Skip to content

History, Politics, Bollywood

CWL 451

This course offers an advanced introduction to Indian cinema for graduates and advanced undergraduates. Indian cinema is a multilingual, multilocal behemoth, producing more than 2,000 films every year in 50 languages and dialects. Bollywood, the popular name for Hindi cinema produced in the city of Bombay/Mumbai, accounts for less than one-fifth of all Indian cinemas. Students will read about the colonial backdrop of Indian cinema’s emergence, the evolution of the star-centric system, musical melodramas, and popular cinema’s perennial struggles against the state’s policies and mandates. Apart from an informed study of the historical background of Bollywood and other Indian popular cinemas, students will get to learn about the ‘new cinema’ or parallel cinema movements in India and the work of such Indian auteurs as Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal et al. This course will offer the students the opportunity to use digital methods and tools for studying cinema. No background in digital methods or knowledge in Indian languages are required. Coursework will include one term paper and two digital projects.