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Sheila J. Nayar article October 12, 2009

Posted by annabethsanford in Uncategorized.
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In Nayar’s article, The Values of Fantasy: Indian Popular Cinema through Western Scripts, she says, “finished products adapted from foreign works are less remakes than extracted skeletons: plot repositories, molded and shaped for a more sufficient and efficient cultural refilling.  Even given the filmmakers’ borrowing, stealing and blatant plagiarism, these finished products are indisputably Indian” (74-75).    Because American themes do not always translate, and vice versa with Indian themes, Nayar seems to suggest that Bollywood films are not remakes, but simply borrowed plotlines.  While I don’t completely agree with this, I can see how she makes this argument through the frequent inability to sucessfully translate themes cross-culturally.

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1. Prof. R - October 13, 2009

That’s a great question, Anna Beth. We’ll tackle this in detail in class today. I’m thinking what Nayar’s provocative suggestion leads us to consider why we call certain films remakes. Is it because they “borrow” the plot of an earlier film? Do they also have to have stylistic similarities? And in the case of Bollywood, if what Nayar calls “values” are seemingly so different from Hollywood, how can any film be considered a remake?

2. Johnathan Payne - October 21, 2009

In her article, Nayar shares with us two very detailed descriptions of Hindi popular cinema: the harsh and almost unwelcoming views of Western film critics and reviewers, as well as what is known in Bollywood cinema as “the formula”. It is this formula- containing prerequisites in familiarity and relatability to emotion-invoking narrative structure and plot, lavishly developed song and dance sequences, and a lengthy run time- that is quintessential to Hindi film. She is constantly coming back to the notion of the skeletons as a way to describe how Indian filmmakers take from the Hollywood film. As predecessor text, it most definitely provides the framework and support for further ideas, hence the notion of the skeleton. She, however, never states in the article that Bollywood films are not remakes. In fact, she says, “Ninety percent of the Hindi movies in production in August of 1993 were remakes…” (74). Although I am not positive, I believe this statistic has not changed 16 years later. I both am convinced and agree with Nayar’s argument. Bollywood films may stem from precursor Western texts, but there remains a strong relationship to industry conventions, where expressing Indian values and rendering emotions from viewers are heavily entwined within Hindi cinema, upon other elements.


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