Topics in Asian Cinema: Popular Hindi Cinema

048:106 (039:145, 008:127)

University of Iowa

Fall 2004

 

Class Meetings: Tuesday & Thursday, 12:20 – 1:35 p.m., 101 BCSB
Film Screenings: Monday, 7-10 p.m., 101 BCSB

Professors:
Corey K. Creekmur, Departments of English, Cinema & Comparative Literature
Philip Lutgendorf, Department of Asian Languages and Literature       

Required Texts (available at Prairie Lights):

Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bollywood: The Indian Cinema Story (Channel 4 Books)

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire (Routledge)

Coursepack [available at Zephyr Copies downtown]

Recommended Texts (especially for graduate students):

Gayatri Chatterjee, Awara (Penguin India)

Gayatri Chatterjee, Mother India (BFI)

Anupama Chopra, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (BFI)

Madhava Prasad, Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Construction (Oxford India)

Jyotika Virdi, The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History (Rutgers UP)

Readings on Reserve in Main Library

Course Requirements:

Tuesday, September 21           (Week 5)

Tuesday, October 12          (Week 8)

Tuesday, November 2           (Week 11)

Thursday, December 2           (Week 14)

Graduate Students: graduate students taking the class should expect to do additional reading and perhaps viewing for the course; a number of times during the semester we will plan additional meetings in addition to class sessions to discuss texts and topics appropriate for graduate-level research on Hindi cinema; course requirements will also be adjusted appropriately.

Syllabus:

WEEK 1: August 23, 24, 26: Introduction to Popular Hindi Cinema

Screening: Dil Se [“From the Heart”] (Mani Rathnam, 1998, 155m)

Required Readings:

Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bollywood: Chapter 1, “Bollywood Basics”: 1-23.
Rosie Thomas, “Indian Cinema: Pleasures and Popularity,” Screen 26:3-4 (May-August 1985): 116-131. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Wimal Dissanayake, “Rethinking Indian Popular Cinema: Towards Newer Frames of Understanding,” in Rethinking Third Cinema, ed. Anthony R. Guneratne and Wimal Dissanayke (London: Routledge, 2003): 202-225.

Sumita S. Chakravarty, “Fragmenting the Nation: Images of Terrorism in Indian Popular Cinema,” in Cinema & Nation, eds. Mette Hjort and Scott MacKenzie (London: Routledge, 2000): 222-237.

Ananya Jahanara Kabir, “Allegories of Alienation and Politics of Bargaining: Minority Subjectivities in Mani Rathnam’s Dil Se,” South Asian Popular Culture 1: (2003): 141-159.

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WEEK 2: August 30, 31, September 2: Post-Independence Hindi Cinema

Screening: Awara [“The Vagabond”] (Raj Kapoor, 1951, 168m)

Required Readings:

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema: Chapter 4, “Auteurship and the Lure of Romance”: 89-112.

Jacob Levich, “Freedom Songs: Rediscovering Bollywood’s Golden Age,” Film Comment May-June 2002): 48-51. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Gayatri Chatterjee, Awara (New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2003).

Wimal Dissanayake and Malti Sahai, Raj Kapoor’s Films: Harmony of Discourses (New Delhi: Vikas, 1988).

Ravi S. Vasudevan, “Addressing the Spectator of a `Third World’ National Cinema: The Bombay `Social’ Film of the 1940s and 1950s,” Screen 36:4 (Winter 1995): 305-324.

Ravi S. Vasudevan, “Shifting Codes, Dissolving Identities: The Hindi Social Film of the 1950s as Popular Culture,” in Making Meaning in Indian Cinema, ed. Vasudevan (New Delhi: Oxford, 2000): 99-121.

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WEEK 3:  September 7 and 9: Cultural Backgrounds of Hindi Cinema

[No Film Screening: Labor Day]

Required Readings:

Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bollywood, Chapter 5, “Working Wonders,” Chapter 6, “Calling the Shots” and Chapter 7, “Singing Through the Ages”: 103-182.

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 1, “Inventing Bombay Cinema,” and Chapter 2, “Melodramatic Staging”: 1-59.

Mukul Kesavan, “Urdu, Awadh, and the Tawaif: The Islamicate Roots of Hindi Cinema,” in Forging Identities: Gender, Communities, and the State ed. Zoya Hasan (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1994): 244-257. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Ashish Rajadhyaksha, “The Phalke Era: Conflict of Traditonal Form and Modern Technology,” in Interrogating Modernity: Culture and Colonialism in India, ed. Tejaswini Niranjana, P. Sudhir, and Vivek Dhareshwar (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1993): 47-82.

