The Cinematic ImagiNation [sic]: Indian Popular Films as Social History

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Rutgers University Press, 2003 - Performing Arts - 258 pages
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"This book makes an important contribution to the field of Asian film criticism, Indian film history, cultural studies, and gender studies. The Cinematic ImagiNation provides readers with valuable insight into the relationships between nation-building, gender, sexuality, the family, and popular cinema, using post-Independence India as a case study."
--Gina Marchetti, author of Romance and the "Yellow Peril": Race, Sex, and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction

India produces more films than any other country in the world, and these works are avidly consumed by non-Western cultures in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and by the Indian communities in Australia, Britain, the Caribbean Islands, and North America. Jyotika Virdi focuses on how this dominant medium configures the "nation" in post-Independence Hindi cinema. She scrutinizes approximately thirty films that have appeared since 1950 and demonstrates how concepts of the nation form the center of this cinema's moral universe. As a kind of storytelling, Indian cinema provides a fascinating account of social history and cultural politics, with the family deployed as a symbol of the nation. Virdi demonstrates how the portrayal of the nation as a mythical community in Hindi films collapses under the weight of its own contradictions--irreconcilable differences that encompass gender, sexuality, family, class, and religious communities. Through these film narratives, the author traces transactions among the various constituencies that struggle, accommodate, coexist uneasily, or reconstitute each other over time, and, in the process, reveal the topography of postcolonial culture.
 

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Contents

Nation and Its Discontents
26
The Idealized Woman
60
Narrating the Nation
87
Heroines Romance and Social History
121
ChapterS The Sexed Body
145
Rereading Romance
178
Conclusion
205
Notes
215
Index
245
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About the author (2003)

Jyotika Virdi is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario.

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