Thursday, October 15, 2015

Visiting Fellow Presents on Contemporary Bollywood

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, International Visiting Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Centre for English Studies at Jawaharlal University in Delhi, India, Dhanajay Singh, gave a talk on contemporary Bollywood to faculty, students, and staff.


His talk, entitled, “Ancient Indian Theatre Traditions and Their Representation in Contemporary Bollywood”, provided a discourse on how contemporary Indian cinema is largely influenced by the continuous and cumulative theatre traditions of ancient theatre. As such, Professor Singh started his presentation with a short clip of Mother India, a 1957 Hindi epic drama film. 

Most of the themes discussed in his presentation mirrored the topics he is covering in his short course, "Indian Theory of Drama/Theatre and Performance: Bharata's Natyashahtra". From the aesthetic experience and the human mind to the psychology of performance and reception of drama/theatre, Singh presented and applied multiple aesthetic theories and ideas to the different clips of Indian films he played during his presentation. 

Throughout the talk, he also showcased the "plurality of cultures" in Indian cinema by way of musical and dance routines. According to Singh, every Indian film must incorporate dancing or singing in order to become successful. Dancing is the highest art of India because it incorporates sight and hearing, which, together, transcend the "limited eye".

At the end of his presentation, Singh engaged in further dialogue with students and faculty on Platonic and Aristotelian aesthetics and other analytical readings of clips he showed.

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