PODCAST: Dr. Salman Akhtar on History of Bollywood Films Part-4

Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar

We continue with our history of Hindi cinema or Bollywood with Dr. Salman Akhtar. We pick up the threads of our conversation and look at how Bollywood films underwent a change during the 1980s. The films made in 1970s belonged to the angry young man genre and were marked with narcisstic rage. Concerns about the  market  shaped the content of the films from 1988 onwards points our Dr. Akhtar. This is the period when Hindi films found a new set of audience in Europe and North America.

Starting in 1988 there was a distinct change in the plot lines of Hindi films Dr. Akhtar points out. There was a strong element of retrospective idealization of Indian society and culture. In these new film often the heroes were happy, lived in big homes and were comfortable with their sexuality. How did this change come about? It was due to the silent and peculiar complicity of 2 groups of audience Dr. Akhtar explains. They were the Non Resident Indians (NRIs), who had temporarily lost their moorings and anchoring in their day to day lives and had a tendency to idealize Indian culture he points out. Then there were Resident Non Indians (RNI), who were born and brought up in India and had no anchoring to their Indian culture, but they had a hunger for Indian culture and tradition. The complicity of these two groups yielded a new crop of Hindi films that were big on nostalgia he argues.

And finally we talk to Dr. Akhtar about his own family’s connection to Bollywood and Hollywood. We talk to him about his nephew Farhan Akhtar’s pathbreaking film “Dil Chhata Hai,” about the journey of 3 young men into adults. Shot extensively in Australia this film marked the start of a new kind of films in Bollywood films. And about Dr. Akhtar’s  the Hollywood connection?  That connection is through his son Kabir Akhtar.

LISTEN: DR. SALMAN AKHTAR ON HISTORY OF HINDI OR BOLLYWOOD CINEMA PART-4

 

Tune back in for our final and concluding episode with Dr. Akhtar on the history of Hindi films or Bollywood.

In case you missed here is Part-1 of our conversation where Dr. Akhtar talks about his family and what got him interested in the history of Hindi cinema. Dr. Akhtar is a Psychiatrist and a professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He has has written extensively on  psychiatry, psychoanalysis and about poetry and films. And in Part-2 Dr. Akhtar talks about the profound sexual angst in the films from the 1950s and 1960s.  In Part-3 of our conversation he talks about female sexuality and the angry young man phase of Hindi cinema.

Here is a song from “Dilwale Dhulaniya Le Jayengey.”


Here is a song from Farhan Akhtar’s “Dil Chhata Hai

 

Photo courtesy of Dr. Salman Akhtar

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Podcast: Dr. Salman Akhtar on History of Hindi Cinema or Bollywood Part-2

Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar talks about the 100 year old  history of Bollywood or Hindi cinema in this multi-part interview. Dr. Akhtar comes from a family of poets and writers in India. His father Jan Nisar Akhtar worked in Hindi film industry as a lyricist and poet. His mother Safia Akhtar was a talented writer & poet.  His brother Javed Akhtar is a well-known writer and lyricist in Bollywood.

In Part-2 of our conversation Dr.Akhtar talks about the roots of Hindi cinema that is an amalgamation of Parsi theatre and other traveling theatres in India. During the early period Hindi films were predominately about mythologies and then in the 1950s there was shift to family oriented and love triangle stories.  Dr. Akhtar says there was a profound sexual anxiety theme in many of these films and women were split into 2 categories: the good woman and the vamps. Men did not exhibit comfortable sexuality towards women during this period and neither was it acceptable.There was a false understanding of women during this period he says.

Therefore when a man got married in Hindi films, the picture ended. There was a reluctance to go into the intimate side of a marriage or a relationship. Raj Kapoor was probably the one exception when it comes to exploring female sexuality he adds.

As an example Dr. Akhtar looks at the iconic song Roop Tera Mastana from Shakti Samanta’s “Aradhana.”  The song is in a man’s voice and there is not one active affirmation of female sexuality he points out. He explores the theme of female sexuality in Hindi cinema in Part-3 of our conversation.

This interview was recorded in 2006.

LISTEN: DR. SALMAN AKHAR ON HISTORY OF HINDIA CINEMA PART-2

In case you missed here is Part-1 of our conversation where Dr. Salman Akhtar talks about his family and what got him interested in the history of Hindi cinema. Dr. Akhtar is a Psychiatrist and a professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He has has written extensively on  psychiatry, psychoanalysis and about poetry and films.

And here is a video of the song Roop Tera Mastana from “Aradhana” starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore.

 

PODCAST: HISTORY OF BOLLYWOOD With Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar

Dr. Salman Akhtar talks about the 100 year old  history of Bollywood or Hindi cinema in this multi-part interview. What is different about Dr. Akhtar’s approach is he brings his trained psychiatrist eyes to the subject and helps us understand what socio-economics factors permeated and colored the narrative and story lines of filmmakers. And how films in turn shaped and colored the attitudes of film goers in India. This is about “Bollywood and the Indian Unconscious” a chapter that he wrote with K. Choksi in “Freud Along The Ganges,” that he edited.

In Part-1 of our interview we talk to Dr. Akhtar about his family and their involvement in Hindi cinema, Dr. Akhtar comes from a family of poets and writers. His father Jan Nisar Akhtar worked in Hindi film industry as a lyricist and poet. His mother Safia Akhtar was a talented writer & poet.  His brother Javed Akhtar is a well-known writer and lyricist in Bollywood. We wanted to find out how he got interested in the history of the world’s largest film industry. What was it about the Bombay dream merchants that caught his attention and why?

Dr. Akhtar is a Psychiatrist and a professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He has has written extensively on  psychiatry, psychoanalysis and about poetry and films.

Tune back next week for Part-2 of our conversation with Dr. Akhtar where we explore Hindi films from the 1950s and 1960s.

This interview was recorded in 2006.

LISTEN TO DR. SALMAN AKHTAR ON BOLLYWOOD

Photo courtesy of Dr. Salman Akhtar