India has arguably the most popular and prolific film industry in the world. This course contextualizes the relatively recent 'Bollywood' phenomenon within the history of Indian commercial cinema and key aspects of modern Indian culture, emphasizing the popular cinema's role in constructing historically changing ideas of national and gendered identity. It also challenges the assumptions of film theories developed in relation to Hollywood or European cinema by introducing film theory concepts that address South Asian image-cultures (such as darshan, frontality, melodrama, and interruption).
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