From Despair to Wonder: Scenes of Transcendence in Indian Cinema

in Projections
Lalita Pandit University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

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This article examines how three classic Hindi films—Pyasaa, The Guide, and Jagate Raho—draw on Indic paradigms of devotional love and śānta rasa and how they use “wonder” as a resolution to distressing emotions experienced by the characters and elicited in the viewer. To this effect, the article emphasizes how socio-cultural models of appraisal elicit various kinds of emotion, and, from this culturally situated but broadly universalist perspective, it traces the journey of the protagonists from fear, dejection, and despair toward amazement and peace. Among contemporary cognitive theories of emotion, the article uses perspectives drawn from the appraisal theory.

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