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Title: A market of emotions : Bombay cinema, Punjabi culture and the politics of popular entertainment
Author: Das, S. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is multi-sited. Its first site of exploration is the world’s largest film industry, the commercial cinema world of Bombay, India. Through ethnography, it studies the processes by which commercial Hindi-Urdu films are made. It explores the history of this cinema industry along with an analysis of film professionals’ views on Bombay cinema, its roles within the Indian nation and the unique public sphere formed by it, its hegemonic and subversive practices, factors that influence its content and the ways both the Indian State and processes of globalisation have impacted the Bombay film industry. At another site, a Punjabi village in northern India, the thesis explores how popular Bombay cinema impacts viewers’ notions of identity, self, community and others. The thesis discusses how commercial Bombay cinema is influenced both by the cultural and historical backdrop to its functioning as well as by contemporary socio-political and economic occurrences. The thesis specifically examines how through the 1990s, India’s economic liberalisation, experience of militant Hindu nationalism and political movements around caste identity have affected popular Bombay cinema. The thesis discusses the predominance of ‘Punjabi culture’ in popular Bombay cinema of the 1990s onwards. It explores the main symbols of such cinematic culture, namely prosperity, vigour, manliness, joy, conspicuous consumption, Hindu ritualism and co-existence between tradition and modernity. It studies the history of such symbols and explores the impact of such cinematic symbolism upon Punjabi viewers. Specifically, this thesis discusses ethnography in a Sikh Punjabi village in India, examining how Jat, Backward and Scheduled Caste Sikhs negotiate cinematic Punjabiyat. The thesis thus delves into complex notions of purity, pollution and power, economic status, national belonging, cultural identity and diverse role-playing, as well as the significant intersections these make with ‘entertaining’ Bombay cinema.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available