Bollywood and Beyond: Indian Popular Cinema - RISD Summer Programs course

Bollywood and Beyond: Indian Popular Cinema

The term “Bollywood” refers, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, to the Hindi-language popular cinema produced in the studios of Bombay/Mumbai, and forms a part of the sprawling Indian film industry. This course provides an introduction to the cultural, social and political significance of this cinema with particular emphasis on recent films (post-1995) that have contributed to the emergence of the “Bollywood” phenomenon and its impact on national and global popular culture. Prominent features of these films, like film music and dance, stardom and fandom, audience and viewership will be discussed in relation to ideas of globalization and diaspora, nationalism and soft power, politics of language, state and censorship, social hierarchies of class, caste, religion, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, urbanization and development.

By the end of the class students will have a working sense of “Bollywood” as a conceptual category. We will watch at least two films a week and read secondary texts ranging from film theory to anthropological accounts to cultural analyses. Students participate in short, regular reviews and responses to the films and readings. All films will be available online on Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube and others.

RISD degree students: Satisfactory completion of this course with a ‘C’ or better can count as 3 transfer credits toward the LAS elective requirements. This course offers 3 transfer credits with pre-approval from the Liberal Arts department using the Prior Approval for Liberal Arts Credit Form. Complete the electronic form in etrieve and then complete the online course registration.

Course #4086
Avishek Ganguly

June 21–July 30, 2021
Online, No required meeting times

Tuition $2,300
3 Credits


Avishek Ganguly

Assistant Professor of Literary Arts and Studies Avishek Ganguly’s research and teaching interests are focused on the various intersections between contemporary drama, literature, and performance and questions of translation and multilingualism, the formation of collectivities, and everyday life and urban space. He has also published articles on contemporary urban musical cultures in India and has a range of ongoing projects in South Asia-based comparative cultural studies (including popular cinema). Ganguly received his MA, M.Phil and PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. He also has a BA in English from Presidency College, Calcutta and an MA in English and linguistics from Jawaharlal Nehru University.