Communication and Culture | Topics in Performance and Culture (Topic: India, Lost and Found in Translation)
C414 | 21389 | Seizer, S.


TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, C2 203
Required film screening: W, 7:15 PM-10:15 PM, LH 102

Meets with GNDR-G 402 and INST-I 414
Fulfills College A&H Requirement


Instructor: Susan Seizer
E-Mail: sseizer@indiana.edu
Office: C2 241
Phone: 856-1986

This course looks at the work of Indian diasporic filmmakers and
authors, from the 1980s to the present, through whose lens India is
harshly critiqued, fiercely loved, and invariably treated as a site
in need of reform- and transform-ation. Drawing on their own and
others’ experiences of displacement, the artists whose work we study
create works of powerful political provocation as well as historical
testimony, inviting culture critique and debate over the success of
India as a modern and modernizing nation. Our approach to this
material will be ethnographic, as we study the social and cultural
context of the places, events, and personages that figure centrally
in these films and stories. The focus of the films themselves spans
colonial and postcolonial periods, and our readings will focus
accordingly on the continuities between the cultural critiques made
both from afar and from within India during these respective eras.
As gender inequalities in both Hindu and Muslim culture in India
continue to figure prominently in reformist critiques of Indian
modernity, this course treats as its centerpiece the films of two
prolific feminist filmmakers producing highly acclaimed and
controversial films over the last two decades, Mira Nair and Deepa
Mehta. Theirs will not, however, be the only films we view, as we
aim to build our cultural literacy regarding the interventions these
filmmakers are aiming at Indian cultural life more broadly.

Films:
Gandhi, 1982 (dir. David Attenborough)
(+ recent comedy w/ Kamal Haasan impersonating Gandhi; in Tamil)
Earth,1998 (dir. Deepa Mehta, 110 min)
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, 2001 (dir. Gowariker)
Water, 2005 (dir. Deepa Mehta, 117 min)
Salaam Bombay, 1988 (dir. Mira Nair, 112 min)
Nayakan, 1987 (dir. Mani Ratnam, xxx min)
Bhaji on the Beach,  1993 (dir. Gurindar Chadha, 101 min.)
Mississippi Masala, 1992 (dir. Mira Nair)
Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, 1987 (writer, Hanif Kureishi;
dir. Stephen Frears)
Fire, 1996 (dir. Deepa Mehta)
Monsoon Wedding, 2002 (dir. Meera Nair)
The Namesake, 2007 (dir. Mira Nair)
Slumdog Millionaire, 2008 (dir. Danny Boyle,
Loveleen Tandan; 120 min.)
Sita Sings the Blues, 2008 (dir. Nina Paley, 82 min)

Selected Readings:
Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
The Ice-Candy Man, Bapsi Sidwa
Life is Not all Ha-Ha Hee-Hee, Meera Syal
Junglee Girl, Ginu Kamani