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Orienting Hollywood

Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture between Los Angeles and Bombay

Nitin Govil
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Orienting Hollywood
    Book Description:

    With American cinema facing intense technological and financial challenges both at home and abroad, and with Indian media looking to globalize, there have been numerous high-profile institutional connections between Hollywood and Bombay cinema in the past few years. Many accounts have proclaimed India's transformation in a relatively short period from a Hollywood outpost to a frontier of opportunity.

    Orienting Hollywoodmoves beyond the conventional popular wisdom that Hollywood and Bombay cinema have only recently become intertwined because of economic priorities, instead uncovering a longer history of exchange. Through archival research, interviews, industry sources, policy documents, and cultural criticism, Nitin Govil not only documents encounters between Hollywood and India but also shows how connections were imagined over a century of screen exchange. Employing a comparative framework, Govil details the history of influence, traces the nature of interoperability, and textures the contact between Hollywood and Bombay cinema by exploring both the reality and imagination of encounter.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6473-2
    Subjects: Sociology, Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: Narrating Encounter
    (pp. 1-40)

    Do we needanotherbook on global Hollywood? Is there really anything new to say? After all, Hollywood remains the most well-documented media industry in the world. Setting the standards for success and failure across the international media trade, Hollywood is so omnipresent that much of the history of cinema seems captive to its domination.

    This is a different kind of book about global Hollywood.

    This book is different because its starting point is a place where Hollywooddoesn’tseem to matter much—India. Let me explain. A lot of writing on Hollywood acknowledges its powerful global reach. Nevertheless the...

  5. 1 Framing the Copy: Media Industries and the Poetics of Resemblance
    (pp. 41-76)

    As I noted in the introduction, contemporary media discourse imagines Hollywood and Bombay cinema in a dance of difference and similarity: in one moment, facing each other as opposites; in another, joined in partnership. Bombay cinema is often described in terms of excess, chaos, prolixity, and national particularity, while Hollywood is defined by efficiency, transparency, economy, and global universality.

    In this chapter, I engage these dynamics of contrast and identity to reimagine the historical relations between Hollywood and Bombay cinema. My focus here is the copy, which I understand as ideology, analytic, practice, and artifact. As an extended meditation on...

  6. 2 Managing Exchange: Geographies of Finance in the Media Industries
    (pp. 77-114)

    Described as a “Mahabharata in polyester,” the long-standing feud between the Ambani brothers remains India’s best-known corporate soap opera.¹ Mukesh and Anil are the sons of Dhirubhai Ambani, a onetime textile magnate who transformed Reliance Industries into India’s largest company and helped launch widespread retail stock investment in India. After Dhirubhai died in 2002, simmering family disagreements boiled over into the public arena and Reliance was split, with elder brother Mukesh taking over the company’s massive energy, chemical, textile, and retail market interests. Operating through the new Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (ADA) Group, the younger brother took charge of telecommunication,...

  7. 3 The Theater of Influence: Reimagining Indian Film Exhibition
    (pp. 115-152)

    For all its contemporary connotations, addressing the multiplex as a “small bit of America” recalls historical associations between Indian public culture and the United States. As early as the 1910s, with foreign pictures dominating Indian screens, the movies were seen as “the American shrine” that threatened to pull audiences away from more traditionally religious forms of congregation.¹ The recent rise of the multiscreen theater in India engages this long-standing connection between public exhibition, social life, and economic aspiration.

    The object of fascination in the epigraph above, Priya Village Roadshow’s (PVR) Anupam 4, opened in the South Delhi neighborhood of Saket...

  8. 4 Economies of Devotion: Affective Engagement and the Subject(s) of Labor
    (pp. 153-182)

    This chapter focuses on the routes and routines of working bodies in transnational screen culture. Drawing the historical into contemporary practice, I attend to the question of how subjectivity and labor—marked by racial, religious, class, and national difference—become defined by various itineraries of contact between Bombay and Hollywood. My interest here is in both the formalized trajectories through which labor travels and the more extemporaneous processes that distribute the activity of real and represented bodies in the social worlds of work.

    Cultural labor can be understood as process, artifact, interaction, and imaginary. Labor expresses the body’s relationship to...

  9. Conclusion: Close Encounters of the Industrial Kind
    (pp. 183-192)

    In March 2013, some thirty years after his last trip to India and on the heels of his most recent film release,Lincoln, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg visited Mumbai. There was ample cause for his return. After all,Lincolnwas coproduced by the Mumbai-based media conglomerate Reliance Entertainment, which had entered into a merger with Spielberg’s banner DreamWorks in 2008.

    At the time of the merger, press commentators saw the Indo-American alignment in the newly christened Reliance DreamWorks as a fable of “starry-eyed suitors eager and hungry to be part of the fantasy of it all”; proof that when it...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 193-234)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 235-244)
    (pp. 245-245)