South Asia

Organized Panel Session

Indian Melodrama: Transnational Mobilities, Cross-Pollinations and Cinematic Reinventions

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Casuarina, Lower Ground Floor

This panel examines the uptake and transformation of Euro-American melodramatic forms in the Indian context to trace melodrama’s emergence as a distinctive, pan-regional cinematic form. Examining the role of musicality and aural film cultures in the constitution of a recognizable Indian film form with characteristic features, the panel explores melodrama as a constellation of emotional and aesthetic effects across Hindustani, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi film cultures that diversified, extended and critiqued the national during the foundational decades of the 1930s through the 1960s.


 Going beyond Bombay, we locate melodrama’s thematic and formal proliferation through industrial, inter-medial and affective transformations across the varied film industries of India, glancing at the adoption of sound and image technologies that, apart from generating new aesthetic forms, reconstituted global genres in accordance with local performative traditions and film cultures by developing new markets along linguistic communities. While different popular cinemas developed as “vernacular” sites for the articulation of cosmopolitan modernities through vocabularies of feeling, the emotional accoutrements of the film song and the sensory registers of stardom, we show how centripetal movements inwards towards the hinterland and smaller districts, and centrifugal attempts outwards towards national and transnational constituencies provide evidence of melodrama as a hybrid mode with highly localized, cross-regional equivalents. Together all four papers trace melodrama as a migratory domain with  cultural intersections capable of personifying popular middle-class sentiment, authenticating repressed social desires, and embodying modernity as a heterogeneous expressive matrix.


Send Email for Ira Bhaskar

Anupama Kapse

Loyola Marymount University, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Anupama Kapse

Send Email for Ira Bhaskar

Send Email for Ira Bhaskar

Anupama Kapse

Loyola Marymount University, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Anupama Kapse

Kiranmayi Indraganti

Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, India

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Send Email for Kiranmayi Indraganti

Smita Banerjee

Delhi University, India

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Send Email for Smita Banerjee

Send Email for Ira Bhaskar

Anupama Kapse

Loyola Marymount University, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Anupama Kapse


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