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CSCT 4WI3 Bollywood And Beyond

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Chandrima Chakraborty


Office: Chester New Hall 309

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23777


Office Hours: Wednesday 12.30-1.30pm

Course Objectives:

The Indian film industry is the largest producer of feature films in the world. Indian cinema emanating especially from Bombay/Mumbai, popularly known as Bollywood, is not only consumed avidly in India, but is now acknowledged as global cinema due to its immense popularity across Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and among the South Asian diaspora. This course focuses on the changing representations of the Indian diaspora in post-1990s Bollywood cinema in the context of liberalization and globalization, and the influence of the diaspora on the Bollywood film industry. 

Course Objectives

  • Gain knowledge of Indian cinema and the Bollywood film industry
  • Learn about the post-1990s political and economic changes and challenges facing Bollywood and contemporary India
  • Learn terms and theory applicable to Indian films
  • Analyze film elements: narrative, symbolism, music, dance, visual imagery
  • Analyze interconnections between Bollywood, Hollywood, and Indian diasporic films

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Coursepack (Available for purchase at the Campus Bookstore)


Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayange (DDLJ, The Brave-Hearted will take the Bride Away) dir. Aditya Chopra, 1995, 189 mins

Swades: We, The People (Our Country) dir. Ashutosh Gowariker, 2004, 195 mins

Devi (Goddess) dir. Satyajit Ray, 1960, 93 minutes

Kahaani (Story) dir. Sujoy Ghosh, 2012, 122 minutes

Dil Chaata Hai (What the Heart Desires) dir. Farhan Akhtar, 2001, 184 minutes.

Bollywood/Hollywood, dir. Deepa Mehta 2002, 105 minutes

These films are each 2.5 to 3.5-hours long and they are not readily available. All the films are on reserve at Mills library. A screening room will be reserved to watch the films. These are optional and you may watch the films on your own at the Mills library viewing stations. You must view each film BEFORE the week in which it is being discussed.

Method of Assessment:

  • Two Film Response Papers (500 words each) 10% x2 = 20%; due Oct. 5, Oct. 26 , or Nov. 9  
  • Two Discussion Starters (10-mins each) 10% x2 = 20%
  • One Comparative Film Analysis Presentation (12-15mins) =15%
  • Participation = 15%
  • Final essay (2000 words; double-spaced 1-inch margins) = 30%; due Nov. 30, 2016

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Film Response Papers (2 x10%=20%)

Each student will be responsible for submitting TWO 500-word film response papers. You will choose the films for your response papers by the second week of classes. The response papers should be posted on the course website by 12 noon on the following dates: October 5 (DDLJ and Swades), October 26 (Devi and Kahaani) and November 9 (Dil Chaata Hai and Bollywoood/Hollywood). Please keep your discussion limited to ONE aspect of the film (such as one scene, song, character, etc.) or to one question the film raises. Papers submitted late (i.e., after 12 noon on the assigned dates) will be penalized at 2% and will be accepted until 5pm that day. Papers submitted after 5pm on the assigned dates will not be accepted. Film Response Papers will be marked for your originality, clarity of expression, and ability to offer a focused analysis; you do not need to consult any external sources for this short assignment.

Discussion Starters (2x5%=10%)

Two 10-minute oral presentations, a maximum of three double-spaced typed pages. Each week, two or three students will be responsible for initiating and leading the discussion on the readings by involving class members in discussion and debate. Readings will be randomly assigned on the first class. Your task is to offer an analysis of one or two key significant points raised in the reading and conclude with 2-3 (no more) thoughtfully-developed discussion questions. Please submit a copy of your discussion and discussion questions on the course website on the day you are discussion leader or earlier. Assigned discussion dates cannot be rescheduled. Failure to show up on assigned dates will result in a grade of zero.Discussion Starters will be marked for your thoughtful engagement with the assigned reading, clarity of expression, and ability to shape the seminar discussion.

One Comparative Film Analysis Presentation (12-15 mins) = 15%

Each student will be responsible for ONE 12 mins (max. 15 minutes) oral presentation offering a comparative analysis of two films studied in this course. You cannot present on the films that you have chosen for your film response papers. The presentations will be scheduled for the last 3 weeks of the course. Structured as conference style presentations 3-5 students will present their papers followed by a 20-25 minute question and answer session. You are encouraged to prepare handouts or power point slides to help your peers follow your presentation. A typed, printed copy of the presentation or your speaking notes should be submitted to me at the end of your presentation or posted on avenue. Your task for this assignment is not to summarize the films; you are to choose a particularly salient feature or idea for comment and offer your reflections on this one aspect that you have identified in relation to the two films.This comparative film analysis paper will be marked for your ability to create a productive conversation between the two films, the quality of oral delivery, the originality of your ideas, and the ability to engage your peers in discussion by responding to their comments and queries.

Class Participation (15%)

Classes will be structured as discussions based on assigned readings for the week. You are required to come to every class having read the material, reflected on the film analysis posted by your peers, prepared to contribute to the discussions, and respond constructively to one another’s presentations. You are encouraged to make regular use of Avenue to Learn.

The participation mark will be graded as follows:

Above Average Participation Mark: Student volunteers ideas or questions to help discussion, and when called on offers well- considered responses.

A Grade Participation Mark: Student attends all classes, and consistently: Volunteers questions or points of interest from the assigned readings to generate discussionResponds to questions posed by the presenters and makes certain contributions are on point and thoughtfulResponds to other students’ ideas during class by asking questions or building on their points

Final Essay (30%)

The final essay provides you with the opportunity to investigate more fully a theme or a question that interests you from the course readings and to develop a major argument. This essay can address any aspect of Indian cinema in its national or global context. It can also focus on one or more films studied in this course, as long as it engages with the broader themes of this course. The essay can develop from your other assignments for this course, but they cannot be a repetition of your position paper or comparative film analysis presentation. The essay should engage with at least six scholarly sources; of which there should be no more than three from the course readings. All references should be cited in proper MLA style (refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers available in the library). The word limit should not exceed 2000 words. Please use 12 font, Times New Roman, 1-inch margins throughout. Essays are to be submitted electronically on the course website. Email submissions will not be accepted. Students are expected to retain a copy of the assignment. There are two due dates for the essay. Papers handed in for the first date (November 30) will receive full commentary and a grade. Those handed in for the second date (December 7) will receive only a grade; no comments. Essays received after December 7 will be penalized at 2% per day. No essays will be accepted after December 10, 2016.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Sept 7: Introduction and course logistics

Section 1. September 14-28: Situating Bollywood

Key concepts: empire and cinema; state and Indian cinema, Hindi cinema, Bollywood, genre, masala film, Bollywoood vs. Hollywood, globalization, audience

September 14: Lecture on Indian Cinema

Rachel Dwyer and Divia Patel, “Indian Cinema”

Ashish Rajadhyaksha, “Indian Cinema”

Rosie Thomas, “Indian Cinema: Pleasures and Popularity”


September 21: Screening: Larger than Life: India’s Bollywood Film Culture, 57 mins

Jigna Desai and Rajinder Dudruh, “The Essential Bollywood”

Supplementary Reading:

Priya Jaikumar, “Bollywood Spectaculars”

Monika Mehta “Globalizing Bombay Cinema”


September 28: Heather Tyrrell, “Bollywood vs. Hollywood: The Battle of the Dream Factories”

Sangita Gopal and Biswarup Sen, “Inside and Out: Song and Dance in Bollywood Cinema”

Adrian Athique, “From Cinema Hall to Multiplex: A Public History”

Supplementary Reading:

Anjali Gera Roy, “Is Everybody Saying ‘Shava Shava’ to Bollywood Bhangra?”


Section 2. October 5-19: Diaspora-homeland Relations: DDLJ and Swades

Key concepts: homeland, diaspora, nostalgia, multiculturalism, transnationalism, media and the state, gender and nation, class, power and hegemony 

October 5:  Ella Shohat and Robert Stam, “The Politics of Multiculturalism in the Postmodern Age”  

Robina Mohammad, “‘Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani’ (Yet the heart remains Indian): Bollywood, the ‘homeland’ nation-state, and the diaspora”

Supplementary Reading:

Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”


October 12: No class-- Fall Recess


October 19: Purnima Mankekar, “Brides who Travel”

Chandrima Chakraborty, “Shaming the Indian Diaspora, Asking for ‘Returns’: Swades

Supplementary Reading:

Patricia Uberoi, “The Diaspora Comes Home: Disciplining Desire in DDLJ”


Section 3: October 26-November 2: Goddesses/Film Stars: Devi and Kahaani

Key concepts: representation of women in cinema, patriarchy, woman and the nation, female stars, celebrity culture, spectatorship


October 26: Partha Chatterjee, “Colonialism, Nationalism, and the Colonialized women”

Asha Kasbekar, “Hidden Pleasures: Negotiating the Myth of the Female Ideal in Popular Hindi Cinema”


November 2: Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh, “From Flesh to Stone: The Divine Metamorphosis in

Satyajit Ray’s Devi

Nandana Bose, “‘Bollywood’s Fourth Khan’: Deconstructing the ‘hatke’ Stardom of

Vidya Balan in Popular Hindi Cinema”


Section 4. November 9-16: Youth and the Politics of Multiculturalism: Dil Chaata Hai and Bollywood/Hollywood

Key concepts: youth cultures, niche cinema, city, masculinity, sexuality, homosocial bonding, male friendships, globalized media, audience


November 9: Sriparna Ray, “Niche Cinema: Negotiating Cultural Identities of the New Indian Middle Classes”

Ulka Anjaria, and Jonathan Shapiro, “Text, Genre, Society: Hindi Youth Films

and Postcolonial Desire”

Brinda Bose, “Cities, Sexualities and Modernities: A Reading of Indian Cinema”


November 16: Brenda Longfellow, “Bollywood/Toronto: Transnational Spectatorship in an Era of


Rekha Sharma, “Desi Films: Articulating Images of South Asian Identity in a Global

Communication Environment”


November 23: Class Presentations: 6 max.


November 30: Class Presentations: 6 max.


December 7: Class Presentations: 6 max.