In this research, I explore the topic of representation, focusing on how classical music (and dance) virtuosity is portrayed in the Hindi cinema. I analyze a selection of films [End Page 60] that span a relatively short period of Hindi film history, from 1943 to 1962. Except for one film, all of them were produced after India gained its independence; most of them were made by independent producers who worked outside of Mumbai's studio system, which was already declining in profitability by 1943 when Ranjit Movie tone released Tansen. All of these films adhere to the aesthetic and structures of India's conventional cinema, which relies on a variety of narrative conventions-sourced and adapted from various forms of pre-mass media music drama to Hollywood hits-that shape all aspects of film content.
One of the main aspects of representation that I will examine is the role of music in Hindi cinema, especially the use of classical music and its relation to other forms of popular music. Music has been a central feature of Hindi cinema since its inception, and has evolved along with the changing trends and tastes of the audiences and the filmmakers. Music not only enhances the emotional and aesthetic appeal of the films, but also reflects the cultural and social contexts in which they are produced and consumed. Music also plays a key role in shaping the identities of the characters and the communities they belong to, as well as expressing their aspirations, conflicts, and resolutions.
In this research, I will focus on how classical music (and dance) virtuosity is portrayed in Hindi cinema, and how it interacts with other musical genres and styles. Classical music, in this context, refers to the Hindustani classical music tradition that originated in North India and has been influenced by various sources, such as Persian, Arabic, and Turkish music. Classical music is often associated with high culture, spirituality, and refinement, and is contrasted with popular music, which is seen as low culture, commercial, and vulgar. However, these distinctions are not fixed or clear-cut, as classical music has also been adapted and incorporated into popular music forms, such as film songs, ghazals, qawwalis, and bhajans.
I will analyze how classical music virtuosity is represented in a selection of films that span a relatively short period of Hindi film history, from 1943 to 1962. These films feature characters who are either classical musicians themselves or are influenced by them in some way. These films also depict the challenges and struggles that these characters face in pursuing their musical passions and careers, as well as their relationships with other musicians and non-musicians. Some of these films also explore the historical and political dimensions of classical music, such as its role in the nationalist movement and its interactions with other musical traditions. These films include Tansen (1943), Baiju Bawra (1952), Basant Bahar (1956), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962), among others. 061ffe29dd