Bollywood, once reviled by elite critics both outside and inside India, is now a trendy element of popular culture in the U.K. and North America. As the editors of SAPC noted in 2005, Bollywood has become “cosmopolitan chic” (SAPC 3, 2: 79). Bride and Prejudice, Bombay Dreams, fashion and coffee-table books on the topic all sell well. Bollywood appears to have become equally trendy in South Asianist scholarship. Writing about Indian cinema has burgeoned over the past two decades, and it focuses almost entirely on the “Bollywood” industry (here, we mean the industry of Hindi-Urdu language films made primarily for urban/suburban Indian and diaspora audiences particularly since the 1990s). There are, of course, numerous other film industries in South Asia. Some are widely incorporated into local consumerism, others not; some are as “globalized” as Bollywood, at least in their content, distribution, and financing; but none receive comparable attention in South Asianist scholarship.
This collection will examine the consumption and production of other popular South Asian films, focusing on audiences and personnel. These films, which tend to be categorized according to language, include Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Oriya, Assamese, Manipuri, Bengali, Nepali, and Sinhala language films, as well as Hindi films made for B and C markets. Other film industries and production sites, from across the different countries and sectors of South Asia, differ from Bollywood in numerous ways, including: the politics and economies of the region, and their ties to and impacts on film-making; the relationship between language and identity among producers and viewers; images and treatments of religiosity, kinship, gender, sexuality, labor relations, and political leaders in films; narrative conventions and editing styles; the logics of viewer choice when films from multiple industries or languages are available within a viewing area; and the extent to which films and film personnel are incorporated into wider webs of consumption, such as film magazines, websites, television broadcasts and spin-offs, music videos, fan clubs, and kitsch. Many other differences are likely, and all are potentially significant to the meaning, production, and uses of cinema.
Ethnographically based studies of audiences or film personnel are especially welcome, and historical, auteur, or close textual analyses will also be considered. An introductory essay will scrutinize the reasons for Bollywood’s domination of recent popular and scholarly writing on cinema in South Asia and its diasporas, and consider the new questions and issues that are raised, and the types of insights gained, when we look at the consumption and production of other cinemas in and from South Asia.
Special Issue editors: Sara Dickey, Rajinder Dudrah and Moti Gokulsing
Sara Dickey – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rajinder Dudrah – email@example.com
Moti Gokulsing – firstname.lastname@example.org
Date for submission of first essays: 31 August 2008
The Special Issue will be published in October 2010 after a process of peer review.
Details of SAPC, including journal house style and essay word lengths:
–Dr Rajinder Dudrah
Head of Drama
Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies
University of Manchester
Martin Harris Building