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Books > Performing Arts > Cinema > The Melodramatic Public
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The Melodramatic Public
The Melodramatic Public
Description

About the Book

 

The melodramatic public draws on melodrama as a key conceptual apparatus to understand how entertainment cinema in India drew audiences into complex passages of historical change. As the seeming consensus of the 1950s about nation-building unraveled in the 1970s, and globalization introduced new economic and territorial compulsions, Indian cinema offered compelling testimony to debates about economic advancement, social justice, inter-community conflict, and urban lifestyles.

 

Melodrama provided a narrative architecture and an expressive form which connected the public and the private, as well as the personal and the political, in ways which engaged audiences emotionally. In continuous dialogue with cinematic 'others'-within American cinema, in Indian popular cinema, and in a realist art cinema-mainstream melodrama also underwent significant mutations. This book explores the dynamics of form and narrative strategy across a wide repertoire of film practices. These include the pioneer D.G. Phalke, popular 'auteur' Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, industry moguls Aditya and Yash Chopra, mainstream innovators Mani Rarhnam, Kamalahasan, and Ram Gopal Verma, and art and documentary cinema icons Satyajit Ray and Anand Patwardhan.

 

The book concludes with the contemporary global moment associated with 'Hollywood'. It considers changes in state policy and industrial organization, and the impact of digital technologies, new economies of consumption, and wider export markets on Indian film culture.

 

About the Author

 

RAVI VASUDEVAN works at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, and is co-initiator of Sarai, the Centre's programme on media and urban research. He has taught Film Studies at universities in India and the USA, and held fellowships at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Princeton. His articles have been widely published, anthologized, and translated. He is editorial advisor to Screen, founding editor of Bio Scope (a journal of South Asian screen studies), and has edited making Meaning in Indian Cinema (2000).

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgements

xiii

Introduction

1

1

Indian Cinema Today

1

And yesterday

4

2

The Thematics of Melodrama

8

3

The shifting Agenda of Film Studies in India

10

1

The melodramatic public

16

I:

DEBATES IN MELODRAMA STUDIEIS

17

1

The Archaeology of Melodrama in Euro-American Theatre and Cinema

17

2

Melodrama as Generalized mode of Cinematic Narration

20

3

Melodrama vs Classical Narrative Cinema

26

4

The post-Colonial Question: Melodrama vs Realism

28

5

Deconstructing the Universal and the National

31

II:

THINKING ABOUT MELODRAMA IN INDIAN CINEMA

34

6

Pre-Cinema Histories

34

7

Film form: The Heterogeneous Popular Format

38

8

Melodramatic Interventions

42

9

'Horizontal' and 'Vertical' Articulations

46

10

Revisiting Melodrama in Hollywood

56

 

PART I

 

Melodramatic and other Publics

65

 

Introduction

67

 

Narrative Forms and Modes of Address in Indian Cinema

67

2

Shifting Codes, Dissolving Identities: Realist Art Cinema Criticism and Popular Film Form

74

1

Critical Discourses in the 1950s

75

2

Popular Narrative Form

81

Visual Figures

82

Appropriations and Transformations of 'Modern' Codes

86

The Street and the Dissolution of social Identity

88

Iconic Transactions

89

3

Redefining the Popular: Melodrama and Realism

94

4

The Popular Cultural Politics of the Social Film

95

3

The Cultural Politics of Address in a 'Transitional' Cinema

98

1

Indian Popular Cinema Genres and Discourses of Transformation

102

2

Dominant Currents in Contemporary Criticism

105

3

The Politics of Indian melodrama

108

4

Iconicity, Frontality, and the Tableau Frame

110

The Reconstruction of the Icon

112

Darshan

114

Tableau, Time, and Subjectivity

118

5

The political Terms of Spectatorial Subjectivity

125

4

Neither State Nor Faith: Mediating Sectarian Conflict in popular Cinema

130

1

Community Typology and public Form in popular Cinema

131

2

Phalke and the Typological Discourse of Early Cinema

137

3

The Social Film: Community Typage/ Modernity/Psychology

141

4

The Historical Film: Differentiating Historical and Contemporary Publics

145

5

The Transcendental Location of Stellar Bodies

150

Raj Kapoor

151

Nana Patekar

157

5

A Modernist Public: The Double-Take of Modernism in the Work of Satyajit Ray

163

1

Ray's Films: Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and a History of the Present

166

The Modernism of the Trilogy

168

2

The Unfinished Agenda of History

181

Charulata (1964)