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WEEK 4: September 13, 14, 16: The National Epic

Screening: Mother India (Mehboob Khan, 1957, 168m)

Required Readings:

Rosie Thomas, “Sanctity and Scandal: The Mythologization of Mother India,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 11:3 (1989): 11-30. [coursepack]

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 3, “The Texts of ‘Mother India’: 61-87.

Additional Resources:

Parama Roy, “Figuring Mother India: The Case of Nargis,” in Indian Traffic: Identities in Question in Colonial and Postcolonial India (Berkeley: U of California P, 1998): 152-173.

Gayatri Chatterjee, Mother India (London: BFI, 2002).

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WEEK 5: September 20, 21, 23: The Genius of Guru Dutt

Screening: Pyaasa [“The Thirsty One”] (Guru Dutt, 1957, 139m)

Required Readings:

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 4, “Auteurship and the Lure of Romance”: 112-123.

Nasreen Munni Kabir, “Pyaasa,” in Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema (New Delhi: Oxford UP India, 1997): 75-88.  [coursepack]

Darius Cooper, “The Hindi Film Song and Guru Dutt,” East-West Film Journal 2:2 (1988): 49-65. [coursepack]

Daisy Rockwell, “Visionary Choreographies: Guru Dutt’s Experiments in Film Song Picturisation,” South Asian Popular Culture 1:2 (October 2003): 109-124. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Alison Griffiths, “Discourses of Nationalism in Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa,” Deep Focus VI (1996): 24-31.

Neepa Majumdar, “The Embodied Voice: Song Sequences and Stardom in Popular Hindi Cinema,” in Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music, eds. Pamela Robertson Wojcik and Arthur Knight (Durham: Duke UP, 2001): 161-181.

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WEEK 6: September 27, 28, 30: The Courtesan Film

Screening: Umrao Jaan (Muzaffar Ali, 1981, 145m)

Required Readings:

Sumita Chakravarty, selection from Chapter 8, “Woman and the Burden of Postcoloniality: The Courtesan Film Genre,” in National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema 1947-1987 (Austin: U of Texas P, 1993): 269-293. [coursepack]

Veena Talwar Oldenberg, “Lifestyle as Resistance: The Case of the Courtesans of Lucknow,” in Contesting Power: Resistance and Everyday Social Relations in South Asia, ed. Douglas Haynes and Gyan Prakash (Berkeley: U of California P, 1992): 23-61. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Mirza Mohammad Hadi Ruswa, Umrao Jan Ada, trans. Khushwant Singh and M.A. Husaini (Hyderabad: Disha Books, 1993) [note: this translation is preferable to the later version by David Matthews, 1996]

Fareed Kazmi, “Muslim Socials and the Female Protagonist: Seeing a Dominant Discourse at Work,” in Forging Identities: Gender, Communities, and the State, ed. Zoya Hasan (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1994): 226-243.

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WEEK 7:  October 4, 5,7: The Historical (Part I)

Screening: Mughal-e-Azam [“The Great Mughal”] (K. Asif, 1960, 198m)

Required Readings:

Ziauddin Sardar, “Dilip Kumar Made Me Do It,” in The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema, ed. Ashis Nandy (London: Zed Books, 1998): 19-91.

Additional Resources:

Sumita S. Chakravarty, selection from Chapter 5, “The Recuperation of History and Memory,” in National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema 1947-1987 (Austin: U of Texas P, 1993): 157-173.

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WEEK 8:  October 11, 12, 14: The Mythological and its Audiences

Screening: Jai Santoshi Maa [“Hail Mother Santoshi”] (Vijay Sharma, 1975, 138m)

Required Readings:

Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bollywood, Chapter 8, “Dancing to the Music”: 183-199.

Philip Lutgendorf, “Who Wants to be a Goddess?: Jai Santoshi Maa Revisted” [manuscript, coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Veena Das, “The Mythological Film and its Framework of Meaning: An Analysis of Jai Santoshi Maa,” India International Centre Quarterly 8:1 (1980): 43-56.

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WEEK 9: October 18, 19, 21: The Angry Young Superstar

Screening: Deewar  [“The Wall”] (Yash Chopra, 1975, 174m)

Required Readings:

Vijay Mishra,  Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 5, “The Actor as Parallel Text: Amitabh Bachchan”: 125-156.

Additional Resources:

Jyotika Virdi,  1993.  “The `Fiction’ of Film and `Fact’ of Politics: Deewar.” Jump Cut 38 (1993): 26-32.

Fareeduddin Kazmi, “How Angry is the Angry Young Man? `Rebellion’ in Conventional Hindi Films,” in The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema, ed. Ashis Nandy. (London: Zed Books, 1998): 134-156.

Vinay Lal, “The Impossibility of the Outsider in the Modern Hindi Film,” in The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema, ed. Ashis Nandy. (London: Zed Books, 1998): 228-259.

