Hindi Cinema as a Challenge to Film Theory and Criticism

in Projections

It is commonplace to remark that India has the largest film industry anywhere, producing “unquestionably the most-seen movies in the world” (Kabir 2001: 1). Of the many languages in which Indian movies are made, films in Hindi (or Urdu) are the most prominent globally, and they comprise the most obviously “national” cinema (Ganti 2004: 12). Indian films in general, and Hindi films in particular, have had international success for decades (Desai 2004: 40). They constitute perhaps the only national cinema that can come close to rivaling the U.S. film industry. This parallel with Hollywood has led to the popular name for the Hindi film industry, “Bollywood.” The name refers particularly to the entertainment-oriented films from the 1960s on, and of these especially the films produced since the early 1990s in the period of economic neoliberalism and globalization.

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