with an important and too-often ignored area of cultural studies. To examine the enormous industry of Indian popular cinema is to study Indian modernity at its very rawest. The questions and perspectives this book presents provoke a thinking of cinema that is political in the widest sense – from [cinemas'] importance in ideas of nation and national cultural formation to psycho-social perspectives on identity, class and gender."
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Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India by Parama Roy
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Image:Indian_Traffic.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Indian Traffic demonstrates that questions of originality and impersonation are in the forefront of both the colonial and the nationalist discourses of South Asia and are central to the conceptual identity of South Asian postcolonial theory itself."
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The Cinema of Satyajit Ray: Between Tradition and Modernity by Darius Cooper
PN1998.3.R4 C66 2000  Check Availability
Image:Cinema_of_Satyajit_Ray.jpg‎ From Google Books:
"Satyajit Ray is India's greatest filmmaker and his importance in the international world of cinema has long been recognised. Darius Cooper's study of Ray is the first to examine his rich and varied work from a social and historical perspective, and to situate it within Indian aesthetics. Providing analyses of selected films, including those that comprise The Apu Trilogy, Chess Players, and Jalsaghhar, among others, Cooper outlines Western influences on Ray's work, such as the plight of women functioning within a patriarchal society, Ray's political vision of the 'doubly colonised', and his attack and critique of the Bengali/Indian middle class of today. The most comprehensive treatment of Ray's work, The Cinema of Satyajit Ray makes accessible the oeuvre of one of the most prolific and creative filmmakers of the twentieth century."
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The Cinematic imagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History by Jyotika Virdi
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Image:Cinematic_ImagiNation.jpg‎ From the book's Preface:
"Positioning this book in the interstices between postcolonial, film, and cultural studies, I approach Hindi cinema here through several theoretical frames: the specter of globalization, the internationalization of cultural studies, considerations of the nation embedded in national cinema or postcoloniality, popular culture as a legitimate slate for reading social history, and the place of gender, sexuality, class, caste, and religious community in shaping that history."

Making Meaning in Indian Cinema edited by Ravi S. Vasudevan
PN1993.5.I8 M35 2002  Check Availability
Image:Making_Meaning_in_Indian_Cinema.jpg‎ Reading Recommendation:
See “Shifting Codes, Dissolving Identities: The Hindi Social Film of the 1950s as Popular Culture." - Ravi S. Vasudevan
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Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World by Carol A. Breckenridge
DS423 .C66 1995  Check Availability
Image:Consuming_Modernity.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Consuming Modernity illustrates that what distinguishes a particular society is not the fact of its modernity, but rather its own unique debates about modernity. Behind the embattled arena of culture in India, for example, lie particular social and political interests such as the growing middle class, the entrepreneurs and commercial institutions, and the state."
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Genre, Gender, Race, and World Cinema edited by Julie F. Codell
PN1995.9.S6 G46 2007  Check Availability
Image:Genre_Gender_Race_and_World_Cinema.jpg‎ From Google Books:
"Genre, Gender, Race, and World Cinema is an innovative anthology that introduces the study of film theory using the four topics of genre, gender, race, and world cinema, to encourage critical discussion."
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Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain edited by Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin
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Image:Media_Worlds.jpg‎ Reading Recommendation:
See the essay: "And Yet My Heart Is Still Indian" by Tejaswini Ganti
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Mother India = Madara Iṇḍīya by Gayatri Chatterjee
PN1997.M684 C43 2002  Check Availability
Image:Mother_India.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Based on new research into the Mehboob studio archives Gayatri Chatterjee outlines the film's [Mother India] eventful production history and the ambitious vision of its director. In her careful analysis of the film Chatterjee reflects its vibrancy and passion and illuminates its many aspects - performance styles, reception and reputation, mythological underpinnings, its relation to post-Independence culture and politics, its many references to the history of a country in transition."


Alessandrini, Anthony C.

"'My Heart's Indian for All That': Bollywood Film between Home and Diaspora." Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 10.3 (Winter 2001): 315-40. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 30 June 2011.

Abstract: "Addresses the efforts made by the film industry to adapt to India's economic liberalization policy of the 1980s and 1990s. Discussion on how the liberalization policy has repositioned the industry in the global market; Forces that shaped the development of Indian popular cinema; Significance of the film Hum Aapake Hain Koun! by Sooraj Barjatya, to the Hindi film industry."
Read article here.

Chaudhuri, Shohini

"Snake Charmers and Child Brides: Deepa Mehta's Water, 'Exotic' Representation, and the Cross-Cultural Spectatorship of South Asian Migrant Cinema." South Asian Popular Culture 7.1 (2009): 7-20. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 30 June 2011.

Abstract: "The high media profile and 'crossover' success of South Asian migrant filmmakers such as Deepa Mehta has often bred accusations that they deliberately package themes and aesthetics in order to stir up controversy and produce an 'exotic' India for global audiences. This claim has recently been played out in relation to the Oscar-nominated film Water (2005), which provoked protests from Hindu fundamentalists and death threats to Mehta and her crew. My article argues that exoticist representation is a significant tendency within contemporary world cinema and needs to be addressed without the customary moral condemnation implied in both popular reactions and academic studies that favour more experimental works."
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Chute, David

"The Big B." Film Comment 41.2 (Mar./Apr. 2005): 50-6. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 30 June 2011.

Abstract: The article focuses on Amitabh Bachchan, superstar of Indian cinema. According to the author, he loves watching Bachchan dance, which is not to suggest that the most durable star in the history of Hindi cinema is celebrated for his fancy footwork. In fact apart from his undoubted acting chops and the sheer force of his brooding masculine charisma, he is most fervently admired for his verbal gifts: the sonorous baritone that makes all his set-piece speeches sound like mosaic proclamations, and the flair for mimicry he exploits as one of the first Bollywood actors to adopt authentic Bombay street slang in his gangster roles."
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Kaur, Ravinder

"Viewing the West through Bollywood: A Celluloid Occident in the Making." Contemporary South Asia 11.2 (2002): 199-209. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 30 June 2011.

Abstract: "The present article locates the Hindi films in the realm of fast-changing contemporary India with its new market-friendly economy, a globalised and upwardly mobile middle class, a vast dispora that constantly searches for authentic Indian values, and a huge, exportable, techno-savvy workforce that thrives on growing western pop-dominated cultural forms such as Bhangra/Indi pop-music and Hinglish theatre. The search for authentic Indian values, however unintentionally, reveals the long-held images of the West and the eventual making of a cellulod Occident."
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More articles available here.