Among all film producing countries in the world, India successfully resisted Hollywood's hegemony. Some Hollywood blockbusters made their way to theaters in big Indian cities; some were adapted into Indian languages. Mostly, however, audiences remained loyal to Indian fare. What was the India that was depicted on-screen? To what extent was India produced by these filmic imaginations? To be sure, there was no monolithic India represented in film. Over the course of the quarter, we will focus on some important films to chart the idea of India they constructed and held up for critique. Most of our films will be selected from the immediate post-independence decades, i.e. the 1950s and 1960s, regarded as the classical period of Indian cinema. Our films will include popular as well as art films. Our goal will to be understand the relationship between films and emergent ideas of nationhood, modernity, and citizenship in a decolonial world.
This course fulfils the non-Western elective requirement.
Professor: Rochona Majumdar is a historian of modern India with a focus on Bengal. Her writings span histories of gender and sexuality, Indian cinema especially art cinema and film music, and modern Indian intellectual history. Majumdar also writes on postcolonial history and theory. Her work has been supported by the American Institute for Indian Studies and the Harry Frank Guggenheim foundation. She has been a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Emotions, Berlin and IWM, Vienna.