Call for contributions; Issue 1, Volume 7 Representations of the youth in Bollywood films

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Literophile Journal
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"Night ki naughty kahani, ye halkat jawani
Meetha ye namkeen paani, ye halkat jawani…"
-A song from the film, Heroine, (2013)

When one of the leading actresses of Bollywood gyrates to a song that explicitly associates youth to sexuality, the association occurs in the minds of the audience not just at the time of viewing the item-song, but also later, as it ossifies in popular perception and gets translated into various articulations in and around the youth of today. These articulations may however not depict the figure of the youngster, and the cultures constructed around them in contemporary times, in an accurate manner. Indeed, when jawani is declared to be "deewani", it does not emerge merely from an awareness of it being so, it arises out of certain assumptions and myths about youth that have been disseminated through visual and popular cultures over a sustained period of time, across cultures.

Deewangi, that, hypersexualised or not, has often characterised Bombay cinema's imagination of youth, particularly urban youth, making the translation of jawani to "namkeen paani", and consequently, Anmol Ghadi's Lata to Heroine's Mahi, all the more relevant. Patterns thus observed in depictions of youth figures in Indian films may be used to render meanings to the material, socio-economic realities that may have influenced certain conceptualisation of youth cultures, specifically in film and cinema. Moreover, to deal with cinema as a tool for constructing historiographies by analysing omissions and emphases, and reasons for the same such as market, demand, funds, censorship, conditions of production, circulation etc, would make for an effective way of understanding cultural contexts, and shaping histories.

It is precisely this that would be the prime focus of this issue of Literophile, where Representations of the youth in Bollywood films would be variously discoursed upon, in an attempt to understand certain myths and assumptions which, given the Bombay industry's hegemony, reach (para)national proportions, so that often images of youth acquire Indian labels, and precipitate auratic cultures of being young. Accordingly, original and annotated papers and/or semi-academic articles and commentaries of or not more than 3,000 words in MS Word format may be mailed to by Monday, the 20th of January, 2014. This issue would be second in the series of four dedicated to Cultural Studies marking Literophile's Cultural Studies Year, and submissions that approach the aforementioned theme employing the tools and methodologies of cultural materialism will be given preference. The following pointers – forms, names, intents – may be considered for commentary:

Jawani aur Twist: Being 'young' and what it entails/involves.
Gareebi: Themes of poverty and unemployment.
Parivaar: On-screen representations of relationships between the young and their elders.
Madhoshiyaan: Style, costume and make-up (in times of globalisation).
What "masti ki pathshala" would mean and what role economic class plays in this.
Pyaar: Romantic pursuits of the youth in Bollywood cinema.
Deshi/Videshi: Nation and notions of nationhood.
(brasht)Achaar: How they engage with politics/trajectories and differences from the 50s to now.
Vilayat: Conceptions of the Foreign; Moving/settling abroad/ the young NRI.
Transformations/Evolution in iconographies of the 70s' "Angry Young Man".
Understanding depictions of the youth in Indian cinema through a trans-national lens.
Understanding/theorising popular Bollywood movie vis-à-vis the (young) characters.

Please feel free to refer to our website ( for further details. Also note that papers must be annotated in accordance with MLA regulations. Contributors must also submit short bio-notes – not more than 300 words – along with submissions. Contributors will be intimated by last week of January regarding acceptance/rejection. Furthermore, from this issue, words/phrases/extracts in languages of the Indian subcontinent will not be italicised in this journal.