Producing Bollywood

Producing Bollywood by Tejaswini Ganti (2012)

In a nutshell, this book’s central focus is on the social world of Hindi filmmakers, their filmmaking practices, and their ideologies of production (2). The ongoing process of gentrification permeates Hindi cinema in three ways: (1) narratives of wealthy protagonists, (2) discourse of respectability and professional management, and (3) the corporatization of production and distribution (4-5). Feelings of disdain and uncertainty circulate production culture and pave the way for gentrification of filmmaking. Disdain comes from the filmmakers and is often projected onto the poor-working class masses or the audiences who consume the films. Uncertainty comes from the market of Hindi films themselves and this is two fold really. “While gentrification is a manifestation of the film industry’s quest to manage unpredictability in the arena of film consumption, the process of rationalization is its counterpart, addressing uncertainty in the production process” (11).

Bollywood isn’t exactly an accurate term; it often conflates Hindi films and Indian films when the two genres are quite different. It also implies a cheap, tacky version of Hollywood filmmaking.

Production in Hindi filmmaking is not limit to producers, directors, actors, etc. It is also about making a neo-liberal audience based on “the measurement of theatrical commercial outcome” (23).

“Therefore, a discussion of how new technologies of dissemination and practices of exhibition have reconfigured the relationship between Hindi filmmakers and their audiences demonstrates how media technologies can ‘impose new social relations'”(25).

Three themes:

  1. The social status of films and filmmakers
    1. establish the wider social and historical context of Hindi filmmaking, dealing explicitly with issues of cultural legitimacy and social respectability connected to the social world of Hindi filmmakers and the politico-historical field of film production
  2. The social and material practices of filmmaking
    1. address the practices of film production and filmmakers’ efforts to make sense of and manage uncertainty
  3. The social, material, and discursive practices of audience-making
    1. examine the ways that audiences are imagined, discussed, and classified by the Hindi film industry as an essential manifestation of the sentiment of disdain and as an attempt to manage uncertainty.

The Social Status of Films and Filmmakers




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