Bollywood's India

Bollywood's India: A Public Fantasy

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 216
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    Bollywood's India
    Book Description:

    Bollywood is India's most popular entertainment and one of its most powerful social forces. Its blockbusters contest ideas about state formation, capture the nation's dispersed anxieties, and fabricate public fantasies of what constitutes "India." Written by an award-winning scholar of popular culture and postcolonial modernity,Bollywood's Indiaanalyzes the role of the cinema's most popular blockbusters in making, unmaking, and remaking modern India.

    With dazzling interpretive virtuosity, Priya Joshi provides an interdisciplinary account of popular cinema as a space that filters politics and modernity for its viewers. Themes such as crime and punishment, family and individuality, vigilante and community capture the diffuse aspirations of an evolving nation. Summoning India's tumultuous 1970s as an interpretive lens, Joshi reveals the cinema's social work across decades that saw the decline of studios, the rise of the multi-starrer genre, and the arrival of corporate capital and new media platforms. In elegantly crafted studies of iconic and less familiar films, includingAwara(1951),Ab Dilli Dur Nahin(1957),Deewaar(1975),Sholay(1975),Dil Se(1998),A Wednesday(2008), and3 Idiots(2009), Joshi powerfully conveys the pleasures and politics of Bollywood blockbusters.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53907-4
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Film Studies, Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. I-VIII)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. IX-X)
  6. 1 BOLLYWOOD’S INDIA (pp. 1-18)

    The blockbusters of hindi cinema have played a prominent role in managing the euphoria and crises that confront the modern nation. In the decade following Independence and Partition, the period surrounding the Emergency, and the immediate aftermath of economic liberalization when the idea of India underwent considerable scrutiny, Bollywood’s blockbusters vitally captured dispersed anxieties and aspirations about the nation that converged on the thing called “India.”Bollywood’s Indianames these aspirations public fantasies and analyzes the social work that popular cinema has done for the nation even as the cinema has challenged fundamental practices of the nation and the state...

  7. 2 CINEMA AS PUBLIC FANTASY (pp. 19-62)

    There is a famous photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru taken in 1963 with three of Bombay cinema’s most legendary figures: the actor, producer, and director, Raj Kapoor; and the period’s two other reigning screen idols, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand (fig. 2.1). The stars were attending a fundraiser organized by the National Defence Committee in New Delhi at which Nehru was present. As was typical of the man whose movie-star good looks and personal style rivaled any leading man’s, Nehru had a special affinity for the Bombay industry, and lore is that he invited the matinee idols to his official residence...

  8. 3 CINEMA AS FAMILY ROMANCE (pp. 63-90)

    The 1975 emergency was a cataclysmic blow to modern India. The suspension of the Constitution and the termination of civil rights evaporated illusions of a democratic open society. The press was censored, opposition parties banned, and opponents of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi jailed and tortured. The nightmare ended with elections in 1977 that routed Mrs. Gandhi. Democracy returned, battered but emboldened. Most Indians around at the time recall the 1970s as a decade marked by grinding poverty, shortages in just about every essential commodity, and widespread labor unrest. Were they to try to study the period, though, they would find...

  9. 4 BOLLYWOOD, BOLLYLITE (pp. 91-124)

    Eight oscars, seven baftas, five Critics’ Choice awards, and four Golden Globes:Slumdog Millionaire’s(2008) landslide victory in just about every international film award competition seems to echo a lesson from the year’s triumphant Obama playbook: yes, Jamal can; yes, India can; yes, even Bollywood can. Danny Boyle’sSlumdog Millionairepays powerfulhommageto popular Hindi cinema of the 1970s when that cinema was beginning to be named Bollywood. The fi rst question Jamal is asked on the quiz show is the name of the actor who starred in the 1973 blockbuster,Zanjeer(Chains, Prakash Mehra). Jamal knows the answer,...

  10. EPILOGUE: ANTHEM FOR A NEW INDIA (pp. 125-134)

    Bollywood has it rough in the new millennium. The cinema competes in a dense entertainment ecosystem that includes television, print, the internet, radio, cricket, social media, and gaming, all nimbly delivering content skillfully niched to consumers. In 2013 the Indian film industry of which Bollywood is a part came third in revenues behind television and print.¹ Meanwhile, as the previous chapter detailed, the influx of capital into the newly recognized industry in the millennium failed to deliver the anticipated hits. In a 2012 industry report commissioned by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the consulting firm...

  11. NOTES (pp. 135-156)
  12. FILMOGRAPHY (pp. 157-160)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 161-182)
  14. INDEX (pp. 183-191)


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