Mohile Parikh Centre for Contemporary Culture (MPC3), Bombay
March 26th , 2005
10.00 am – 1.30 pm

Lecture:
Goods, Desire and Flesh
Transcending borders: Indian Cinema as Case Study

There were two different periods in the history of Indian cinema, where film became an alternative and quite unexpected medium for the globalization of indigenous cultural practices. During the inter-war years of the 1920-30s, the Bombay film scene was inundated by a major presence of European - especially German - artists, technicians and actors, along with Eurasian models and dancers. Technologies from oleography and early three-colour printmaking had transformed the most ‘local’ of our popular cultures – our popular indigenous prints of ‘Hindu’ gods and goddesses - into a major printmaking industry using German technology. In the Indian cinema’s most important pre-independence film studio (Bombay Talkies) the German presence influenced direction, shooting and sound recording and mixing of classics like Achhut Kanya, Bandhan and Jhoola. This astonishing period acquires new meaning, when compared with developments of the 1990s, where a range of new industries from fashion to tourism, music to consumerism, merged to create a new culture industry - ‘Bollywood’.Both moments bring forth new challenges to the understan-ding of a complex film culture in terms of a narrative structure and notions of a ‘filmic text’. I will use the concept of the ‘cinema-effect’ to name this activity: a cinema-driven conception of leisure, pleasure and consumption, incor-porating a range of economic activities and culture industries under the broad rubric ‘cinema’.

Ashish Rajadhyaksha is a film study scholar and faculty member of CSCS (Centre for studies in culture and society), Bangalore. He has published extensively on cinema and contemporary art and presented papers on these topics in conferences across the world. He has taught film studies at the University of Iowa, USA, the Korean National University of Arts, Seoul, and Birkbeck College/British Film Institute among others. He was also the co-curator (with Geeta Kapur) of the exhibition Bombay/Bombay 1992-2001 which was part of Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis, Tate Modern, London in 2001.

Respondent: Dorothee Wenner, filmmaker, writer and curator (Berlin)

 

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