Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Global Bollywood

Global Bollywood

Anandam P. Kavoori
Aswin Punathambekar
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 336
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Global Bollywood
    Book Description:

    Publisher Description not available

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-4033-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction: Global Bollywood
    (pp. 1-14)
    Aswin Punathambekar and Anandam Kavoori

    Aishwarya Rai made it to the cover ofTimemagazine, and even taught Oprah Winfrey and her viewers to wear a sari; The Simpsons ended their trip to India with a dance set to a Hindi film song; Bollywood films sold more tickets in the United Kingdom than English-language films; the Indian government granted “industry” status to cinema, and instructed Bollywood to set its house in order and speak the language of “corporatization”; Bollywood stars, no longer obliged to entertain the mafia, partied at Cannes instead; urban India mourned the decline of single-screen theaters but quickly grew accustomed to glitzy...

  4. PART I Framing Bollywood

    • Chapter 1 The “Bollywoodization” of the Indian Cinema: Cultural Nationalism in a Global Arena
      (pp. 17-40)
      Ashish Rajadhyaksha

      The West may have the biggest stalls in the world’s media bazaar, but it is not the only player. Globalization isn’t merely another word for Americanization—and the recent expansion of the Indian entertainment industry proves it. For hundreds of millions of fans around the world, it is Bollywood—India’s film industry—not Hollywood, that spins their screen fantasies. Bollywood, based in Mumbai, has become a global industry. India’s entertainment moguls don’t merely target the billion South Asians, or desis, at home: they make slick movies, songs, and TV shows for export. Attracted by a growing middle class and a...

    • Chapter 2 Surviving Bollywood
      (pp. 41-51)
      M. Madhava Prasad

      It is precisely the act of naming that is the most interesting aspect of Bollywood. It is a strange name, a hybrid, that seems to at once mock the thing it names and celebrate its difference. And in spite of a few murmurs of protest from the industry, the name has now come to stay. Today, the term “Bollywood” has become naturalized not only in the English-language media, which is probably the term’s original habitat, but also the Indian-language press, not only among journalists but also film scholars. One kind of response to this development has been a sense of...

    • Chapter 3 Mumbai versus Bollywood: The Hindi Film Industry and the Politics of Cultural Heritage in Contemporary India
      (pp. 52-78)
      Tejaswini Ganti

      On a July afternoon near Bombay’s Nariman Point, people pushed and shoved, straining to get a glimpse of the film stars standing on the platform erected by the sea.¹ Two men simultaneously sounded their highpitched horns shaped like elephant tusks, signaling to the drummers behind them to start beating their barrel-shaped drums. Policemen held back the crowds as men and women attired in hobbyhorses started swaying to the drumbeat. Women with their hair pulled back in buns encircled by garlands of jasmine and wearing maroon nine-yard saris in the Maharashtrian style (pulled between their legs and fastened in the back)...

    • Chapter 4 Hollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood: Redefining the Global in Indian Cinema
      (pp. 79-96)
      Shanti Kumar

      Given the dominance of Hollywood productions in the global media industry, academic and journalistic debates over the rapid increase in transnational flows of television and film have emphasized the potential for either homogenization or fragmentation of national cinemas and television cultures around the world (Gupta and Dayal 1996; Herman and Mc-Chesney 1997; Thussu 1998).¹ However, little attention has been focused on the ways in which the globalization of production practices outside Hollywood has significantly transformed the circulation of films and television programs around the world.

      In terms of Hollywood’s role in film and television production, John Hannigan, Michael Sorkin, and...

    • Chapter 5 The Globalization of “Bollywood” The Hype and the Hope
      (pp. 97-114)
      Daya Kishan Thussu

      From Kenya to Kazakhstan and from Morocco to Malaysia, Indian films have found an eager audience. As India integrates further into a globalized free-market economy, Indian films are likely to have a global reach attracting new viewers, beyond their traditional South Asian diasporic constituency. In this chapter, I aim to map this phenomenon, examining the hype associated with globalization of Indian cinema and the hope that it may generate more pluralist global cultural interactions. I will examine how a combination of national and transnational factors, including deregulation of media and communication sectors, the availability of new delivery and distribution mechanisms...

