Historically, Indian cinema has positioned women at the intersection of tradition and a more evolving culture, portraying contradictory attitudes which affect women’s roles in public and private spheres.
Examining the work of three directors from West Bengal, this book addresses the juxtaposition of tradition and culture regarding women in Bengali cinema. It argues the antithesis of women’s roles, particularly in terms of ideas of resistance, revolution, change, and autonomy, by suggesting they convey resistance to hegemonic structures, encouraging a re-envisioning of women’s positions within the familial-social matrix. Along with presenting a perception of culture as dynamic and evolving, the book discusses how some directors show that with this rupturing of the traditionally prohibitive, and a notion of unmaking and making in women, a traditional inclination is exposed to align women with ideas of absence, substitution, and disposability. The author goes on to show how selected auteurs in contemporary Bengali cinema break with certain traditional representations of women, gesturing towards a culture that is more liberating for women.
Presenting the first full-length study of women’s changing roles over the last twenty years of Bengali cinema, this book will be a useful contribution for students and scholars of South Asian Culture, Film Studies and Gender Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: Representations of Disjuncture: Antithetical Responses to Resistance in Public and Private Spheres 1. Feminism in a Kolkata Context: Assault, Appeasement, and Assertion in Dahan 2. The Impossibility of Incestuous Love: Woman’s Captivity and National Liberation in Utsab 3. Impermanence in Dekha: The Fragility of the Present and the Passing of a "Traditional" Perspective Part II: Narratives of Waste and Rupturing the Prohibitive 4. Woman as Alienated Commodity and Surplus Goods in Bariwali 5. Chokher Bali: A Historico-Cultural Translation of Tagore Part III: From Transactional Commodities to Subjects in Meaningful Exchange 6. Mondo Meyer Upakhyan: A Reading of Rebellion within Broken Social Systems
Srimati Mukherjee is Professor of English at Temple University in Philadelphia, USA.