Ranjani Mazumdar, 2000. “From Subjectification to Schizophrenia: The 'Angry Man' and the 'Psychotic' Hero of Bombay Cinema,” in Making Meaning in Indian Cinema, ed. Ravi S. Vasudevan. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000): 238-264.

Ashwani Sharma, “Blood, Sweat and Tears: Amitabh Bachchan, Urban Demi-god,” in You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies and Men, ed. Pat Kirkham and Janet Thumim (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993): 167-180.

Lalit Vachani,  “Bachchan-alias: The Many Faces of a Film Icon,” in Image Journeys: Audio-Visual Media & Cultural Change in India, eds. Christiane Brosius and Melissa Butcher (New Delhi: Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, 1999): 199-230.

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WEEK 10: October 25, 26, 28:  Gender and The Social

Screening: Sahib, Bibi, aur Ghulam [“Master, Wife, and Servant”] (Abrar Alvi/Guru Dutt, 1962, 154m)

Required Readings:

Nasreen Munni Kabir, “Sahib, Bibi aur Ghulam,” in Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema (Delhi: Oxford UP India, 1997): 109-121.

Additional Resources:

Sumita S. Chakravarty, selection from Chapter 5, “The Recuperation of History and Memory,” in National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema 1947-1987 (Austin: U of Texas P, 1993): 173-184.

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WEEK 11: November 1, 2, 4: The Masala Film

Screening: Amar, Akbar, Anthony (Manmohan Desai, 1977, 174m)

Required Readings:

Rosie Thomas, “Melodrama and the Negotiation of Morality in Mainstream Hindi Film,” in Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World.  Ed. Carol A. Breckenridge (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995): 157-182.

Additional Resources:

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 6, “Segmenting/Analyzing Two Foundational Texts”: 157-201.

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WEEK 12:  November 8, 9, 11: The Historical (Part II): Remembering Partition

Screening: Hey Ram [“Oh, God!”] (Kamal Hassan, 2000, 186m)

Required Readings:

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 7, “After Ayodha: The Sublime Object of Fundamentalism”: 203-233.

Additional Resources:

Ravi Vasudevan, “Another History Rises to the Surface: ‘Hey Ram’ – Melodrama in the Age of Digital Simulation,” Economic and Political Weekly 27:28 (July 13, 2002): 2917-2925.

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WEEK 13: November 15, 16, 18: Romance, Consumerism, and Diaspora

Screening: Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge [“The Brave Heart Takes the Bride”] (Aditya Chopra, 1995, 190m)

Required Readings:

Vijay Mishra, Bollywood Cinema, Chapter 8, “Bombay Cinema and Diasporic Desire”: 235-269.

Patricia Uberoi, “The Diaspora Comes Home: Disciplining Desire in DDLJ,” Contributions to Indian Sociology 32:2 (July-December 1988): 305-336. [coursepack]

Additional Resources:

Anupama Chopra, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (London: BFI, 2002).

Rachel Dwyer, All You Want Is Money, All You Need Is Love: Sex and Romance in Modern India (London: Cassell, 2000).

Ronald Inden, “Transnational Class, Erotic Arcadia and Commercial Utopia in Hindi Films,” in Image Itineraries: Audio-Visual Media and Cultural Change in India, ed. Christiane Brosius and Melissa Butcher (New Delhi: Sage, 1999): 41-66.

Andrew Willis, “Locating Bollywood: Notes on the Hindi Blockbuster, 1975 to the Present,” in Movie Blockbusters, ed. Julian Stringer (London: Routledge, 2003): 255-268.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

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WEEK 14: November 29, 30, December 2: Bombay Noir

Screening: Satya [“Truth”] (Ram Gopal Verma, 1998, 175m)

Required Readings:

Travis Crawford, “Bullets Over Bombay: Exposing the Underworld of Hindi Cinema (Both Onscreen and Off),” Film Comment (May-June 2002): 53-55. [coursepack]

Ravi Vasudevan, “The Exhilaration of Dread: Genre, Narrative Form and Film Style in Contemporary Urban Action Films,” Sarai Reader 2002: The Cities of Everyday Life (New Delhi, 2002): 59-67. [coursepack]

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WEEK 15: December 6, 7, 9:  Globalized Youth

Screening:  Dil Chatha Hai [“The Heart Yearns”] (Farhan Akhtar, 2001, 185m)

Required Readings:

Corey K. Creekmur, “Bombay Boys: Dissolving the Male Child in Popular Hindi Cinema,” in Where the Boys Are: Cinemas of Boyhood, ed. Murray Pomerance and Frances Gateward.  (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2004): [coursepack]

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Final Exam: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, December 16 (room to be announced)

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