183

3

The Contemporary

191

Aranyer Din Ratri (1969)

192

Jana Aranya (1975)

192

PART II CINEMA AND TERRITORIAL IMAGINATION IN THE SUBCONTINENT: TAMILNADU AND INDIA

199

INTRODUCTION

201

1

The Formation of a pan-Indian Market: Inter-Regional Translatability in the Cinema of Social Reform

202

2

Differentiated Territories of a Sub continental Cinema Before and After Nation-State Formation

205

6

VOICE, SPACE, FORM: The symbolic and Territorial Itinerary of Mani Rathnam's Roja (1992)

213

1

Kashmir and Tamilnadu

213

2

The politics of Identity

219

3

Tamilness as Intractable Edifice

221

4

The Connotations of place

223

5

The Recalibration of Popular

224

7

Bombay (Mani Rathnam, 1995) and Its Publics

229

1

Plot Synopsis

229

2

Towards a Modern Identity: The Basic Narrative Structure

231

3

The Representation of Inter-Community Differences

233

4

Journalistic Effects and Truth Claims: The pattern of Public Events

234

5

The navigation of Sectarian Difference: Community and Sexuality

245

6

Self-Alienation in the Constitution of Decommunalized Space

251

7

Melodramatic Identification: The Claims of self-Sacrifice

253

8

Another History Rises to the Surface: Melodrama in the Age of Digital simulation: Hey Ram! (Kamalahasan, 1999)

259

1

Plot synopsis

259

2

A New History?

262

3

Publicizing an Unofficial History

266

4

Narrative Form: Dropping the Quotation

268

5

Reading Hindutva Masculinity

269

6

'Lifting the Mogul Pardha'

271

7

Melodrama: performativity and Expressivity

272

8

Melodrama in the Age of Digital Simulation

277

 

PART III

 

MELODRAMA MUTATED AND DIFFERENTIATED: NARRATIVE FORM, URBAN VISTAS, AND NEW PUBLICS IN A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT

291

 

INTRODUCTION

293

1

The Urban Imagination

293

2

Differentiated Film Publics

296

3

Public: Bollywood, Globalization, and Genre Diversification

299

9

Selves Made Strange: Violent and performative Bodies in the Cities of Indian Cinema 1974-2003

303

1

In Retrospect: The Breaching of Vistas Zanjeer, Deewar, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Kabhi Kbhie; Tarang, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Alberto Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai

306

2

Our Violent Times: the Morphology of Bodies in Space

312

 

Ankur, Tezaab, Parinda, Nayakan

3

Diagnnosing the Sources of violence

318

 

Naseem Zakhm, Maachis, Baazigar Darr; Bombay Hamara Shehar, Ram Ke Naam, War and peace, I Live in Behrampada

4

Intimations of Dispersal: The poetry and Anxiety of a Decentred World

322

 

Dahan, Egyarah Mile, A Season Outside, When Four Friends Meet, Jari Mari: Of cloth and other stories

5

Social Transvestism and the Open-Ended Seductions of Performance: The work of Aamir Khan

325

6

Satya: The Politics of Cinematic and Cinephiliac performativity

329

10

The Contemporary Film Industry-I: The Meanings of 'Bollywood'

334

1

Bollywood, Mark 1: The Transformation of the Bombay Film Economy

339

2

Bollywood, Mark 2: Multi-Sited Histories of Indian Cinema

346

11

The Contemporary Film Industry-II: Textual Form, Genre Diversity, and Industrial Strategies

362

1

Narrative Form in the Contemporary Epoch-I: Father India and Emergence of the Global Nation

362

 

Mothers, Communities, Nations

363

 

Fathers, Social Order, State Form

366

 

The Symbolic Functions of the Father: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Aditya Chopra, 1995)

367

 

The Multicultural Father Deceased and Reincarnated: Kal Ho Na Ho (Nikhil Advani, 2004)

375

2

Narrative Form in the Contemporary Epoch-II: The Emergence of Genre Cinema

383

 

Rangeela (Ram Gopal Varma, 1995)

384

 

Bhoot (Ran Gopal Varma, 2003)

387

 

Ek Hasina Thi (Sriram Raghavan, 2003)

389

 

Beyond or Within Bollywood?

