Dr. Raji Vallury Talk: Of Cinematic Grace and 'Miraculation': An Example from Bombay's Talkies

Departmental Event

Start Date: Feb 11, 2022 - 03:00pm
End Date: Feb 11, 2022 - 05:00pm

Location: Zoom

A Part from Dr. Raji Vallury Talk: Of Cinematic Grace and 'Miraculation': An Example from Bombay's Talkies Abstract:

Examining a recent example of the crossover between mainstream and experimental, art-house cinema (a divide established from the very outset in independent India), I question critical assessments of Bollywood cinema produced after India’s economic liberalization in the 1990’s as multiplications of an ecology of affects yoked to the excesses of high capitalism, neoliberal commodification, unbridled consumption, and spectacular pleasures. Focusing on a film short that forms part of a quartet composed to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Indian cinema and assembled under the title Bombay Talkies (2013), my talk analyzes the aesthetics of existence and the politics of the body it inscribes. The short, entitled Star, and based on a short story by the legendary Satyajit Ray, signals the appearance of another emancipatory politics (re)claimed by the hybrid, transgressive forms of the new Bollywood. Its cinematic operations of grace and ‘miraculation’ (Brian Massumi, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari) on the body of the ordinary man at the cinema beggar critical disbelief in Bollywood’s capacity to create timeimages that disrupt the forced synchrony between a body and the spacetime of consumer capitalism.

I conclude with a consideration of the type of cinematic spectatorship staged by Star, and the pedagogy of equality that it might offer (Jacques Rancière).

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