Bombay cinema, affectionately called “Bollywood” has become the background music to our lives, whether as innocent entertainment or ‘time pass.’ However we often overlook Bollywood’s serious intent and strong ideological underpinnings. Right from its inception, with Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1913), it has shaped the public narrative in India.
While the themes of Hindi films have changed over the years -- from the patriotic Mother India to the sports-feminist Dangal, the presentation of nationalism, sports and sexualities may just be old wine in new bottles.
We will also explore how the language, fashion, music, dance, and social values embedded in Bollywood films are disseminated. International theoretical readings from ideas of nationalism, film, gender, class, and cultural studies, and literature from various parts of the world will underpin our discussions of Bombay’s film industry and our exploration of the values and ideologies embedded in apparently innocent entertainment.
One of the course’s goals is to recognize these themes and develop the analytical tools to effectively “read” a text/film, empowering us to identify challenge mainstream norms.