1. Course title: AUTEURS OF INDIAN CINEMA
2. Tutor name(s):
3. Tutor qualifications:
MSc (with Distinction) Film Studies
MA (with Distinction) International Journalism
PGDACM (Post-graduate Diploma in Advertising & Communications Management), BA (Hons.) Economics
Mumbai-based senior journalist, writer and film critic with 10 years of work experience in reporting on films, music and television
This is the first Open Studies course to focus on Indian cinema’s auteur directors. 2011-2012 marks the centenary year of Indian cinema. It’s been 100 years since filmmaker Dadasaheb Phalke made the first Indian feature film, a silent mythological costume drama titled Raja Harishchandra (King Harishchandra, 1913).
Through the works of 10 filmmakers – V Shantaram, Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Aparna Sen and Mani Ratnam – the course will introduce students to path breaking, influential art house and popular Indian filmmakers from its most influential regional language cinemas and Bollywood. It will simultaneously traverse a journey of highlight movie moments from Indian cinema’s talkie era (1930s) to the present. The course will effectively complement courses in world cinema and auteur appreciation studies.
5. Course aims & objectives
To develop a critical understanding of critically acclaimed Indian auteur cinema through an analysis of the works of its most influential and path breaking filmmakers and other relatively lesser known directors.
To appreciate film as an art form
To familiarise students with key Indian film directors
Art appreciation skills; critical thinking and participation in class discussion
8. ContentsWeek 1: V Shantaram (Hindi & Marathi cinema)
Praised by Charlie Chaplin for his iconic social tragedy, the Marathi film Manoos (Man, 1939), V Shantaram made his first film in 1927, beginning an illustrious career of 50 plus films as a filmmaker, director and actor spanning six decades up to the 1980s. Starting as an actor in the films of the silent era, he was one of the first Indian filmmakers to realise and exploit the use of the film medium as an instrument of social change.
Week 2: Bimal Roy (Hindi cinema)
One of the most acclaimed Hindi film directors of all time, Bimal Roy’s romantic-realist melodramas successfully balanced art house cinema’s realism imperatives with the please all demands of commercial cinema to pioneer Indian cinema’s own brand of neo-realism in the 1950s-60s. Constantly tackling social issues while still remaining entertaining, his films stood out for their strong women characters.
Week 3: Guru Dutt (Hindi cinema)
Often referred to as India’s Orson Welles, he is perhaps the only director from Bollywood’s golden era of cinema (1950s-1960s) whose every film is considered a classic today. His Pyaasa (The Thirsting, 1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (Paper Flowers, 1959) have become a must see in most ‘Greatest Films of All Time’ listings (Time 2005, 2002 Sight & Sound Critics’ & Directors’ Poll).
Week 4: Satyajit Ray (Bengali & Hindi cinema)
A fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic, Ray directed 37 films, after his spectacular debut with the Apu Trilogy in the 1950s. Reverberating with humanism and universality, Ray’s work has been celebrated for its unique mix of deceptive simplicity and deep underlying complexity.
Week 5: Raj Kapoor (Hindi cinema)
Bollywood’s most flamboyant story teller, Raj Kapoor remains Indian cinema’s greatest and most admired showman for his grandiose socialistic critiques, cinematic experiments and seminal involvement in the music making of his films that are still remembered for their soulful melodies.
Week 6: Shyam Benegal (Hindi, Urdu, Kannada & Marathi cinema)
A prolific Indian director and screenwriter, Benegal is credited for pioneering the second wave of realism in Indian cinema in the 1970s, heralded by the success of his four landmark ‘song less’ films – Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977).
Week 7: Gulzar (Hindi cinema)
Noted Indian poet and lyricist, (Academy award and Grammy winner for ‘Jai ho’ in Slumdog Millionaire) filmmaker Gulzar is a pioneer in the ‘middle-of-the-road’ genre of cinema that came into vogue in Indian cinema in the 1970s.
Week 8: Adoor Gopalkrishnan (Malayalam cinema)
Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s first film Swayamvaram (1972) pioneered the new wave cinema movement in Kerala, revolutionising Malayalam cinema the way Ray’s Pather Panchali did for Bengali cinema. Ever since Adoor’s every film has made to major international festival screenings and honours making him the second most globally feted Indian director after Ray.
Week 9:Aparna Sen (Bengali, English & Hindi cinema)
One of India’s few women directors to have carved a niche following, Aparna started her film career as an actress in Satyajit Ray’s Sampatti. A great visual storyteller, Aparna has made her mark outside the stereotypical expectations of a female filmmaker.
Week 10: Mani Ratnam (Tamil & Hindi cinema)
Mani Ratnam is widely credited for having revolutionised the Tamil cinema industry (India’s second largest film industry after Bollywood). Known for his eye for technical details, Ratnam has introduced some of the best music directors (AR Rahman), cinematographers, art directors, dialogue writers and editors working in India cinema today.
The course is aimed at students with an interest in world cinema in general and Indian cinema in particular. No prior knowledge of world cinema or Indian film history is required though references will be made to some of the founding tenets, narrative styles and concepts of film criticism and theory.
10. Organisation of teaching
Combination of lectures, slide shows, viewing of film clips and class discussion.
Assessment 2: 2000 word essay (seen assessment) submitted after the course finishes, worth 75% of the total course mark.
12. Course Readings Essential Hogan, Patrick. 2008. Understanding Indian Movies: Culture, Cognition, and Cinematic Imagination. Texas: University of Texas Press
Hood, John, W. 2000.The Essential Mystery: Major Filmmakers of Indian Art Cinema. London: Sangam Books Ltd.
Das Gupta, Chidananda. 2008. Seeing Is Believing. New Delhi: Viking
Cooper, Darius. 2000. The Cinema of Satyajit Ray. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey (Ed.). 1997. The Oxford History of World Cinema, New York, Oxford University Press.
Any costs which may have to be met by students eg materials
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Short description of course
Through the works of 10 filmmakers – V Shantaram, Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Aparna Sen and Mani Ratnam – the course will introduce students to path breaking, influential art house and popular Indian filmmakers from its most influential regional language cinemas and Bollywood. It will simultaneously traverse a journey of highlight movie moments from Indian cinema’s talkie era (1930s) to the present. The course will effectively complement courses in world cinema and auteur appreciation studies