  5. PART II Texts and Audiences

    • Chapter 6 Our Violence, Their Violence: Exploring the Emotional and Relational Matrix of Terrorist Cinema
      (pp. 117-130)
      Vamsee Juluri

      It may be a nice thing that the issue of violence has not dominated debates about Indian cinema as it has those about Hollywood. Although violence is increasingly apparent in the gangster movies of the last decade, and also in the much discussed example of Hindu-Muslim conflict movies, the thought that this is a cinema that has emerged from the genre of the mythological, from movies like the belovedMaya Bazaar(1957 Telugu), with its battle scenes of politely dueling arrows and verses, is reassuring rather than threatening. However, neither Indian cinema, nor the real world it is situated in,...

    • Chapter 7 Exoticized, Marginalized, Demonized: The Muslim “Other” in Indian Cinema
      (pp. 131-145)
      Kalyani Chadha and Anandam P. Kavoori

      As a nation, India has traditionally sought to define its post-colonial identity in secular, multiethnic terms, characterizing itself as a country where diverse faiths, languages, and cultures co-exist peacefully within the boundaries of a single state. Thus, even though the country was formed out of a partition marked by bloody communal violence in 1947, India’s self-definition has typically been one of a tolerant, even syncretic, society that has assimilated and absorbed significant cultural and religious diff erences.

      In this particular characterization of the country, India is a melting pot whose distinctive strength lies in “its ability to transform invasion into...

    • Chapter 8 The Mirror Has Many Faces: The Politics of Male Same-Sex Desire in BOMgAY and Gulabi Aaina
      (pp. 146-163)
      Parmesh Shahani

      With this simple declaration of the harsh reality surrounding homosexuality in India, the doors of India’s cinematic closet were thrown open in December 1996 asBOMgAY—the country’s first “gay” film—was screened at Bombay’s National Center for the Performing Arts. The provocative 12-minute film captured a complex and nuanced slice of upper-middleclass homosexual life in Bombay city. In the months and years that followed, as Riyad Vinci Wadia, the film’s director, blazed a trail of media frenzy across India’s tabloids with his bold clothes and diva-esque antics at the high-society soirées,BOMgAY’s bold theme and gritty visuals made it...

    • Chapter 9 “Bring Back the Old Films, Our Culture Is in Disrepute”: Hindi Film and the Construction of Femininity in Guyana
      (pp. 164-179)
      Atticus Narain

      One of the major sources of cultural renewal for Indo-Guyanese is Hindi films. They watch as if their very existence depends upon it, and in terms of identity it does. While Hindi films cater to diverse international audiences, there are few studies that examine how such films frame the expectations of audiences—as in the Guyanese case—for whom these films are the primary sources of cultural confirmation. Even as Hindi films construct a moralistic caricature of Indian mores, they authenticate a notion of “Indianness” for Guyanese whose ties to the subcontinent have long been severed. In the context of...

    • Chapter 10 “From Villain to Traditional Housewife!”: The Politics of Globalization and Women’s Sexuality in the “New” Indian Media
      (pp. 180-202)
      Padma P. Govindan and Bisakha Dutta

      The Bombay film industry in the twenty-first century, or “Bollywood,” as it is commonly known,¹ exemplifies what Appadurai (1996) has termed “mediascape”: it taps into a large complex repertoire of images and narratives from a global cultural warehouse.² Within this mediascape, Indian actresses represent a nexus, an intersectionn of different discourses around issues of sexuality, desire, agency, and representation. Global media flows are registered on several levels in the Indian film actress’s presence—the clothes she wears, the choreography of the dances, the settings for the dances, the music—each is a hybrid product that innovatively incorporates the “global” within...

