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Bombay Cinema's Encounter with the 1960s (1960s Bombay Cinema)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Aug 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This project looks at the cultural resonance of the 1960s in the world of Bombay cinema. Indian cinema’s transition from black and white to colour produced an affective force field that impacted on the choice of locations, forms of mobility, the designing of interiors, the role of music and the cultural politics of stardom. Equally the 1960s was the decade of tourism.Tourism’s imaginative force taken together with the arrival of colour can open the window to an understanding of a transnational cinematic force that has not received adequate attention in the chronicled histories of Indian cinema. Travel across India’s landscape became a recurring feature in films, with trains and automobiles as the chosen modes of transportation. Thus, the hill station emerged in the 1960s as a picturesque space for romance. Exploration narratives abound in this decade with picnics, holidays, and other journeys forging an entirely new imagination of space. The fascination with landscape became critical to a new conception of the “outdoor” that looked distinctly different from earlier films. While the train and the automobile were mobilized for travel across India, by the mid 1960s we see the discovery of the “global” in a cluster of films that showcased travel to foreign cities like Paris, London, Tokyo and Rome. The travel narratives combined spectacular outdoor locations with lush interior spaces that included fashionable nightclubs, hotels, and lavish homes. The world of objects in interior spaces had to be organized for its capture on colour film stock, slowly changing the perceptual economy of the frame. Alongside these changes we witness shifts in the culture of stardom linked to new international currents in music, dance, fashion and youth culture. This project seeks to unpack the cinematic imagination that brought aviation, tourism, consumerism, colour film stock, fashion, and music into a distinct cultural configuration.

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