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WJEC A2 Film Studies FM4 Section A World Cinema Bollywood A Grade Exemplar

Rob Miller | Wednesday September 03, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section A: World Cinema, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Shree 420, Genres & Case Studies, Bollywood, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation, Theory, Auteur Theory

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By comparing the cinematic styles used in the films you have studied for this topic, is it possible to identify a distinctive ‘National Cinema’?

Indian cinema means different things to different people and there are a lot of different cinematic styles originating from the Indian subcontinent. Stereotypically, when western audiences without cultural capital or knowledge think of Indian films the iconic name ‘Bollywood’ comes to mind, or less widely known outside of India, as Hindi films. Bollywood films have come to represent a national identity and as such, have been a metaphor for national cinema. Repetition of a familiar genre template has ensured that these films often encode similar narrative themes and messages that audiences identity with and crucially, many western audiences do not affording in part the status of national or world cinema.

Bollywood is in fact, one part of a disparate Indian film industry involving a range of languages and regional identities – The Hindi Movie, or Bollywood movie is very different in cinematic style from the approach of Satyajit Ray for example who focused more on realist representations in binary opposition to the escapist, musical, romantic melodrama conventions of the Bollywood film. Ray made more documentaries and dramas that had bleaker narrative themes with a darker and grainier mise-en-scene which represented more personal struggle against adversity. Bollywood films stereotypically sang and danced their way through upbeat narratives appealing more to mainstream audiences.

Ray was an auteur who as one of India’s best-known Directors came to represent a national cinematic style.  He was well read, studied art and orientalism and initially started his career as an illustrator. Ray’s additional influences were American films of the 1950s and also Soviet films – unlike Bollywood films he did not embrace mainstream culture and his cinematic style...

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