WRITER: VERONICA KHOKHLOVA
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
Iowa City IA 52242
UI hosts symposium on Indian popular film April 17-18
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Fans of Indian movies have long transcended Indian
borders. They are in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, the former
Soviet Union and the South Asian Diaspora. However, European and American
film scholars often disregard the world's biggest film industry.
Not so at the University of Iowa. Thanks to the collaborative efforts
of several departments and international programs, the UI will host a two-day
symposium on Indian popular film that will bring scholars in anthropology,
film and cultural studies to Iowa City to share their findings in this
emerging research area.
"Bollywood (Un)Limited: Global Responses to Indian Popular Cinema"
is Friday and Saturday, April 17-18 in the UI International Center. Scholars
from India, England, and the United States will present recent and unpublished
research on Hindi film. A public screening of the musical comedy, "Dil
to Pagal Hai," (Crazy at Heart) will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April
17 in Room 101 Becker Communication Studies Building. All events are free
and open to the public.
"There hasn't been much work done in the field," said Philip
Lutgendorf, co-chairman of the UI South Asian Studies Program and one of
the primary organizers of the symposium. "We thought it would be interesting
to focus on a very important cultural flow, in which popular cinema, the
biggest cinema in the world, located in a developing country, circulates
around the globe."
Among the senior presenters are Sumita Chakravarty, professor of communication
studies at New School for Social Research, New York City, and author of
the influential 1993 book, National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema;
and Ashish Rajadhyaksha, co-author of the Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema
and a visiting professor at the UI department of communication studies.
Other UI participants include Rick Altman, professor of communication studies;
Corey Creekmur, professor of English; Ashley Dawson, professor of English;
Kathleen Newman, professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Jael Silliman, professor
of women's studies; Aaron Park, Ph.D. candidate in film studies; and Ned
Bertz, graduate student in history. Also attending the symposium and presenting
their research will be professors from New York University, Rutgers University,
University of California at Berkeley, University of California at San Diego,
University of Colorado at Boulder, and University of Minnesota.
Indian film, often considered an alternative to Euro-American mass genres,
has its specific stylistic and thematic features and is a rich source of
study material. Lutgendorf said the melodramatic Hindi movies are almost
entirely musicals, typically last three hours, have a less linear plot
structure than Western films and reflect different cultural values.
The symposium is sponsored by the Ford Foundation, UI International
Programs, the College of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice President
for Research, the Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry, the South Asian Studies
Program, the African Studies Program, and the Institute for Cinema and
For more information, contact Lutgendorf, at 335-2157, or send email