What does the Hindi word asahishduta mean
Bollywood and Its Other (s)
With the disciplinary incarnation of film studies in India, ‘Bollywood’ releases to be a loosely applied term, even though academicians and industry persons differ considerably on its usage. Bollywood refers to the globalized cinema and media cultures of the industry located in Bombay (now Mumbai), and it is associated with the economic l iberalization of the 1990s and some subsequent corollaries. Bombay cinema in the pre-liberalization era is referred to as Hindi popular cinema. Around the early 1990s, the neologism ‘Bollywood’ became attached to the Mumbai-based commercial Hindi cinema. Ashish Rajadhyaksha (2007) has defined Bollywood as an industry where cinema itself is reduced only to a memory, a part of the nostalgia industry. He has mentioned how the film trade journals like Screen invented and circulated the self-deprecating term through their page called ‘Bollywood Beat’. In order to define culture economically, Rajadhyaksha concentrates on the larger significance of the culture industry beyond the confines of traditional cinema exhibition, the emergence of the corporate-industrial-financial capital and the proliferation of the ancillary sector of film production / exhibition. Above all, the export of a globalized version of Indian nationalism to be consumed by the diaspora finds an extremely significant place in his argument.
Vikrant Kishore, Amit Sarwal, Parichay Patra
Exploring the Other: Cinema, Aesthetics, Philosophy
1. Self, Other and Bollywood
The Evolution of the Hindi Film as a Site of Ambivalence
I will be risking infamy to claim myself a film scholar, let alone a specialist in Indian Film Studies and / or issues related to social and political realities of cinema as a whole. My primary concern with this book — and my argument in it — is topical: the concept of an ever-permeating 'other', cinema or otherwise, moderate my occasional dabbling with continental philosophy, and the current anthology deals with otherization as a central theme . I am interested in looking into the basic spirit of this book — how Bollywood, an industry owing its origin to the paradoxical layering of national history, has evolved into a space 'consistent enough over time to suggest ideological effectivity' (Prasad, 1998, p . 5). Such interest clearly totters on the verge of a jumbled perspective, because of the numerous densely correlated ideological apparatuses. Ideologically or aesthetically Bollywood poses a challenge to the curious, mainly due to the sheer scope of the topic. I will, therefore, further delimit my ambit. I want to (1) briefly look into the variant theoretical expositions of the definition of ‘Bollywood’, i.e. how it functions, coheres, frustrates, and (2) analyze the philosophical underpinnings of the word ‘other’, i.e. its constant struggle and negotiation with "self", through three defining moments of continental philosophy. The other ’in Bollywood, the‘ other ’that is Bollywood are engaged in a constant negotiation within and outside of itself — it is being defined, refuted and pruned to fit into a conceptual garb of aesthetics.
2. Bombay Cinema’s Aesthetic Other
Hindi Shastriya Cinema in Retrospect
The term shastriya, while aligned with an art form such as cinema, sounds extremely anomalous. Shastriya connotes the sense of something classical, used primarily within the confines of North Indian / Hindustani classical music. It is not without reason that cinema remains dissociated from epithets like these, especially since cinema’s self-imposed inferiority gets in the way. This inferiority stems primarily from the publicness of cinema, from its status as a public institution. So when Mani Kaul tried to define his cinema with a preference for a term like shastriya, it was a decisive statement against the supposed publicness of the medium. His Uski Roti (1969) was given the Sunday evening slot in television, a slot better known for the popular Bombay films. Kaul, on a lighter note, suggested a different slot for his shastriya cinema:
[I] t was as if they had shown a classical program during Chhaya Geet. The point is not that classical music is superior to film music, it is that you cannot confuse the one with the other. They could have had a program called Shastriya Cinema or something and shown Uski Roti there — like they have Mallikarjun Mansur on Shastriya Sangeet! (Rizvi & Amladi, 1980, pp. 9-10)
Diaspora and the Formation of the Global Bollywood
3. Transgressing the Moral Universe
Bollywood and the Terrain of the Representable
‘My son, a marriage takes place not between two individuals; it’s between two families ’; so is the response of an Indian mother to her son who has just expressed his decision to marry a white, Mauritian woman in the film Dil Jo Bhi Kahey (2005). He is disrupting the familial structure by bringing in an outsider in all senses, racial, religious and cultural; his mother cannot bear his choice and is devastated. The parameters that dictate the possibilities within the moral universe that popular Hindi films operate in have placed romantic relations with white men and women beyond the scope of possibility. As a taboo, these relationships make engaging narratives, entertaining a forbidden desire. And in due course many post-millennial interracial diasporic romance films eliminate these potential threats through various narrative devices and mechanisms. There are examples of interracial diasporic romance films in which this taboo is broken; However, this is done so in such a way as to mitigate its potential for transformation of the romantic landscape in popular Hindi film.
