The 1950s Hindi film song : between transgression and memory
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The thesis argues that the film songs in the 1950s, often termed the ‘golden era’ of films and film music, function as an integral narrative device of the cinema’s engagement with the national discourse and with socio-political issues. The songs do this by being a site of ambivalence and struggle rather than resolution. In this way, they engage with the ideological contradictions of the nationalist discourse and the newly-independent Indian nation-state. These are the contradictions of the transition towards modernity -- the tussle between tradition and modernization, Indian identity and westernization, home and the world – which were a part of the anti-colonial nationalist discourse, and continued to be pre-occupations for the policy makers of the newly independent nation-state. These contradictions have been written about in scholarship, both in Film Studies (Prasad 1998; Sarkar 2009; Majumdar 2009; Rajadhyaksha 2009; Vasudevan 2011) as well as from a Political Studies perspective (Chatterjee 1993; Parekh 1991; Kaviraj 2010). However, in the context of 1950s Bombay based Hindi cinema, the significant role of the song sequences in negotiating with these tensions has not been studied in detail; in fact the songs have not been recognised as playing a role in this equation, existing instead on the periphery of theoretical arguments on the film form. The original contribution of the thesis is to examine the significant role of the song in this equation.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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Embargo Date: 2025-04-16
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 16th April 2025
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