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What Happens in a Hindi Film?

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AbstractThis paper looks at the popular Hindi film and its treatment in film and media studies. It criticises the assumption that “entertainment” is a simple universal, arguing that it needs to be seen rather as a problematic, historic institution. The author attempts a preliminary reconstruction of Indian discourse on film and entertainment, a discourse marginalised or ignored by Eurocentric scholarship on film in South Asia. Central to the Indian discourse are historically situated notions of extravaganza, of spectacle (tamasha) in a paradise setting, and a focus on emotional experiences, those of wonder and of ecstasy and despair. The articulation of these elements has changed but continue to be constitutive of the popular Hindi film.

Affiliations: 1: University of Chicago


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