search the archive
search the archive
CinemaSpace: A Two Day Conference on Indian Cinema and the City, 3-4 November 2011
full name / name of organization:
In the last decade, with the emergence of a globalized cultural industry that has been termed ‘Bollywood’, a segment of Indian cinema has been receiving much attention in Western academia both in terms of research and courses being taught. As has been noted by film scholars, narrative difficulties such as song‐dance sequences and complex plot lines that were seen as hindrances to the appeal of Indian cinema in the West has today become infused with cultural and economic value. Scholarship that focus on this cultural value of ‘Bollywood’ and its critique based on the argument of multiplicity of cinemas in India (or regional cinemas as they are called) continues to read aesthetics as cultural difference. This takes attention away from cinema’s specificity as a techno‐aesthetic, which has salience across regional/national particularities. This move away from particularities cannot be ‘post‐’ or ‘pre‐’, but is grounded on the national itself, hence the focus in this conference on one national cinema.
The conference attempts to initiate new conversations between papers that address the aesthetics and narrative forms of Indian cinema from different standpoints. The different axes around which city space is organized in Indian cinema within, without and at the edges of the diegetic frame will be of interest. It proposes to think through the production of space in Indian cinema as linked to cinematic and other art practices in other parts of the world with which it has been in constant contact. These links, although more visible to us in the last two decades, have been a feature of Indian cinema from its inception. The imagining of the cinematic city is a significant thematic that will allow us to think through the structuring of space in Indian cinema outside culturalist assumptions, and to help us understand its aesthetic practice as historical and internationalist at the same time. For analytic purposes, the conference would propose to bracket off the understanding of cinema as a space of representation to focus on the aesthetic concerns governing it. Rather than cinema being a space through which one finds traces of real cities, the conference attempts to think of space of the city in cinema as a frame of intelligibility.