Indian Cinema: Its History and Social Context

Key information

Module not running
Module code
FHEQ Level
South Asia Section

Module overview

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

This module is designed to give a coherent overview of the development of popular cinema within India, with an emphasis on Hindi films produced in Bombay. The objective is to contextualise this cinema and to study closely particular films so students will be able to analyse critically key films for the study of Indian film and to understand the historical development of this cinema in the context of Indian society.


A total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week (1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar) and a film viewing (3 hours).

Scope and syllabus

Nine weeks will trace 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.

Films to be viewed include:

  • Devdas
  • Kaagaz ke phool
  • Junglee
  • Bobby
  • Awaara
  • Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge
  • Rang de basanti
  • Shri 420
  • Pyaasa
  • Andaaz

Method of assessment

An essay of 3000 words to be submitted on Monday of Week 10 (70%),

3 analyses of films of 700 words each:

  • no.1 to be submitted by Friday of Week 2 (10%)
  • no. 2 to be submitted by Friday of Week 5 (10%)
  • no. 3 to be submitted by Friday of Week 7 (10%)

Suggested reading

The reading list is put on moodle before the module begins, along with an outline indicating the weekly readings.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules