SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Indian Cinema: Key Issues

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2016/2017
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The objective is to achieve an analytical overview of the key issues to be addressed in studying Indian cinema. The student will learn to analyse films critically and to read them in the context of writings in film studies, language, literary and cultural studies to see how they can be used productively in the study of Indian cinema.


A total of 11 weeks teaching with 2/3 hours classroom contact per week and a film viewing (3 hours) as well as preparation for classroom discussions.

Scope and syllabus

This course 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. The course introduces key writing on these topics found in a range of disciplines (mostly film studies, language, literary and cultural studies).

Films to be viewed include:

  • Kabhi kabhie
  • Pakeezah
  • Mother India
  • Deewaar
  • Sholay
  • Amar Akbar Anthony
  • Chess-players
  • Umrao Jaan
  • Roja
  • Mr India

Method of assessment

One 4,500 word essay to be submitted on Monday of Week 10, Term 2 (70%); 5 analyses of films (500-700 words) where the best 3 contribute to the final grade (10% each), due by the Friday of Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 in Term 2.

Suggested reading

The reading list will be put on Blackboard before the course begins, along with a course outline which indicates weekly readings.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules