Shyam Benegal’s India: Alternative Images, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Shyam Benegal’s India

Alternative Images, 1st Edition

By Vivek Sachdeva

Routledge India

220 pages

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Hardback: 9780367195335
pub: 2019-08-10
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This book examines Shyam Benegal’s films, alternative image(s) of India in his cinema and traces the changing aesthetics in the post-liberalization era. The book engages with the challenges faced by India as a nation-state in postcolonial times. Looking at hybrid and complex narratives of films like Manthan, Junoon, Kalyug, Charandas Chor, Sooraj Ka Satvaan Ghoda, Zubeidaa, and Well Done Abba among others, it analyses how these stories and characters, adapted and derived from mythology, folktales, historical fiction and novels, are rooted in the socio-political contexts of modern India. The author explores diverse themes in Benegal’s cinema such as, the loss of home and identity, women’s sexuality, and the status of Dalits and Muslims in a saffron India. He also focuses on how the filmmaker expertly weaves history with myth, culture, and contemporary politics and discusses the debate around the interpretive value of film adaptations, adaptation of history and the representations of marginalized communities and liminal spaces.

The book will be useful for students and researchers of film studies, cultural studies, and the humanities. It will also interest readers of Indian cinema, and the social and cultural history of India.


'Vivek Sachdeva, in this comprehensive study, maps the narrative of Benegal's cinema on to the shifting narrative of the nation, as he traces its engagement with issues of tradition and modernity and history and its adaptation, among others. Theoretically rich, engaging with questions of cinema aesthetics, as also raising political questions, this work will be relished by academics and cinema lovers alike.' Simi Malhotra, Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research & Professor, Department of English Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction 1. Assertion to Empowerment: Narratives of Social Change 2. Women and the Nation 3. Political Commentaries through Adaptations 4. Adapting History 5. Contestations with Indian Modernity 6. Changing Moffusil spaces and New (Middle) Cinema. Bibliography. Filmography. Index.

About the Author

Vivek Sachdeva is a Professor at the University School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi. Besides being a translator, he is the author of ‘Fiction to Film: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s The Householder and Heat and Dust’ and has co-edited ‘Identities in South Asia: Conflicts and Assertions’.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Criticism & Theory
ART / Art & Politics
ART / Film & Video
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies