Bollywood in the Age of New Media

Bollywood in the Age of New Media: The Geo-televisual Aesthetic

Anustup Basu
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1r2brj
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  • Book Info
    Bollywood in the Age of New Media
    Book Description:

    This is a study of popular Indian cinema in the age of globalisation, new media, and metropolitan Hindu fundamentalism, focusing on the period between 1991 and 2004.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-4323-3
    Subjects: Performing Arts

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-x)
    Anustup Basu
  5. Part I: Introduction
    • CHAPTER 1 Cinematic “Assemblages”: The 1990s and Earlier
      (pp. 3-41)

      Rakesh Roshan’s 1995 film Karan Arjun (Karan and Arjun) offers a typical cinematic example of a Dharmic¹ intervention into human affairs. What is ushered in, in a moment of acute crisis, is a cosmic power that is able to close the gap between the fallible word of human law and a divine ontology of justice. Law, it must be remembered, is for judgment, not justice.² The former is an earthly discursive phenomenon, prone to error and adjustment; the latter is a divine ideal toward which historical procedures of judgment aspire but never quite reach. Yet, in the present case, as...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Geo–televisual and Hindi Film in the Age of Information
      (pp. 42-120)

      Assemblages in A-grade popular Indian films became irresistibly geo-televisual from the beginning of the 1990s. The nation’s overall media space gradually began to open up to a global dispensation of electronic satellite exchanges after the beginning of liberalization in 1991. Life-worlds of a relatively protected, apparently endogamous domain of national culture were inundated with new vistas, spaces, goods, bodies, forms of pleasure, and style. Filmic templates in the Bombay and regional industries had to morph and adjust to this new ecology. They had to withstand, through complex measures of absorption and recoil, a plethora of sensuous pressures from a worldly...

  6. Part II: Informatics, Sovereignty, and the Cinematic City
    • CHAPTER 3 Allegories of Power/Information
      (pp. 123-155)

      In this chapter, I shall connect the theory of geo–televisual informatics and the concomitant question of a national being-in-the-world to a theme of sovereignty in contemporary India. I will examine some cinematic moments that express a new metropolitan habit of thought by which state-of-the-art informatization is immediately and inextricably tied to the desired arrival of a novel regime of power. The trope of “information” becomes emblematic of a new techno-financial imagination in these cases, one that seeks epic rewriting of an uneven third world historical landscape. This picture of information/informing emerges as a direct manifestation of an ardent religiosity...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Music of Intolerable Love: Indian Film Music, Globalization, and the Sound of Partitioned Selves
      (pp. 156-178)

      It is almost inevitable that this discussion about the geo-televisual and popular Hindi cinema of the 1990s should turn to the song sequence. But before that, let me frame the terms of engagement by attaching an aesthetic-political question of lyricism to that of Indian nationalism. In discussing the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz,¹ Aamir Mufti has posed an important question in relation to third world modernities: instead of a more conventional format of aligning categories and events into a narrative of constitution, is it possible to understand historicity as a lyrical assemblage of expressions that are obtuse and eliding in...

  7. Part III: Myth and Repetition
    • CHAPTER 5 Technopolis and the Ramayana: New Temporalities
      (pp. 181-200)

      This chapter begins with a discussion of how a primary mythic impulse of defining a nation-in-the-world acquires special tenacity amidst a new and turbulent techno-financial image universe. I shall look at how myth can be “worlded” in such a scenario, and in the next chapter at how mythic material and a concomitant notion of return can be repeated in film after film, but each time with a different sense of occasioning. From many available suspects, I have picked a science fantasy for the first task, keeping in mind that, as discussed in Chapter 2, the period under discussion witnessed the...

    • CHAPTER 6 Repetitions with Difference: Mother India and her Thousand Sons
      (pp. 201-232)

      I will open this discussion with a few more observations and questions about Rajadhyaksha’s theory of the “epic melodrama.” The objective is to further complicate the notion of mythic impelling, to historicize some such instances, and to understand how exactly and through what pains the ontological constant of Dharma can be upheld amidst the duress of modernization or financialization. The task, in other words, is to find a working theory of telling and retelling the mythic, of repeating the same amidst a sea of differences. The point is also to take a fresh look at what has long been identified...

  8. Epilogue
    (pp. 233-236)

    It is perhaps pertinent that this book ends with a critical reading of Vaastav. The dark, stifling atmosphere of the film belongs precisely to that underbelly of the city that is denied the heady exhale of the geo-televisual as informatic. Yet it is a world that is irresistibly besieged by the overall diagram of desire and value of which geo-televisual informatics is an advertising component, that is, a diagram of financialization that universalizes desire, but segments life in the city into forms that are deemed worth living and those that are not. The elemental darkness of Vaastav comes from an...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-250)
  10. Index
    (pp. 251-262)