Lalitha Gopalans Essay Indian Cinema Hindi

The sources annotated here serve as good introductions to popular Hindi cinema and would be useful in the undergraduate classroom as well as to someone just beginning research in this area. Booth 1995, Lutgendorf 2006, and Thomas 1985 (cited under Foundational Texts) explain the narrative form, conventions, and genres of Hindi cinema. The two collections by Dissanayake and Gokulsing can be assigned as textbooks—one is a cultural account (Dissanayake and Gokulsing 2004), the other (Dissanayake and Gokulsing 2012) introduces various terms and concepts necessary for an understanding of Hindi cinema. Ganti 2013 provides necessary background about the industry including production, distribution, exhibition, and reception. Gopalan’s book is extremely useful for the classroom, as each chapter is devoted to a critical and contextual analysis of one film each. The Wallflower book on Bollywood (Varia 2012) and Nandy also function as a good introduction, especially to Hindi cinema prior to 1990. (Also see Thomas 1985, cited under Foundational Texts and Mehta 2013, cited under Music, Song, and Dance).

  • Booth, Gregory D. “Traditional Content and Narrative Structure in Hindi Commercial Cinema.” Asian Folklore Studies 54.2 (1995): 169–190.

    DOI: 10.2307/1178940E-mail Citation »

    Rejecting the view of Hindi cinema as an inferior copy of Hollywood, this seminal article by Gregory Booth points to the multiple influences drawing from folk traditions that impact Hindi cinema.

  • Dissanayake, Wimal, and K. Moti Gokulsing. Indian Popular Cinema. Stoke-on-Trent, UK: Trentham, 2004.

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    The second edition of this collection provides sociocultural background to popular Hindi cinema and is useful for undergraduates. It covers contexts pertaining to history, culture, religion, caste, gender, and political changes. It includes impacts of globalization on the industry and its films as well.

  • Dissanayake, Wimal, and K. Moti Gokulsing. From Aan to Lagaan and Beyond: A Guide to the Study of Indian Cinema. Stoke-on-Trent, UK: Trentham, 2012.

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    A text focused on pedagogy and designed for the undergraduate classroom. Includes comprehensive, simply written, introductory material necessary for an understanding of Hindi cinema—chapters on film production, history, theoretical approaches, diasporic filmmakers, extracts on people from the industry, and on corporatization of Hindi cinema.

  • Ganti, Tejaswini. Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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    This updated second edition of the guidebook covers the formation and development of Hindi cinema from the 1930s onward, including recent transformations like granting of industry status in the 1990s, changes in distribution practices, and rise of multiplexes. Also includes chapters on narrative style and genre.

  • Gopalan, Lalitha, ed. The Cinema of India. London and New York: Wallflower, 2009.

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    Contains entries on twenty-four Indian films, including eleven Hindi films, by noted scholars in the field of Indian film studies. The strengths of this work lie in the impressive introduction by Lalitha Gopalan and the individual film-based essays. It can be paired with a complimentary text that provides historical, industrial, and theoretical background for the classroom.

  • Lutgendorf, Philip. “Is There an Indian Way of Filmmaking?” International Journal of Hindu Studies 10.3 (2006): 227–256.

    DOI: 10.1007/s11407-007-9031-yE-mail Citation »

    A good compliment to other introductions such as Booth 1995 and Thomas 1985 (cited under Foundational Texts), this article describes the various forms and genres in Hindi cinema. Also explains important terms used in Hindi film scholarship like masala (the mixture of elements such as action, romance, song and dance, etc.) and darsana (borrowed from Hinduism, the term indicates the moment when a devotee beholds or gets a glimpse of the deity. Here, Lutgendorf theorizes it in terms of a mutual gaze between the viewer and the viewed).

  • Nandy, Ashis, ed. The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability, and Indian Popular Cinema. London and New York: Zed Books, 1998.

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    This collection of articles addresses concerns relevant to Hindi film studies prior to the works about globalization. Focusing on the relationship between politics, modernity, and Indian cinema, the anthology covers discussion of Raj Kapoor films and the films of Amitabh Bachchan, among others.

  • Varia, Kush. Bollywood, Glamour and Gossip. London and New York: Wallflower, 2012.

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    As an introduction to Bollywood, this book skillfully orients the reader with the basics of popular Hindi cinema—genealogy from the epics, form and narrative structure, and reception. Also presents case studies of three films, namely, Shree 420 (1955), Sholay (1975), and Nagin (1976).

  • The book proposes an ambitious new framework for understanding the distinctiveness of Indian cinema within a global context dominated by Hollywood. With its sudden explosions into song-and-dance sequences, half-time intermissions, and heavy traces of censorship, Indian cinema can be seen as a "cinema of interruptions." To the uninitiated viewer, brought up on the seamless linear plotting of Hollywood narrative, this unfamiliar tendency toward digression may appear random and superfluous. Yet this book argues that in the hands of imaginative directors, the conventions of Indian cinema become opportunities for narrative play and personal expression in such films asSholay(1975), Nayakan(1987),Parinda (1989),Hathyar(1981), andHey Ram!(1999). Central to this study is the relationship Indian cinema shares with its audience, and an understanding of the pleasures it offers the cinephile. In articulating this bond, Gopalan presents a fresh framework for understanding popular Indian cinema and an important new contribution to film genre studies.

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