392

 

Conclusion and Afterword

398

1

The Cinematic public - I: Melodrama

398

2

The Cinematic public -II: Cinema and Film After the Proliferation of Copy Culture

406

 

Bibliography

415

 

Index

437

 

The Melodramatic Public

Item Code:
NAG209
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2010
Publisher:
ISBN:
9788178242620
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
482
Other Details:
Weight of the book: 710 gms
Price:
$43.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

The melodramatic public draws on melodrama as a key conceptual apparatus to understand how entertainment cinema in India drew audiences into complex passages of historical change. As the seeming consensus of the 1950s about nation-building unraveled in the 1970s, and globalization introduced new economic and territorial compulsions, Indian cinema offered compelling testimony to debates about economic advancement, social justice, inter-community conflict, and urban lifestyles.

 

Melodrama provided a narrative architecture and an expressive form which connected the public and the private, as well as the personal and the political, in ways which engaged audiences emotionally. In continuous dialogue with cinematic 'others'-within American cinema, in Indian popular cinema, and in a realist art cinema-mainstream melodrama also underwent significant mutations. This book explores the dynamics of form and narrative strategy across a wide repertoire of film practices. These include the pioneer D.G. Phalke, popular 'auteur' Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, industry moguls Aditya and Yash Chopra, mainstream innovators Mani Rarhnam, Kamalahasan, and Ram Gopal Verma, and art and documentary cinema icons Satyajit Ray and Anand Patwardhan.

 

The book concludes with the contemporary global moment associated with 'Hollywood'. It considers changes in state policy and industrial organization, and the impact of digital technologies, new economies of consumption, and wider export markets on Indian film culture.

 

About the Author

 

RAVI VASUDEVAN works at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, and is co-initiator of Sarai, the Centre's programme on media and urban research. He has taught Film Studies at universities in India and the USA, and held fellowships at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Princeton. His articles have been widely published, anthologized, and translated. He is editorial advisor to Screen, founding editor of Bio Scope (a journal of South Asian screen studies), and has edited making Meaning in Indian Cinema (2000).

 

Contents

 

Acknowledgements

xiii

Introduction

1

1

Indian Cinema Today

1

And yesterday

4

2

The Thematics of Melodrama

8

3

The shifting Agenda of Film Studies in India

10

1

The melodramatic public

16

I:

DEBATES IN MELODRAMA STUDIEIS

17

1

The Archaeology of Melodrama in Euro-American Theatre and Cinema

17

2

Melodrama as Generalized mode of Cinematic Narration

20

3

Melodrama vs Classical Narrative Cinema

26

4

The post-Colonial Question: Melodrama vs Realism

28

5

Deconstructing the Universal and the National

31

II:

THINKING ABOUT MELODRAMA IN INDIAN CINEMA

34

6

Pre-Cinema Histories

34

7

Film form: The Heterogeneous Popular Format

38

8

Melodramatic Interventions

42

9

'Horizontal' and 'Vertical' Articulations

46

10

Revisiting Melodrama in Hollywood

56

 

PART I

 

Melodramatic and other Publics

65

 

Introduction

67

 

Narrative Forms and Modes of Address in Indian Cinema

67

2

Shifting Codes, Dissolving Identities: Realist Art Cinema Criticism and Popular Film Form

74

1

Critical Discourses in the 1950s

75

2

Popular Narrative Form

81

Visual Figures

82

Appropriations and Transformations of 'Modern' Codes

86

The Street and the Dissolution of social Identity

88

Iconic Transactions

89

3

Redefining the Popular: Melodrama and Realism

94

4

The Popular Cultural Politics of the Social Film

95

3

The Cultural Politics of Address in a 'Transitional' Cinema

98

1

Indian Popular Cinema Genres and Discourses of Transformation

102

2

Dominant Currents in Contemporary Criticism

105

3

The Politics of Indian melodrama

108

4

Iconicity, Frontality, and the Tableau Frame

110

The Reconstruction of the Icon

112

Darshan

114

Tableau, Time, and Subjectivity

118

5

The political Terms of Spectatorial Subjectivity

125

4

Neither State Nor Faith: Mediating Sectarian Conflict in popular Cinema

130

1

Community Typology and public Form in popular Cinema

131

2

Phalke and the Typological Discourse of Early Cinema

137

3

The Social Film: Community Typage/ Modernity/Psychology

141

4

The Historical Film: Differentiating Historical and Contemporary Publics

145

5

The Transcendental Location of Stellar Bodies

150

Raj Kapoor

151

Nana Patekar

157

5

A Modernist Public: The Double-Take of Modernism in the Work of Satyajit Ray

163

1

Ray's Films: Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and a History of the Present

166

The Modernism of the Trilogy

168

2

The Unfinished Agenda of History

181

Charulata (1964)

