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Bollywood Fever

April 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm
By Claire Weinberg

So, this term I've been taking a class called "Bollywood Nation" in the English department with Arnab Chakladar. We watch two 3-hour movies per week, sometimes write short responses to them, then come into class and discuss how their themes relate to Indian nationalism, family structure, societal values etc. in the time they were made. My favorite moments, though, are the ones when we get slightly off-topic into people's own opinions of and experiences with the movies. For example, this is Shammi Kapoor, who was a sort of Indian Elvis figure:

shammi kapoor

See, he even looks like Elvis. Anyway, the class discussion got sidetracked when the professor mentioned that the camera liked to linger on his "full, sensual face", and he had to explain what exactly he meant by "sensual". But then it actually segued nicely into a discussion of whether Shammi Kapoor tended to be objectified by the camera in the same way the women in the films we'd seen had been. Here's a clip of him singing; he is very silly.

And here is a clip of the very end of the most recent film we've watched, Bandini, where the two main characters are reunited after being apart and miserable for much of the movie. I cheered. (We had English subtitles, by the way; I didn't have to learn Hindi for this class.)

Finally, spring term is an auspicious time because these little guys start showing up all over campus: 


I hope I start seeing them before I leave.

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