Few would deny that the most significant weapon in India's cultural and artistic armory is its avowedly commercial cinema, now known as Bollywood. This anthology aims to portray the “soft” power of Bollywood, which makes it a unique and powerful disseminator of Indian culture and values abroad. The essays in the book examine Bollywood's popularity within and outside South Asia, focusing on its role in international relations and diplomacy.
In addition to contributions that directly engage with the notion of soft power, a number of essays in the volume testify to the attractiveness of Bollywood cinema for ethnically diverse groups across the world, probe the reasons for its appeal, and explore its audiences' identification with cinematic narratives.
Established and emerging scholars in literature, theater, film, dance, music, media, cultural studies, and sociology from different parts of the world present their views from multidisciplinary perspectives based on case studies from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Russia, the US, Senegal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Canada, in addition to India.
Chapter 12: From Tawa'if to Wife? Making Sense of Bollywood's Courtesan Genre
From Tawa'if to Wife? Making Sense of Bollywood's Courtesan Genre
Although constituting what might be described as only a thimbleful of water in the ocean that is Hindi cinema, the courtesan or tawa'if film is a distinctive Indian genre, one that has no real equivalent in the Western film industry. With Indian and diaspora audiences generally, it has also enjoyed a broad popularity, its music and dance sequences being among the most valued in Hindi film, their specificities often lovingly remembered and reconstructed by fans. Were you, for example, to start singing “Dil Cheez Kya Hai” or “Yeh Kya Hua” especially to a group of north Indians over the age of about 30, you would not ...