Download Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City PDF

TitleBombay Cinema: An Archive of the City
PublisherUniv Of Minnesota Press
ISBN 139780816649419
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size3.6 MB
Total Pages298
Table of Contents
                            Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Urban Allegories
ONE: Rage on Screen
TWO: The Rebellious Tapori
THREE: Desiring Women
FOUR: The Panoramic Interior
FIVE: Gangland Bombay
Conclusion: After Life
Notes
Bibliography
Index
	A
	B
	C
	D
	E
	F
	G
	H
	I
	J
	K
	L
	M
	N
	O
	P
	R
	S
	T
	U
	V
	W
	Y
	Z
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Bombay Cinema

Page 149

If consumption played the decisive role in challenging certain gendered

moral codes, it also triggered an intriguing dislocation of the “real” and

the virtual city in the family films produced after globalization.1 The new

family films focus on consumer-oriented families, speaking to “tradi-

tion” yet geared to global mobility. A hallmark of the family film is the

play with lavish interior spaces. The new panoramic interior2 combines

design techniques with architectural space to create a “virtual city” in

which the contemporary “global” family could reinvent “Indianness”

and modernity. In this scenario, the space of the Bombay street, the

chawl, the train, and the crowds, which were all central to the narratives

of popular cinema, are consistently marginalized. Instead, a changed

perceptual experience emerges, one that is linked to the emergence of a

new kind of “surface culture.” Surface here refers to the expressive forms

of architecture, advertising, print, television, film, and fashion (Ward

2001). The new sensorium of urban life, triggered by an explosion in

the surface culture of recent years, needs to be situated in the larger

context of urban modernity and the display of the commodity form as

it historically emerged in India.

Modernity, the Aestheticization of the Commodity,
and Television

Western modernity ushered in a maelstrom of change in the nineteenth

century. The dramatic effects of this transformation were evident in the

compression of space and time, as electricity, world standard time, the

C H A P T E R F O U R

The Panoramic Interior

110

Page 150

telephone, wireless telegraphs, X-rays, cinema, bicycles, automobiles, and

airplanes established the material foundation for a new experience. A

concentrated form of this transformation was experienced in metropoli-

tan centers, where technological changes and the �ush of commodity

culture turned city centers into spaces of rapid and accelerated forms

of sensory stimuli. The mythic dream of a future utopia was created

through architectural forms and advertising methods that enabled the

circulation of the commodity form as a visual sign. Ross King suggests

that a systematic study of architectural and design techniques would re-

veal the representational pattern of how human experiences of time and

space, nature and the self have been shaped by rapid transformation

(1996). Visual intoxication, seduction, desire for the good life, and fantasy
have been powerful themes in the new experience of space and time felt

by many after globalization in South Asia. Architecture and design have

together provided the expressive vehicle for this transformation which

is captured both in the physical transformation of cities and in cinema.

The link between consumption and the aestheticization of urban

space has been explored by several scholars (Ward 2001; Friedberg). In
India, the recent rise of multiplexes and refurbished movie theaters, the

emergence of shopping malls, coffee shops, ATMs, and electric adver-

tisements/billboards across the prime districts of many big cities has

introduced a different regime of aestheticized �surfaces.� The prolifera-

tion of visual surfaces linked primarily to consumerist display has trans-

formed the nature of street interaction in some parts of the city, even as

the coexistence with older forms of display continues to be present in

other parts of the city. Despite the varying nature and extent of the

transformation, there can be little dispute about the emergence of a dis-

tinctly different regime of visual culture that constantly generates a fas-

cination for visual spectacle. This is what I refer to as a new kind of ur-

ban delirium, in which commodity display, the crisis of space, new

kinds of architecture, the spectacle of �lm, and television converge.

The aestheticization of the streets through the spread of visual signage

and surfaces is simultaneously a story of decline. This decline is vividly

captured in the prose of Naresh Fernandes, who looks at the transfor-

mations in the textile-mill area of Bombay�s Girangaon:

As the city�s real estate prices soar ever higher and encourage mill owners
to the realization that cotton textiles aren�t pro�table anymore, glass-
and-chrome towers are springing up where factory sheds once stood.

The Panoramic Interior 111

Page 297

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Page 298

Ranjani Mazumdar is an independent filmmaker and associate professor
of cinema studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru

University, New Delhi, India.

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