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Lifelong Learning - What Is All the Song and Dance about Hindi Cinema?

April 6 to 27, 2023 at 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. EST
Hosted Virtually by IUAA

Four Thursdays, April 6, 13, 20, 27

7–8 p.m. ET

Virtual class offered via Zoom*

$55 per person


The popular perception of the film industry from erstwhile Bombay/India is that it produces “musicals,” a concept borrowed from western cinema that has limited use in capturing the significance of song and dance in Indian cinema. 

Song and dance are integral to Indian cinema in a way not reflected in the western musical cinema context. Especially in Hindi films produced through the Bombay film industry (what is popularly termed Bollywood), song and dance have emerged from being small, distinct elements within individual films to shaping storytelling through cinema. 

In this course, participants will track development of song and dance from the introduction of talkie cinema to contemporary dance- and song-making in films up to the early 2000s; probe the unique relationship between audience and films’ songs and dances; and discuss the expanding Hindi film scholarship around song and dance.  

Participants will become familiar with the unique vocabulary attached to Hindi cinema such as playback singing, picturization, raga-based songs, romantic duets, and choreography. This course will involve viewing song and dance scenes from films, lively discussions, and brief lectures. 

*Please note: this course is a virtual learning opportunity held via the online platform, Zoom. The link needed to participate will be supplied via email prior to the first class session.
About the Instructor:

Mahasweta Baxipatra’s research interests lie in multimodal representations of memory and migration, storytelling, and world literature. Baxipatra earned her doctorate in British romanticism and teaches courses in fiction, memory, and writing at IU Bloomington. She writes poems, translates fiction from Indian languages into English, and watches cinema avidly.