Course Schedule: Readings and Assignment Due Dates


Note: readings and course schedule are subject to change. I will give at least two days notice in the event of any such changes. Songs are not listed, but will be posted with the readings.


Week 1: Introduction to Hindi film song

Tuesday, 8/23: Introduction and welcome


Thursday, 8/25: Musical sound in India and the “problem” of Bollywood

Sarkar, “The Mellifluous ‘Illogics’ of the ‘Bollywood Musical,’ 1-35

Ganti, Bollywood, “The Significance of Film Music,” 90-102.


Unit I: A Chronological Overview of Hindi film song


Week 2: The Structure of the Hindi Film Song Industry

Film: Awaara (1951)

Tuesday, 8/30:

Beaster-Jones, Bollywood Sounds, Chap. 2, “Film Songs at the End of the Colonial Era and the Emergence of Filmi Style,” 25-48

Ganti, Bollywood, “Narrative Style, important themes, and key conflicts,” 103-135.


Thursday, 9/1:

Beaster-Jones, Bollywood Sounds, Chap. 3, “Film Songs of the Early Post-Colonial Era,” 49-73.

Booth, “Chapter 1: Popular Music as Film Music,” 27-55.


Week 3: Musical Developments, 1950s-1980s

Film: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Tuesday, 9/6:

Beaster-Jones, Bollywood Sounds, Chap. 4, “The Language and Lyrics of Hindi Films,” 74-95.

Recommended: Ganti, “’No One Thinks in Hindi Here:’ Language Hierarchies in Bollywood,” 118-131.


Thursday, 9/8:

Beaster-Jones, Bollywood Sounds, Chap. 5, “Songs in the Key of the Angry Young Man and the Cabaret Woman,” 96-120.


Week 4: Film Song in the Age of Globalization

Film: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)

Tuesday, 9/13:

Beaster-Jones, Bollywood Sounds, Chap. 6, “Liberalization, Family Films, and the Rise of Bollywood,” 121-143.


Thursday, 9/15: Workshop on Raga and Hindi Film Song

*Unit 1 Listening Quiz


Unit 2: Gender and Erotics

Week 5: Courtesans and Tawaifs

Film: Pakeezah (1971),

(Recommended: Umrao Jaan (1980) and Mughal-e-Azam (1960))

Tuesday, 9/20:

Morcom, Courtesans, Bar Girls, and Dancing Boys, pgs. 1-11.

Qureshi, “Female Agency and Patrilineal Constraints: Situating Courtesans in the Twentieth Century,” 312-331.


Thursday, 9/22:

Greg Booth. 2007. “Making a woman from a tawaif: Courtesans as Heroes in Hindi Cinema New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 9(2), 1-26

Yogesh Vajpeyi, “Fall of a culture.” The Tribune, 9.20.2009.


Week 6:Item Numbers and Censorship

Film: Bunty aur Babli (2005)

Tuesday, 9/27:

Brara, “The Item Number: Cinesexuality in Bollywood and Social Life,” 67-74.

Nijhawan, “Excusing the female dancer: Tradition and transgression in Bollywood Dancing,” 99-112.

Shoaib Daniyal, “From tawaiif to item girl: A short cultural history of the item song.”  Motherland July 1st, 2016.


Thursday, 9/29:

Mehta, “Tracking the Twists and Turns in the Khalnayak debates on Censorship,” 159-184


Week 7:Voice and Body

Film: TBD

Tuesday, 10/4:

Majumdar, “The Embodied Voice: Song Sequences and Stardom in Bombay Cinema,” 173-202.

Srivastava, “Voice, Gender, and Space in Time of Five-Year Plans: The Idea of Lata Mangeshkar,” 2019-2028


Thursday 10/6:

Workshop: Sounding like Lata


Unit 3: Nation, Nationalism, and Belonging

Week 8: Voice, Gender, and Nation: Lata Redux

Tuesday, 10/11: NO CLASS – Fall break

Film: Lagaan (2001)


Thursday, 10/13

Sundar, “Meri Awaaz Suno: Women, Vocality, and Nation in Hindi Cinema,” 144-179.

Srivastava, “Voice, Gender, and Space in Time of Five-Year Plans: The Idea of Lata Mangeshkar,” 2019-2028

*Unit 2 Final Essay Due (On Gender and Erotics in a Hindi Film Song)


Week 9: Muslim as “Other”

Film: Roja (1992)

Tuesday, 10/18:

Gyanendra Pandey, “Can a Muslim be an Indian?” Comparative Studies in Society and History, October 1999, 608-629.

Chadha and Kavoori, “Exoticized, marginalized, demonized: The Muslim “other” in Indian Cinema.” In Global Bollywood, 131-145.

Thursday, 10/20

Tejaswini Niranjana, “Integrating Whose Nation? Terrorists and Tourists in Roja.” Economic and Political Weekly, 79-82, January 15th 1994.

Rustom Bharucha. On the border of fascism: Manufacture of consent in Roja.”  Economic and Political Weekly, 1389-1395, June 4th, 1994.


Week 10: Representing “the folk”

Tuesday, 10/25

Film: Dor (2006)

Shalini Ayyagiri, “Film Frontiers: Imagining Rajasthan in Contemporary Bollywood Film,” Music in Contemporary Indian Film (forthcoming), 147-160.

Stefan Fiol, “Folk Drums and Tribal Girls: Sounding the Himalayas in Indian Film,” Music in Contemporary Indian Film (forthcoming), 133-145.

Thursday, 10/27:

Workshop: Bhangra as Global Folk


Unit 4: Globalization and Circulation

Student-led classes


Week 11:

Tuesday, 11/1: Bhangra as Global Folk

Anjali Gira Roy, “Filming the Modern Bhangra Music Video.” In More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music.

Thursday, 11/3: Bollywood and Global Flows I 


Bradley Shope, “Latin American Music in Moving Pictures and Jazzy Cabarets in Mumbai, 1930s-1950s.” From More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, 201-215.

Gregory Booth, On learning jazz in Mumbai, pgs TBD

 *Unit 3 Final Essay Due (Hindi Film Songs and the Construction of Nationalist Sentiment)


Week 12:

Tuesday, 11/8: Bollywood and Global Flows II

Reading(s): Choose 2 of 3  – your choice!

Sangita Shresthova, “Dancing to an Indian Beat: ‘Dola’ Goes My Diasporic Heart.” In Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance, 243-265

Bettina David, “Intimate Neighbors: Bollywood, Dangdut music, and Globalizing Modernities in Indonesia.”  In Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance, 179-197

Brian Larkin, “Bandiri Music, Globalisation and Urban Experience in Nigeria.” From Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema through a Transnational Lens, 284-308.


Thursday, 11/10: NO CLASS – Society for Ethnomusicology Conference

Proposal for Podcast Final Project Due


Week 13:

Tuesday, 11/15: The Politics of Remixes

Paul D. Greene, “Bollywood in the era of film song avatars: DJing, Remixing, and Change in the Film Music Industry of North India.” From More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, 300-315

Jayson Beaster-Jones, “Evergreens to Remixes: Hindi Film Songs and India’s Popular Music Heritage.” Ethnomusicology, 425-448.


Thursday, 11/17: “Borrowing,” Versioning, and Intellectual Property (Anaar gone to AAAs conference)

Peter Kvetko, “Mimesis and Authenticity: The case of “Thanda Thanda Pani” and Questions of Versioning in North Indian Popular Music.” More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music, 160-178

Beaster-Jones and Marshall, “It takes a little lawsuit: The flowering garden of Bollywood exoticism in the age of technological reproducibility.” South Asian Popular Culture, 249-260.

Week 14:

*Sunday eve – potential group movie watching and dinner, in lieu of class on Tuesday

Tuesday, 11/22: Workshop


Thursday, 11/24: NO CLASS – Happy Thanksgiving!


Week 15:

Tuesday, 11/29:

Tejaswini Ganti, “No longer a frivolous singing and dancing nation of movie-makers: the Hindi film industry and its quest for global distinction.” Visual Anthropology 2012, 340-365.

Discussion of assigned podcasts

*Peer Review of Podcast Script Drafts In-class

Thursday, 12/1: Concluding thoughts


Final Project Due Thursday, 12/8