12 Comments

  • Nuha

    Discussion Questions
    1. While the reading was really interesting, I was confused about how the author asserted that Bollywood simultaneously de-contextualizes bhangra while maintaining its purity? Does this complicate our prior discussion of how Bollywood films worked to portray a monolithic India? How can bhangra be considered exotic and how is this different from the way English is considered exotic?

    2. Is bhangra an avenue for youth rebellion? For example, the role of bhangra in the Asian Underground movement in the 1990s in England was seen as a way for desi youth to create their diasporic identity. In addition, the article mentions that the way bhangra was popularized and modernized in music videos. At the same time, as Masoom discussed in class, bhangra performances have strict guidelines.

  • Divya Sriram

    1) Just as Bollywood movies sometimes invoke the “folk” stereotypes in rural India, is Bhangra often accompanied/used in “folk” movies? Or is it also an urban phenomenon?

    2) Is the popularity of Bhangra (rather than other Indian dance styles -> like the Tamilian bharatham dance) proof of the North Indian hegemony in Bollywood?

    • Sayma Parhana

      In regards to your first questions, it’s almost difficult to separate “folk” movies and the urban phenomenon because Bollywood movies are often described as Masala films and have all sorts of elements blended into one film. However, I do think that Bhangra is still used to reflect both “folk” and urban phenomenon. Rang de Basanti showed a local town that uses Bhangra during some sort of festival, yet movies like Baar Baar Dekho’s ‘Kala Chasma” song also uses it as an urban phenomenon.

  • Alya Mistry

    1) Would you say Bollywood films and it’s music has had a greater impact on the traditional Bhangra songs and performances or has Bhangra had more of an impact on old and new Bollywood songs and movies, both in terms of music and dance?

    2) What was unique about Bhangra (in comparison to other songs and dance styles in India) that made it this popular in India and abroad and allowed for its inclusion in so many songs, even if it was only in a small way?

    • Salem Argaw

      2) I was also thinking about this. I wonder if its energetic upbeat style makes it easier to adapt into various global styles. For example, I can easily see how it can be incorporated into pop music videos. The other thing I was considering is the influence of different Indians living abroad and how much of it is as a result of their consumption. Bhangra may provide a unique avenue for those living outside of India to reconnect back to the mainland through an art form that is well integrated into western culture.

  • Sonali Tolani

    Discussion Questions:
    1. Is there a difference in the Bhangra adaptations in London, USA, and Australia in terms of their costumes, beats, and dance style/structure?

    2. The reading establishes that Bhangra is the most popular Indian dance form abroad. Is it the bhangra rhythm/beat structure that has allowed Bhangra to make its way into the songs of Jay-Z and Missy Elliot to name a few?
    Song: Beware – Panjabi MC ft. Jay-Z ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wke0-lj2wzw )

  • Sayma Parhana

    Discussion Questions:

    1) What are some of the differences between communal bhangra and modern bhangra? To what extent does the “Bollywoodization of Bhangra” influences the differences between communal and modern bhangra?

    2) Eastern Panjabis considered dancing to be feminine and a means for emasculation. What may have caused them to feel that way? Would they have felt the same way had they witnessed men dancing without the elements of flamboyant colors and makeup?

  • Shilpa Iyer

    1) I found it interesting that Bollywood music videos place emphasis on storytelling, which isn’t necessarily seen with Western music. Is this theme of storytelling directly related to the folk beginnings of the music, and do we see it in other music industries?

    2) To what extent have traditional dances been appropriated, and how can we recognize this when we see it? I’d be interested to hear the class’s opinion on this, and if its a topic that has come up in family discussions – I know that in my family, classical South Indian dance is highly valued, and I wonder if its a result of an effort to preserve the original dance form.

  • Salem Argaw

    1) On page 145, Roy describes modern staged bhangra as “invented tradition.” What is meant by this term and what are its implications? Isn’t all tradition invented? Does it suggest bhangra is evolving to quickly to be called tradition?

    2) What are some of the long-term effects of homogenizing folk content? What does this predict is the future of bhangra?

  • Dylan Manley

    Discussion Questions

    1) Does the value of bollywood as a diffusing tool, making bhangra more widely known and popularized, outweigh the augmentations also applied to the traditionla fold dance?

    2) How has gender played a role in the development of bhangra, and has the style been largely designed to be “appropriate” for male dancers to partake?

    3) Is bhangra in Hindi film most commonly used to depict “folk” scenes, or has is also been applied to scenes of a diverse nature, while still maintaining it’s authenticity?

  • Masoom Chainani

    Discussion Questions:
    1. In the song Meri Jaan Balle Balle discussed, how does the blending of many folk traditions (Punjabi, Kashmiri, and Rajasthani) work to decontextualize the folk traditions from it’s elements in the film?

    2. How much of Bhangra has been constructed based on Bollywood conception of it? Have we come to a chicken vs. egg argument on it’s authenticity?

  • Morgan Judge-Tyson

    1) Is the Bollywoodization of something good or bad? While it can bring about feelings of pride and nationalism in films when traditional elements are used, can it also decontextualize something sacred too much?
    2) Because Bhangra was only popular as a dance for men in eastern Punjab, what was the reaction from the rest of India when it was put into films? Were they rejected or embraced?

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