183

3

The Contemporary

191

Aranyer Din Ratri (1969)

192

Jana Aranya (1975)

192

PART II CINEMA AND TERRITORIAL IMAGINATION IN THE SUBCONTINENT: TAMILNADU AND INDIA

199

INTRODUCTION

201

1

The Formation of a pan-Indian Market: Inter-Regional Translatability in the Cinema of Social Reform

202

2

Differentiated Territories of a Sub continental Cinema Before and After Nation-State Formation

205

6

VOICE, SPACE, FORM: The symbolic and Territorial Itinerary of Mani Rathnam's Roja (1992)

213

1

Kashmir and Tamilnadu

213

2

The politics of Identity

219

3

Tamilness as Intractable Edifice

221

4

The Connotations of place

223

5

The Recalibration of Popular

224

7

Bombay (Mani Rathnam, 1995) and Its Publics

229

1

Plot Synopsis

229

2

Towards a Modern Identity: The Basic Narrative Structure

231

3

The Representation of Inter-Community Differences

233

4

Journalistic Effects and Truth Claims: The pattern of Public Events

234

5

The navigation of Sectarian Difference: Community and Sexuality

245

6

Self-Alienation in the Constitution of Decommunalized Space

251

7

Melodramatic Identification: The Claims of self-Sacrifice

253

8

Another History Rises to the Surface: Melodrama in the Age of Digital simulation: Hey Ram! (Kamalahasan, 1999)

259

1

Plot synopsis

259

2

A New History?

262

3

Publicizing an Unofficial History

266

4

Narrative Form: Dropping the Quotation

268

5

Reading Hindutva Masculinity

269

6

'Lifting the Mogul Pardha'

271

7

Melodrama: performativity and Expressivity

272

8

Melodrama in the Age of Digital Simulation

277

 

PART III

 

MELODRAMA MUTATED AND DIFFERENTIATED: NARRATIVE FORM, URBAN VISTAS, AND NEW PUBLICS IN A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT

291

 

INTRODUCTION

293

1

The Urban Imagination

293

2

Differentiated Film Publics

296

3

Public: Bollywood, Globalization, and Genre Diversification

299

9

Selves Made Strange: Violent and performative Bodies in the Cities of Indian Cinema 1974-2003

303

1

In Retrospect: The Breaching of Vistas Zanjeer, Deewar, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Kabhi Kbhie; Tarang, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Alberto Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai

306

2

Our Violent Times: the Morphology of Bodies in Space

312

 

Ankur, Tezaab, Parinda, Nayakan

3

Diagnnosing the Sources of violence

318

 

Naseem Zakhm, Maachis, Baazigar Darr; Bombay Hamara Shehar, Ram Ke Naam, War and peace, I Live in Behrampada

4

Intimations of Dispersal: The poetry and Anxiety of a Decentred World

322

 

Dahan, Egyarah Mile, A Season Outside, When Four Friends Meet, Jari Mari: Of cloth and other stories

5

Social Transvestism and the Open-Ended Seductions of Performance: The work of Aamir Khan

325

6

Satya: The Politics of Cinematic and Cinephiliac performativity

329

10

The Contemporary Film Industry-I: The Meanings of 'Bollywood'

334

1

Bollywood, Mark 1: The Transformation of the Bombay Film Economy

339

2

Bollywood, Mark 2: Multi-Sited Histories of Indian Cinema

346

11

The Contemporary Film Industry-II: Textual Form, Genre Diversity, and Industrial Strategies

362

1

Narrative Form in the Contemporary Epoch-I: Father India and Emergence of the Global Nation

362

 

Mothers, Communities, Nations

363

 

Fathers, Social Order, State Form

366

 

The Symbolic Functions of the Father: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (Aditya Chopra, 1995)

367

 

The Multicultural Father Deceased and Reincarnated: Kal Ho Na Ho (Nikhil Advani, 2004)

375

2

Narrative Form in the Contemporary Epoch-II: The Emergence of Genre Cinema

383

 

Rangeela (Ram Gopal Varma, 1995)

384

 

Bhoot (Ran Gopal Varma, 2003)

387

 

Ek Hasina Thi (Sriram Raghavan, 2003)

389

 

Beyond or Within Bollywood?

392

 

Conclusion and Afterword

398

1

The Cinematic public - I: Melodrama

398

2

The Cinematic public -II: Cinema and Film After the Proliferation of Copy Culture

406

 

Bibliography

415

 

Index

437

 

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