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Bombay Cinema

Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City

Ranjani Mazumdar
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    Bombay Cinema
    Book Description:

    Cinema is not only a major industry in India, it is a powerful cultural force. In Bombay Cinema, Ranjani Mazumdar takes a multidisciplinary approach to understanding Bombay cinema as the unofficial archive of the city in India. In this analysis, Mazumdar reveals a complex postnationalist world, convulsed by the social crisis of the 1970s and transformed by the experience of globalization in the 1990s._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5437-6
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Urban Allegories
    (pp. xvii-xxxviii)

    Film in India has always testified to the powerful public presence of modernity. The sheer vastness of the film public points to the overwhelming presence of a vibrant film culture. The Bombay-based film industry resonates throughout the world, in places where the Indian diaspora has settled and in places where nonnative speakers appreciate its unique choreography of music, melodrama, fantasy, and spectacle. Much of popular cinema’s success can be attributed to what many in the industry refer to as a “techno folk” form, which combines folk traditions with new cinematic technology. What appears to the uninitiated as exotic, bizarre, and...

  6. CHAPTER ONE Rage on Screen
    (pp. 1-40)

    Anger, says scriptwriter Salim Khan, is a powerful human emotion that lends itself to creative possibilities.¹ The articulation of a tragic and divided urban subjectivity has played an enormous role in cinema, working primarily through the performative power of anger. When combined with revenge, anger allows one to create a temporality of past, present, and future through which the revenge plot reaches its climactic resolution. In the revenge narrative, the past is the site of traumatic memory to be settled in the future. Constructed as journeys driven by a sense of rage, revenge narratives can play out an unusual cartography...

  7. CHAPTER TWO The Rebellious Tapori
    (pp. 41-78)

    If a simmering rage drove the “angry man” and the “psychotic” in their explorations of the city, then thetapori(vagabond) speaks to a structure of feeling strongly rooted in the hybrid cultures of Bombay’s multilingual and regional diversity. Performance and performative gestures are crucial to the tapori’s agency. This performance deploys sharp street humor and an everyday street language, in addition to a deep skepticism toward power and wealth. Using the popularBambayyalanguage as his weapon against an unequal world, the tapori creates a space through insubordination that endows him with a certain dignity in the cinematic city....

  8. CHAPTER THREE Desiring Women
    (pp. 79-109)

    Drawing inspiration from the feminist interventions made in the terrain of the cinematic city, this chapter looks at the performance of an urban anxiety about women’s sexuality to present the city as a site of deviance and moral anxiety. A conscious attempt to foreground questions of gender in the understanding of urban vision has been a much needed and welcome development in the rising interest on the cinematic city. One of the pioneers in this understanding is Guiliana Bruno (1993), whose feminist analysis of the geography of space as elaborated in the work of Italian filmmaker Elvira Notari significantly pushed...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Panoramic Interior
    (pp. 110-148)

    If consumption played the decisive role in challenging certain gendered moral codes, it also triggered an intriguing dislocation of the “real” and the virtual city in the family films produced after globalization.¹ The new family films focus on consumer-oriented families, speaking to “tradition” yet geared to global mobility. A hallmark of the family film is the play with lavish interior spaces. The new panoramic interior² combines design techniques with architectural space to create a “virtual city” in which the contemporary “global” family could reinvent “Indianness” and modernity. In this scenario, the space of the Bombay street, thechawl, the train,...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Gangland Bombay
    (pp. 149-196)

    In his unusual bookMaximum City, Suketu Mehta presents the reader with an assortment of characters, including film personalities, bar girls, gangsters, and rioters, to create a labyrinthine psychological world, which, according to Mehta, defines the culture of Bombay.Maximum City’s landscape carves out a world of greed, fear, violence, and riots. While these experiences are certainly not unique to Bombay, Mehta nevertheless manages to capture a certain sensibility and everyday world of stories and legends as they float in the city’s density. In so doing,Maximum Citybecame the first major attempt in nonfiction writing to take seriously certain...

  11. CONCLUSION: After Life
    (pp. 197-212)

    In his classic workThe Fall of Public Man, Richard Sennett writes, “A dialectical enquiry means that the argument is complete only when the book has come to an end. You cannot state ‘the theory’ all at once and then lay it like a map over the historical terrain” (1974, 6). Sennett’s position is deeply modernist in that it gestures to the notion of a “complete” argument at the end of the narrative. My own agenda in this book has been less emphatic about the idea of an “end.” However, I would go along with Sennett’s prescription that theoretical understanding...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 213-230)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 231-244)
  14. Index
    (pp. 245-258)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)