4. A perfect match
Entertainment and Excess of Cricket within the Diasporic Experience of Bollywood
The decade of 1990s in India achieved its historical significance not only through the economic liberalization but also through the effects of liberalization on the daily lives of the citizen as the latter emerged as a potential consumer for an emergent global market. However, this process of consumption has been very subtly disguised by the packaging of new aspirations. The culture industry significantly contributed to constructing the narrative of aspirations. Not only the film posters, advertisements or film images appealed to the potential consumers, but a new condition also emerged to stimulate their aspirations (see Rajadhyaksha, 2009).
The Musicality of Bollywood: Possibilities of Alternative Reading (s)
5. Hindi Popular Cinema and Its Peripheries
Of Female Singers, Performances and the Presence / Absence of Suraiya
First things first. For an uninitiated viewer (and reader) of Hindi cinema produced from Bombay, it may be imperative to recognize ‘who was Suraiya’. While biographies and interviews of well-known (male) actors frame her life in a particular way,1 especially highlighting her enigmatic presence / absence, it may be worthwhile to know that Suraiya (1929–2004) initially did a few playback songs (at the early stage of her career during 1941–42), and her popularity as a singer-actor, as well as a dancer, grew during the mid-1940s (especially during 1948–49) with the success of films like 1857 (1946), Dard (1947), Dak Bangla (1947), Aaj Ki Raat (1948), Kajal ( 1948), Vidya (1948), Pyaar Ki Jeet (1948), Gajre (1948), Shair (1949), Jeet (1949), Dillagi (1949), Duniya (1949), Char Din (1949), Dastaan (1950) , Sanam (1951) and so on, along with films by influential filmmakers like K. Asif, Mehboob Khan, Chetan Anand and Nitin Bose-Phool (1944), Anmol Ghadi (1946), Afsar (1950), Waris (1954) and so on. Moreover, she also co-starred with the singing legend K. L. Saigal in Tadbir (1945), Omar Khaiyyam (1946) and in Parwana (1947), though her career arguably took off with Tamanna (1942). Let us say that she was one of the actors who continued to perform her own songs, even at the times when the popularity of the playback singers soared and their voices demarcated the scene with their extraordinary skills.2
6. ‘Dil Dance Maare Re’
Bollywoodization of the Indian Folk Dance Forms
Indian folk dance forms are one of the founding influences on Bollywood song and dance. Elements of different folk dance forms can be seen explicitly in most Bollywood routines. Given this scheme of events in the history of the hybridization of Bollywood song and dance from the 1970s onwards, I wish to examine how folk dances have been hybridized and transformed when represented on screen.
7. The Systems Model of Creativity and Indian Film
A Study of Two Young Music Directors from Kerala, India
At first glance there appears to be significant cultural differences between South Asia and the West. Jandt has argued that the cognitive processes of various cultures embedded are embedded in different naive metaphysical systems and tacit epistemologies, which in turn are rooted in divergent social systems ’(2013, p. 423). It's therefore possible that these differing cultures cultures perceive different worlds ’(Jandt, 2013, p. 59). For example, we can see that at the macro-level cultural assumptions in the West tend to emphasize extraordinary individual activity (Howe, 1999) often embedded in Romantic and inspirationist frameworks (Boden, 2004, p. 14), which are partially set in foundational ideas from Judeo-Christian creation myths and the works of Plato, Kant, Lombroso, Galton and Freud (collected in Rothenberg & Hausman, 1976). By comparison the South Asian world-view is strongly committed to the notions of renewability and transformation. According to Misra et al., "The Indian way of thinking has been characterized as context sensitive" with an emphasis on "the interplay of continuity and change in one’s existence" (2006, p. 424). Divinities such as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh also regulate through intervention the creation, maintenance and destruction of the world (Misra et al., 2006; Kishore, 2011; Srinivasan, 2007; Pattanaik, 2011).
Phillip McIntyre, Bob Davis, Vikrant Kishore
Bollywood’s Other (s): Sexuality, B Movie, Queerness
8. Sugar and Spice
The Golden Age of the Hindi Movie Vamps, 1960s – 1970s
In commercial Hindi cinema, representations of female identity have always been closely linked with female sexuality. Often considered a fairly accurate barometer of sexual mores in the country (Dasgupta, 1996), Hindi cinema has provided measured representations of "acceptable" femininity in India. Early films produced by the Bombay film industry tackled progressive social issues (Vasudevan, 1989), and dealt with female sexuality in a similarly progressive way. However, after the slow erosion of the "social films" of the 1950s, the specter of female "eye candy" soon arose. This particular vision of female sexuality was embodied in the character of the Hindi movie vamp ’. Vamps were women who provided sensuality to the film’s narrative, and reached their zenith in the 1960s and 1970s, when almost all commercial Hindi films negotiated with sexuality through their lens.
9. Popular Forms, Altering Normativities
Queer Buddies in Contemporary Mainstream Hindi Cinema
What can popular cultural production tell us about discourses of sexuality in modern-day sub-Continental India? This chapter will study how the ‘trashy’ forum of the mainstream film produces and eroti-cises ‘alternative’ sexual subjectivities, and whether any emancipatory potentials might be uncovered in. Films made in India's mainstream Hindi-speaking 'Bollywood', such as Kalyug (2005) and Girlfriend (2004), supply a discourse of lesbian abjection and vilification even as the modern-day reinvention of the male 'buddy' film, in Kal Ho Na Ho (2003) and Dostana (2008), for instance, offer startlingly 'wholesome' representations of gay men. Can mass-market "products" where pleasure can be derived from the successful combination of plot, music and visual spectacle serve in the hands of critical viewers as tools for destabilizing sexual binaries despite their overt narrative outcomes?
10. Hinglish Cinema
The Confluence of East and West
About September 1994, the character of Bollywood underwent a change with a deluge of movies such as Bomgay (1996), Bombay Boys (1998), Split Wide Open (1999), Everybody Says I Am Fine (2001), Leela (2002) and Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2003). Myopically acknowledged only as a change in the linguistic character of Bollywood, as manifested in its portmanteau name ‘Hinglish’, this transfiguration was often considered lusterless and sans consequences, or another addition to the long list of names representing a blend of English and Hindi:
Bhakti poets of Hindi celebrated and characterized such fusion as ‘sadhukari boli’ or ‘khichri boli’. The most recent addition to this long inventory of mixed systems is Hinglish, a blend of Hindi and English. (Bhatia, 2011, p. 37)
11. The Ramsay Chronicles
Non-normative Sexualities in Purana Mandir and Bandh Darwaza
The 1970s in the Hindi film industry witnessed some significant changes that radically altered the face of Hindi cinema. The chocolate-boy-romantic-hero epitomized by Rajesh Khanna gradually receded into the background as a new generation of angry young man brigade led by Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Sunil Dutt took center stage. Hindi cinema had its tryst with the middle-class, common-man archetype through the films of Amol Palekar, Sanjeev Kumar and Farooq Sheikh during this period. The decade was also notorious for stringent censorship that the Indian film industry had to face in the wake of the "National Emergency" imposed by Indira Gandhi. At the same time, a small conglomerate of young men in the F. U. Ramsay household were slowly working their way up the success ladder of commercial B-grade Bombay horror films. They were the seven brothers — Kumar Ramsay, Keshu Ramsay, Tulsi Ramsay, Kiran Ramsay, Shyam Ramsay, Gangu Ramsay and Arjun Ramsay — who edited, produced and directed horror films to keep the ‘Ramsay Brothers’ syndicate afloat. The journey which started in the early 1970s and reached its peak in the 1980s still continues, albeit sporadically, in the 21st century. The Ramsay Brothers successfully churned out low-cost productions year after year in the 1970s and 1980s.
12. Bollywood’s Encounters with the Third Kind
A Critical Catalog of Hindi Science Fiction Films
India not only happens to be a country of 1.21 billion people (as per 2001 census; Ministry of Home Affairs, 2001) but also home to one of the most prolific film industries in the world. Despite prolific film production, not many Science Fiction (SF) films have been produced by Bollywood. The fact that the voice of the Indian nation increasingly endorses science as the panacea to all issues merely deepens this paradox. This is an essay about the general absence of SF in Hindi popular cinema, seen from the perspective of a film-lover who is also a shamelessly zealous SF fan in a culture that, for various reasons, has not shown much interest in it.
Bollywood’s Other, India’s Other
13. Death Becomes Her: Bombay Cinema, Nation and Kashmir
In Conversation with the Desire Machine Collective, Guwahati
I present here a conversation featuring Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya who form the Desire Machine Collective (DMC), Guwahati, and I, as a film historian, query them on ironic histories informing a mythic love triangle of contemporary Indian history — the Indian nation, Bombay cinema and the region of Kashmir. DMC did extensive research and documentation in Kashmir during the production of their video installation Nishan I. While working on Nishan I, DMC stumbled upon a number of cinema halls that have remained closed ever since 1989 when Islamic doctrinaires enforced a ban on the showing of Bombay and imported cinema in the Valley. Subsequently these halls came to be used by the occupying Indian military forces as barracks, interrogation centers and ammunition dumps. The conversation presented below takes up their experience of Kashmir, Bombay cinema and the workings of the nation-state during the making of Nishan I. What we get running through DMC's ruminations about the fate of cinema in Kashmir and the logics of work such as Nishan I is a perception about the manner in which the senses become disciplined, furtive and strained in the presence of military disciplinary regimes and how such a phenomenon spells the death of cinema in the lives of the people in many senses beyond the literal closing down of cinema halls. Disciplinary regimes spell the end of organic pleasures that went into the making of cinema as a celebration of the potentials of life as such.
Before attempting to analyze any subject area in India, it is important to understand that any aspect — be it religion, culture, politics, philosophy, art or science — rarely comes as a rigid, structured or intimidating subject of study for a common Indian. Instead all these come rolled into one, as a way of life — consciously for the educated and as a tradition for the uneducated. This way of life is present in every form, historical as well as contemporary. The establishment and propagation of this way of life occurred through various literal and oral art forms.
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