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Books > Performing Arts > Sex in Cinema (A History of Female Sexuality in Indian Films)
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Sex in Cinema (A History of Female Sexuality in Indian Films)
Sex in Cinema (A History of Female Sexuality in Indian Films)
Description
Back of the Book

A history of female sexuality in Indian films is a brave forthright and well researched book that analyses and puts into perspective the portrayal of women in Hindi films. It is an objective representation of women on celluloid through the generations from the early films like Pyaasa to the more contemporary Salaam Namaste. The book takes up Indian portrayal of the Indian woman in cinema and redefines the way many canonical films have been viewed thought and enjoyed.

About the Author

Fareed Kazmi is a professor of political science at the University of Allahabad and has long been associated with the study of Indian cinema and its changing facets over the years. Apart from a number of papers he has also published the politics of India’s conventional cinema imaging a universe subverting the multiverse a book that provides an interface between politics society and mass media.

Introduction

This book was waiting to be written
And for some very good reasons.
Over the last decade there has been a burgeoning of informed literature on conventional Indian cinema both in India and the west. Fascinated by its hard to understand ever increasing popularity scholars have been subjecting to their own disciplinary gaze in a bid to unravel its mystique. This has resulted in the construction of overarching theoretical models these films could be major breakthrough in film studies ushering in a departure from the standard western way of seeing films. As parmesh Shahani of the Massachusetts institute of technology argues.

I wish to shift the discourse away from the self centered literary smugness of western film theory its under theorized social and collective dimensions and the imposition of its precepts and conventions on the cinemas of other cultures towards what has been described as a third cinema theory one that emphasizes not so much the films texts themselves but the social contexts in which they are consumed.

Likewise Philip Lutgendorf wonders. Is there an Indian way of filmmaking and then goes on to categories the dominant approaches in Indian film studies. According to him there are as follows :

1. Cultural Historical this traces the distinct features of Indian cinema to older styles of oral and theoretical performances some of which survive into modern times (e.g. Dissanayke and Sahani 1992; Lutze 1985; Mishra 1985, 2002).

2. Technological analyses camerawork and sound noting the Indian filmmakers rejection of the invisible style and centering principle of classic Hollywood in favor of formality flashy camerawork and a consciously artificial stole heightened by the use of non synch sound and playback singing (e.g. Manuel, 1993; Vasudevan 2000)

3. Psychology/Mythic reads popular films as contemporary myths which through the vehicle of fantasy and the process of identification temporarily heal for their audience the principal stress arising our of Indian family relationship (e.g. Kakar, 1989 Kurtz 1992).

4. Political economic this approach grounded in Marxist theory attributes the distinctive features of Indian cinema to the material and social political conditions of twentieth century India and of the film industry itself and argues of egalitarianism individualism and radical social change within a feudal and non egalitarian status quo (e.g. Prasad 1998; Kazmi 1999).

Though Lutgendorf makes leeway for both elasticity and overlap in all these categories and some might even interrogate his summations as also the paradigms yet few would disagree that there is a definite pattern emerging in Indian film studies. No matter how staggered they might be they have developed useful tools to understand the grammar and language of Indian films map out their terrain locate their source mark out its boundaries and goalpost grasp its sensitivities and inner logic make visible its interpellating process and demystify its ideology.

Yet this is not enough for this is just the beginning of what promises to be a truly enjoyable and rewarding joyride. But for that we need to move on to the next level from a holistic gaze to the conceptualization of the fragments. Theoretical models though grounded on empirical reality draw out the big picture. This provide the contextual setting in which discrete particularities are named assume meaning gain agency become instruments and are comprehended. Having inscribed the big picture it is now imperative to microscopically study those disparate elements which have gone into its making and for long in our cultural consciousness the twin foundational bases of Indian cinema have been sex and violence it is in this context that this book was waiting to be written.

Yet there in another more pressing reason
Even while was were working on the politics of India’s conventional cinema imaging a Universe subverting a multiverse we were struck by the amazing overlap between the dominant political discourse and that of conventional cinema. Contrary to given wisdom we found that conventional cinema drew its raw material from the essential elements bore a striking resemblance to the one patronized and legitimized by the dominant political discourse. Crucial to the mapping of such a world is the construction of identities of all those who are located in it and their mutual bonding.

This draws us straightforwardly into the realm of gender relations and sexuality. However identies in general are neither simply inherited nor merely biologically determined. Shaped and crystallized in a specific social political context they are contextual and not essentialist. Clearly then man or woman are not natural or given objects for the essentialists this is a constructivist viewpoint which must be critiqued.

Essentialists and constructionists are most polarized around the issue of the relation between the social and the natural. For the essentialist the natural provides the raw material and determinative starting point for the practices and laws of the social for example sexual difference (the division into male and female) is taken as prior to social differences which are presumed to be mapped on to a posteriori the biological subject for the constructionist the natural is itself posited as a construction of the social in the view sexual difference is discursively produced elaborated as an effect of the social rather than its tabula rasa its prior object. Thus while the essentialist holds that the natural is repressed by the social the constructions maintains that the natural is produced by the social.

Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xiii
1Locating Feminism/s 1
2Mapping sexuality 43
3Representation of women in cinema 87
4The 1950s 102
5The 1960s 144
6The 1970s 193
7The 1980s 228
8The 1990s 269
9New Millennium 308
References 354
Index 363

Sex in Cinema (A History of Female Sexuality in Indian Films)

Item Code:
IHL194
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2010
Publisher:
Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN:
9788129116215
Size:
9.0 Inch X 6.0 Inch
Pages:
398
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 455 gms
Price:
$35.00   Shipping Free
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Back of the Book

A history of female sexuality in Indian films is a brave forthright and well researched book that analyses and puts into perspective the portrayal of women in Hindi films. It is an objective representation of women on celluloid through the generations from the early films like Pyaasa to the more contemporary Salaam Namaste. The book takes up Indian portrayal of the Indian woman in cinema and redefines the way many canonical films have been viewed thought and enjoyed.

About the Author

Fareed Kazmi is a professor of political science at the University of Allahabad and has long been associated with the study of Indian cinema and its changing facets over the years. Apart from a number of papers he has also published the politics of India’s conventional cinema imaging a universe subverting the multiverse a book that provides an interface between politics society and mass media.

Introduction

This book was waiting to be written
And for some very good reasons.
Over the last decade there has been a burgeoning of informed literature on conventional Indian cinema both in India and the west. Fascinated by its hard to understand ever increasing popularity scholars have been subjecting to their own disciplinary gaze in a bid to unravel its mystique. This has resulted in the construction of overarching theoretical models these films could be major breakthrough in film studies ushering in a departure from the standard western way of seeing films. As parmesh Shahani of the Massachusetts institute of technology argues.

I wish to shift the discourse away from the self centered literary smugness of western film theory its under theorized social and collective dimensions and the imposition of its precepts and conventions on the cinemas of other cultures towards what has been described as a third cinema theory one that emphasizes not so much the films texts themselves but the social contexts in which they are consumed.

Likewise Philip Lutgendorf wonders. Is there an Indian way of filmmaking and then goes on to categories the dominant approaches in Indian film studies. According to him there are as follows :

1. Cultural Historical this traces the distinct features of Indian cinema to older styles of oral and theoretical performances some of which survive into modern times (e.g. Dissanayke and Sahani 1992; Lutze 1985; Mishra 1985, 2002).

2. Technological analyses camerawork and sound noting the Indian filmmakers rejection of the invisible style and centering principle of classic Hollywood in favor of formality flashy camerawork and a consciously artificial stole heightened by the use of non synch sound and playback singing (e.g. Manuel, 1993; Vasudevan 2000)

3. Psychology/Mythic reads popular films as contemporary myths which through the vehicle of fantasy and the process of identification temporarily heal for their audience the principal stress arising our of Indian family relationship (e.g. Kakar, 1989 Kurtz 1992).

4. Political economic this approach grounded in Marxist theory attributes the distinctive features of Indian cinema to the material and social political conditions of twentieth century India and of the film industry itself and argues of egalitarianism individualism and radical social change within a feudal and non egalitarian status quo (e.g. Prasad 1998; Kazmi 1999).

Though Lutgendorf makes leeway for both elasticity and overlap in all these categories and some might even interrogate his summations as also the paradigms yet few would disagree that there is a definite pattern emerging in Indian film studies. No matter how staggered they might be they have developed useful tools to understand the grammar and language of Indian films map out their terrain locate their source mark out its boundaries and goalpost grasp its sensitivities and inner logic make visible its interpellating process and demystify its ideology.

Yet this is not enough for this is just the beginning of what promises to be a truly enjoyable and rewarding joyride. But for that we need to move on to the next level from a holistic gaze to the conceptualization of the fragments. Theoretical models though grounded on empirical reality draw out the big picture. This provide the contextual setting in which discrete particularities are named assume meaning gain agency become instruments and are comprehended. Having inscribed the big picture it is now imperative to microscopically study those disparate elements which have gone into its making and for long in our cultural consciousness the twin foundational bases of Indian cinema have been sex and violence it is in this context that this book was waiting to be written.

Yet there in another more pressing reason
Even while was were working on the politics of India’s conventional cinema imaging a Universe subverting a multiverse we were struck by the amazing overlap between the dominant political discourse and that of conventional cinema. Contrary to given wisdom we found that conventional cinema drew its raw material from the essential elements bore a striking resemblance to the one patronized and legitimized by the dominant political discourse. Crucial to the mapping of such a world is the construction of identities of all those who are located in it and their mutual bonding.

This draws us straightforwardly into the realm of gender relations and sexuality. However identies in general are neither simply inherited nor merely biologically determined. Shaped and crystallized in a specific social political context they are contextual and not essentialist. Clearly then man or woman are not natural or given objects for the essentialists this is a constructivist viewpoint which must be critiqued.

Essentialists and constructionists are most polarized around the issue of the relation between the social and the natural. For the essentialist the natural provides the raw material and determinative starting point for the practices and laws of the social for example sexual difference (the division into male and female) is taken as prior to social differences which are presumed to be mapped on to a posteriori the biological subject for the constructionist the natural is itself posited as a construction of the social in the view sexual difference is discursively produced elaborated as an effect of the social rather than its tabula rasa its prior object. Thus while the essentialist holds that the natural is repressed by the social the constructions maintains that the natural is produced by the social.

Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction xiii
1Locating Feminism/s 1
2Mapping sexuality 43
3Representation of women in cinema 87
4The 1950s 102
5The 1960s 144
6The 1970s 193
7The 1980s 228
8The 1990s 269
9New Millennium 308
References 354
Index 363
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