Seminar: How to Reimagine Bollywood by Prof. Ashish Rajadhyaksha
Dates: 4th December 2017
Time: 15:30 – 17:00
How to Reimagine Bollywood
Bollywood has produced numerous conundrums: as a kind of copycat version of a Hollywood original, it has been a source of some irritation to Indian filmmakers. As a new kind of cultural economy, including fashion, tourism, food and investment destinations, Bollywood has been a brand ambassador for numerous industries: but in the process, it has also become far removed from, and far in excess of, the cinema. Bollywood is presented at its most complex when it is widely seen, as with Aamir Khan’s recent successes in China, as the soft power arm of India, except that the Indian state has no control over it, and no capacity to leverage its global reach. Most corporate interests in the entertainment sector trying to ride on Bollywood’s success have also had a hard time converting an obvious interest in all things Indian into a stable market for a new economy. This presentation tracks the origins and key uses of the concept, and also the consequences of the Bollywood conundrum: is it an industry in its own right, or merely a refraction of other industries in India and elsewhere? Does it have economic existence or is it a countercultural chimera, to be consumed on the margins of the world’s creative industries?
Ashish Rajadhyaksha is a noted cultural theorist and film scholar. He is currently Professor of Practice in the Department of Cultural Studies at Lingnan University. He has written and published widely in the area of Indian cinema, India’s cultural policy, and on the visual arts. He is the co-editor (with Paul Willemen) of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (published in 1999 and 2001 by the British Film Institute). His books include The Last Cultural Mile: An Inquiry into Technology and Governance in India (2011) and Indian Cinema in the Time of Celluloid: From Bollywood to the Emergency (2009). He has curated a number of film and art events, including (with Geeta Kapur) Bombay/Mumbai 1991-2001 for the exhibition Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (2002) and You Don’t Belong (China/Hong Kong, 2012/13).