    • Chapter 11 Songs from the Heart: Musical Coding, Emotional Sentiment, and Transnational Sonic Identity in India’s Popular Film Music
      (pp. 203-220)
      Natalie Sarrazin

      The Hindi expressiondil se(from the heart) is a common refrain found in film dialogues, titles, and song lyrics that captures the essence of Hindi popular film melodrama and its music. Dramatically, Indian cinema is long known for its dependence on melodrama as a primary vehicle of expression. Abounding in romantic sentiment and agonizing situations, Hindi film’s melodrama is a well-discussed phenomenon, where overemotive acting and emotional subjectivity dominate plot lines, characterizations, staging, dialogue, scenes, and songs.¹ Musically, Indian cinema is differentiated from other world cinemas due to its enthusiastic inclusion of film songs, with five to seven in...

  6. PART III Beyond Film:: Stars, Fans, and Participatory Culture

    • Chapter 12 Deewar/Wall (1975) Fact, Fiction, and the Making of a Superstar
      (pp. 223-239)
      Jyotika Virdi

      Amitabh Bachchan’s performance inDeewar/Wall(Yash Chopra, 1975), andZanjeer/Chain(Prakash Mehra, 1973) a few years earlier, transformed his initial middle cinema actor status into the now clichéd “angry man” figure, that insignia of his unprecedented stardom in popular Indian cinema. Understanding stardom, particularly Amitabh Bachchan’s phenomenal success in the 1970s and 1980s, provided a significant impulse to Indian cinema studies in the late 1980s. His superstar status prompted canonization in more than a handful of scholarly works, and everything from his films and the tumultuous political period to his personal background and unusual physical appearance are configured in calibrating...

    • Chapter 13 The Indian Film Magazine, Stardust
      (pp. 240-267)
      Rachel Dwyer

      Cinema reaches into almost every area of modern Indian urban culture, across every aspect of the media, from satellite and cable television, to the video industry, the popular music business, and magazine publishing.¹ These domains are mutually dependent and form dense networks of narratives and images which contribute to the viewing experience in the cinema hall. Some of these media are so recent (satellite and cable TV appeared in India only in 1992), it is not surprising that these key spinoff s of the cinema industry have been little researched.² One of these is film magazines, which date back to...

    • Chapter 14 Bollyweb: Search for Bollywood on the Web and See What Happens!
      (pp. 268-281)
      Ananda Mitra

      A casual search for the term “Bollywood” using two of the popular search engines produces quite staggering results. For instance, when done using Google, it produced nearly 36 million hits, whereas the term resulted in nearly 24 million hits when searched using Yahoo. While the number of hits is different, and the counts are dependent on a variety of factors such as the way a search engine operates, the exact time when the search is conducted, and several other technical issues, the fact remains that there are numerous digital discourses accessible on the Internet that have some connection with the...

    • Chapter 15 “We’re Online, Not on the Streets”: Indian Cinema, New Media, and Participatory Culture
      (pp. 282-299)
      Aswin Punathambekar

      On September 14, 2005, Tamil film star Vijaykant announced his entry into politics by converting his fan association into a political party.¹ TheDesiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam(DMDK, National Progressive Dravidian Party) was launched at a conference organized by the Tamilnadu Vijaykant Fan Association, with the secretary of the fan association (Ramu Vasanthan) assuming the role of general secretary of the DMDK. The fan association’s flag was adopted as the party flag as well. For several months preceding this conference, members of the fan association worked tirelessly to publicize and raise funds for the conference. Pointing to their preparedness for...

  7. Afterword: Fast-Forward into the Future, Haunted by the Past: Bollywood Today
    (pp. 300-306)
    Arvind Rajagopal

    There is no easy conclusion that can follow this rich offering of essays. In its latest incarnation as “Bollywood,” as several of the writers here show, Hindi cinema has indeed become accessorized as part of today’s cosmopolitansavoir-faire, comfortably included in the swelling repository of “globalcult,” the counterpart of what Dwight MacDonald in 1961 termed masscult.

    It seems like only a few years ago that Hindi cinema was discovered by scholars to be a national medium, expressing a popular sense of an all-India collective before one could really be said to exist.¹ Until recently, after all, the developmental state seemed...

  8. About the Contributors
    (pp. 307-310)
  9. Index
    (pp. 311-314)