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South Asia Department

Cinema and Society in South Asia

Course Code:
155900826
Unit value:
1
Year of study:
Year 2, Year 3 or Year 4
Taught in:
Full Year

Prerequisites

None

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

This course offers students an introduction to a vital aspect of contemporary Indian culture. It is designed to give a coherent overview of the development of popular cinema within India, with an emphasis on Hindi films produced in Bombay. Tracing the development of Indian popular cinema from 1913 onward, the course considers the evolution and nature of different film genres, the role of film and popular culture in colonial and independent India, film music, and regional diversity.

Workload

This course is taught over 20 weeks with 2 hours contact per week and one film viewing per week (3 hours) as well as preparation for class discussions and essay writing.

Scope and syllabus

Term 1 traces the development of cinema in India, beginning with an introduction to the study of Indian cinema, examining the silent era, the studio period, the ‘Golden Age’, the so-called ‘segmentation’ of cinema, the action cinema, and cinema in the recent media transformation. Two lectures look more closely at the work of two major directors who transformed the Indian cinema.
Term 2 looks at central issues in the study of Indian cinema, focusing on the variety of cinemas in India in terms of ‘art’ and ‘commercial’ cinema, of ‘regional’ and ‘national’ cinemas. It pays particular attention to the evolution and nature of different film genres, the role of film music and language and the question of film style.

Films to be viewed include:

  • Amar Akbar Anthony
  • Awaara
  • Bobby
  • Deewar
  • Devdas
  • Dilwale Dulhaniya le jayenge
  • Junglee
  • Kaagaz ke phool
  • Kabhi kabhie
  • Mother India
  • Pakeezah
  • Pyaasa
  • Sholay
  • Shri 420

Method of assessment

An essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on Monday, Week 10, Term 1 (30%); an essay of 3,000 words to be submitted on Monday, Week 10, term 2 (30%); 8 analyses of films (500-700 words; in Term 1 two submissions should be made by Friday of Week 6 and one by Friday of Week 8 and one by Friday of Week 10.  In Term 2 submissions should be made on Friday of Weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8), the best 5 will be selected (30%); a presentation (15 minutes duration) in term 2 (10%).

Suggested reading

The reading list for this course will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the course.