Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Understanding Hindi Cinema since Independence

 Brief Overview 

The cultural space in the post-colonial India has been heavily dominated by cinema. Hindi cinema occupied the center of attention, as India became independent and the debate about the “national” ensued in the domains of language, culture and politics. Since then, Hindi cinema has been central in defining the identity of the Indian Nation. It has undergone many a change, with Bollywood being the most recent avatar.

This course offers students at an undergraduate level to critically engage with Hindi cinema and the debates that surround it. It will introduce students to a variety of Hindi films since the independence. Students will gain knowledge about the Hindi film industry, its aesthetics and politics. At the same time, they will learn an array of concepts and critical vocabulary to understand the specificity of cinema as a medium. They will also develop an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Hindi cinema.

 Course Objectives 

  • To introduce students to Hindi Cinema and its specificities in terms of its industry, aesthetics and politics.
  • To help them understand the importance of studying cinematic culture in the postcolonial nation.
  • To introduce students to a multi-disciplinary approach of studying culture specific cinema.
  • To help students form a knowledge base vis-a-vis cinema and culture as objects of serious intellectual activity.

 Teaching Methodology 

  • The students will be expected to read the material distributed in the class and critically contribute to the ideas discussed in the class.
  • The students are expected to attend film screenings in the class. The screening of film will be followed by discussion on the film.
  • The students will be expected to write responses to the films and articles about films, discussed in the class.

 Course Outline 

Sr. No Topics Hours
1 Unit 1: Hindi Cinema and the Nation
1. Specificity of Hindi Cinema: its Formal Structures and the Social Genre
2. The Hindi Film Industry post Independence
3. Narratives of Feudal Family Romance
4. Stardom in the 1950s: Raj Kapoor and Nargis (Awaara)
5. The Nation and the Mother: Mother India
6. Hindi Cinema and Popular Culture
7. The Nation and the Spectator.
2 Unit 2: Hindi Cinema and the Angry Young Man
1. Politics of the 1970s and the emergence of angry young man (Sholay, Deewar, Zanjeer)
2. The Stardom of Amitabh Bachchan
3. Unit 3: The Middle Class Cinema and the Developmental Aesthetic

1. What is the Middle Class Cinema? (Rajanigandha/Golmaal)

2. Diversification of audiences

3. The Middle Class Spectator

4. The Developmental Aesthetic (Nishaant / Ankur)

4. Unit 4: Bollywood

1. What is Bollywood?

2. Globalization and the rise of a Culture Industry

3. The Emergence of the Multiplex

4. The NRI nation?