Dr Vikrant Kishore curates a vodcast series on Indian Cinema

Dr Vikrant Kishore an academic at Deakin University recently curated a special vodcast series on Indian cinema for the Asian Media and Cultural Studies Network. Here is the detail of the series and the videos:



Overview:

Indian mainstream Cinema is rich and diverse, with films made in more than 20 languages and is one of the leading film markets worldwide by number of films produced, and it was the second biggest film market worldwide in terms of number of tickets sold in 2019 (www.statista.com). There are many interesting aspects of Indian cinema which are underdiscussed and needs wider attention. In this vodcast series focused on the Hindi language cinema of India, through the use of firsthand interviews and short analysis, we aim to provide the viewers with a bird’s-eye view of various aspects, the topics included in this curated series are:

1. Bombay Talkies and the Australia India Connection – An interview with Peter Dietze

(date to be uploaded online: Wednesday, 25th November)

2. Designing Song and Dance in Bollywood Cinema – A discussion with Bollywood dance director/choreographer Longinus Fernandes (Slumdog Millionnaire 2008, Guzaarish, 2010)

(date to be uploaded online: Saturday, 28th November)

3. Tracing the journey of acting in Hindi Cinema through actor Vipin Sharma!

(date to be uploaded online: Tuesday, 1st December)

4. Understanding Bollywood Film Production and Consumption with Anupam Sharma (Australian Indian filmmaker)

(date to be uploaded online: Friday, 4th December)

5. Representation of Muslims in Hindi Cinema – a presentation by Naazish Fatima

(date to be uploaded online: Tuesday, 8th December)

6. Representation of Caste in Hindi Cinema – a discussion with Dr Ratan Lal and Vidushi

(date to be uploaded online: Friday 11th December)

7. Representation of Women in contemporary Indian Cinema – by Divya Vasudeva (TBC)


1. Bombay Talkies and the Australia India Connection – An interview with Peter Dietze

Australia India cinematic connection started strongly post mid-1990s onwards, but the relationship goes way back to 1920s during the glorious studio era of Indian cinema. Two people stand out, firstly Marie Ann Evans, popularly known as Fearless Nadia, an Australian who found great success in Indian cinema. The other is the great Himanshu Rai, one of the pioneers of Indian Cinema, founder of the Bombay Talkies. It is through Himanshu’s grandsons Peter, Paul and Walter Dietze based in Melbourne, that many of his work and behind the scene stories have come to light, through some exciting works, such as the Bombay Talkies Exhibition that was held in Melbourne from 8th February to 2nd July 2017 in the Australian Centre for the Moving Images! In this interview we discuss the work of Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani and how they revolutionised Indian cinema.


Episode 2: Designing song and dance in Bollywood Cinema – A discussion with Bollywood dance director/choreographer Longinus Fernandes (Slumdog Millionnaire 2008, Guzaarish, 2010)

Song and dance sequences in Hindi cinema are of prime importance, as not only it is a significant part of the film structure, as a part of the narrative, or simply as a spectacle, or an item number. Song and dance sequences have been an essential drawing factor for the viewers to go to a theatre. Song and dance sequences also play a vital part in Indian music industry, which is dominated, and sustained by the film songs and music.

In this episode Indian Dance director Longinus Fernandes discusses Bollywood dance and his approach to choreography. Longinus is known worldwide for his slickly choreographed song-dance sequence Jai Ho from the Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, he was also awarded the prestigious "Fred Astaire Award" (2009) in New York for best film choreography. he has choreographed song and dance sequences in more than 100 films and has won many Indian film awards.


2. Representation of Caste in Indian Cinema a discussion with Prof. Ratan Lal, and Vidushi

The varna, or the caste structure is an integral part of Hinduism, earlier it started on the basis of one’s profession, but later transmogrified on the basis of birth! It became an enabling factor for the one’s at the top of the hierarchy, but disabling, and discriminatory for the one’s at the bottom, especially for those, who were considered out of that hierarchy, the fifth varna, often referred as Dalits in its most modern assertion. Of course, Indian cinema has been often questioned for its one-sided narrative of the high class, and high castes, and its failure to acknowledge, or to take up stories of the marginalised. It has been a problematic issue, which till date has not been addressed effectively by one of the biggest film industries of the world. but it has been challenged from time to time as well, many interesting films have been made by regional filmmakers on the issues of caste effectively, and it was also explored intensively by the parallel film movement of India in the 1970s and 80s, but unfortunately, the mainstream Hindi Cinema has been somewhat reluctant to take on these issues wholeheartedly.


3. Representation of Muslims in Hindi Cinema – a presentation by Naazish Fatima

Since the 1950s till early 1980s Muslim Social genre was well accepted and had a huge following. Films such as Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Mere Mehboob (1963), Pakeezah (1972), Nikaah (1982) Mammo (1995), and Zubeidaa (2001) are some landmark films that connected across cross-section of the Indian society, and many have cult status till date. Yet, the representation of Muslims in majority of Hindi cinema, especially post 1980s have been problematic. Though the Khan trio of Shah Rukh Khan, Amir Khan, and Salman Khan have ruled the box office, but it is their Hindu characters that have created their star persona, be it Shahrukh as Rahul, Salman as Chulbul Pandey, or Amir Khan who is known to take on various challenging role, and with a filmography of more than 50 films, he has only featured in around four films as a Muslim lead. Of course, this sounds fantastic for a multi-cultural society that is open to anyone taking on any role, yet this also raises questions around the representation and stereotypes. Today, we have Naazish Fatima a media person and a scholar to briefly share her perspective on the issue of the representation of Muslims in Hindi cinema.



4. Understanding Bollywood Film Production and Consumption with Anupam Sharma (Australian Indian filmmaker)

In this vodcast with Australian Indian filmmaker Anupam Sharma we discuss the production and consumption of mainstream Hindi cinema. We converse why the escapist fare till date dominates, and what drives the audience to film theatres in India? We also probe how the streaming services/OTT platforms is shifting the style of storytelling.


5. Tracing the journey of acting in Hindi Cinema through actor Vipin Sharma!

Bollywood actor, director, and editor Vipin Sharma has worked in many Indian and international films. He is known for his films Tare Zameen Par (2007), Main Aur Charles (2015), Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016), Hotel Mumbai (2018), Simmba (2018), Gone Kesh (2019), and the popular web-series Pataal Lok (2020). In this episode we discuss acting in Hindi cinema, and if there are any difference in relation to the Western films? Vipin provides some interesting insight regarding how Bollywood works.