1st Edition

Shyam Benegal’s India
Alternative Images

ISBN 9780367195335
Published September 2, 2019 by Routledge India
186 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

This book examines Shyam Benegal’s films and alternative image(s) of India in his cinema, and traces the trajectory of changing aesthetics of his cinema in the post-liberalisation era. The book engages with the challenges faced by India as a nation-state in post-colonial 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, folk-tales, 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 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 marginalised 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.

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.

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


'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