Prof Ira Bhaskar and Prof Ranjani Mazumdar

-  Prof Ira Bhaskar and Prof Ranjani Mazumdar

This course is designed to introduce students to the different forms of Indian Cinema from its beginnings to the present with a particular focus on Bombay cinema. As the world's largest producer of films, Indian cinema's existence as a model that could not be destroyed by Hollywood has become something of a legend. Part of the reason for this is the form of popular Indian cinema, which combines song and dance sequences with a melodramatic plot structure. The course will first provide a background to the industrial landscape of Indian cinema as well as trace the specific genres, thematic concerns and the forms of popular cinema. Historically, the course will journey through the silent cinema of the early studio years, the coming of sound, the auteurs and new studios in the post independence period, the consolidation of the star system and the globalization of contemporary cinema. Along with this, the tradition of Indian Art Cinema will be situated to understand the complicated location of the debate between high and low culture in the context of India. Readings will include conceptual and historical writings on different aspects of Indian cinema along with other readings that will provide a background to the historical and political developments of modern South Asia.

Key Readings:


• Eric Barnow & S. Krishnaswamy. Indian Film. New York, Oxford, Delhi: Oxford University Press: 1980.

• Sumita Chakravarty, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema: 1947-1987. Bombay Calcutta Madras: Oxford University Press, 1996.

• B.D. Garga, So Many Cinemas. Mumbai: Eminence Designs, 1996.

• Lalitha Gopalan, Cinema of Interruptions: Action Genres in Contemporary Indian Cinema, BFI Publishing, London, 2002.

• John Hood, The Essential Mystery. New Delhi : Orient Longman, 2000. Madhava Prasad, Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Construction. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998

• Ranjani Mazumdar Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City, Minneapolis and London, University of Minnesota Press, 2007 and New Delhi, Permanent Black, 2007

• Ashish Rajadhyaksha, and Paul Willemen, Eds. Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. London & New Delhi, BFI and Oxford, 1994.

• Ravi Vasudevan, Ed. Making Meaning in Indian Cinema. Oxford University Press: 2000.

• Jyotika Virdi, The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History. 2003. New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004.