Topics in Indian Popular Culture: Spectacle, Masala, and Genre

Raj Mandir cinema, with bicycles in the foreground.

The Raj Mandir Cinema located in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. During this course, students watched and analyzed several Indian films. (Image courtesy of Edward Mooney.)


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As Taught In

Fall 2006



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course aims to provide an overview of Indian popular culture over the last two decades, through a variety of material such as popular fiction, music, television and Bombay cinema. The class will explore major themes and their representations in relation to current social and political issues. In particular, students will examine the elements of the formulaic "masala movie", music and melodrama, the ideas of nostalgia and incumbent change in youth culture, as well as shifting questions of gender and sexuality in popular fiction. During the course, students will look at some journalistic writing, advertising clips and political cartoons to understand the relation between the popular culture and the social imagery of a nation. This course is taught in English.

Related Content

Arundhati Banerjee. 21G.011 Topics in Indian Popular Culture: Spectacle, Masala, and Genre. Fall 2006. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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