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Following Marshal Hodgson, the term “Islamicate” is used to distinguish the cultural forms associated with Islam from the religion itself. The term is especially useful in South Asia where Muslim cultures have commingled with other religious and cultural traditions over a millennium to form a rich vein of syncretic aesthetic expression.
Comprising fourteen essays by major scholars, this collection presents an engaging account of the history and influence of cultural Islam on Bombay cinema. The first section, ‘Islamicate Histories’, charts the historical roots of South Asian Muslim cultures and the precursors of Bombay cinema’s Islamicate idioms in the Urdu Parsi Theatre; the courtesan cultures of Lucknow; the traditions of miniature painting; the literary, musical and performance traditions of north India; and various modes of Perso-Arabic story-telling.
The second section, ‘Cinematic Forms’, discusses the ways in which these Islamicate histories have contributed to the distinctive stories, performance traditions, and iconography of Bombay Cinema that persist in Bollywood. It explores ‘Islamicate’ genres like the ‘Oriental’ film and the ‘Muslim Social’, as well as forms of poetry and performance like the ‘ghazal’ and ‘the qawwali’.
At a time of acute crisis in the perception and understanding of Islam, Bombay Cinema’s Islamicate Histories demonstrates how Hindu and Muslim cultures in India are inextricably entwined. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of Film Studies, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, History, Women’s Studies, Visual Studies, Performance Studies and South Asian Area Studies, as well as to journalists and archivists.
Ira Bhaskar is Professor of Cinema Studies at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Richard Allen is Chair Professor of Film and Media Art and Dean of the School of Creative Media, City University, Hong Kong
List of Illustrations
A Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Bombay Cinema’s Islamicate Histories Richard Allen and Ira Bhaskar
PART 1: ISLAMICATE HISTORIES
1. Passionate Refrains: The Theatricality of Urdu on the Parsi Stage
2. The Persian Mas̤navī Tradition and Bombay Cinema
3. Reflections from Padminī’s Palace: Women’s Voices of Longing and Lament in the Sufi Romance and Shiʿi Elegy
4. Situating the T̤awāʼif as a Poet: Nostalgia, Urdu Literary Cultures and Vernacular Modernity
Shweta Sachdeva Jha
5. Mughal Chronicles: Words, Images and the Gaps between Them
6. Justice, Love and the Creative Imagination in Mughal India
7. The ‘Muslim Presence’ in Padmaavat
PART 2: CINEMATIC FORMS 8. Alibaba’s Open Sesame: Unravelling the Islamicate in Oriental Fantasy FilmsRosie Thomas
9. The Textual, Musical and Sonic Journey of the Ghazal in Bombay Cinema
10. The Sufi Sacred, the Qawwālī and the Songs of Bombay Cinema
11. Avoiding Urdu and the T̤awāʼif: Regendering Kathak Dance in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje
12. The Poetics of Pardā
13. Transfigurations of the Star Body: Salman Khan and the Spectral Muslim
14. Terrorism, Conspiracy and Surveillance in Bombay’s Urban Cinema
Notes on Contributors