What do you think makes Indian film Indian? Write an essay on the distinctive narrative traits in Indian cinema which distinguishes it from European or American films you have seen.

Essay by graca94University, Bachelor'sD, March 2004

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In a nation that produces around 800 films a year Indian people see films a a very important part of their culture. For Indian people "cinema is integral to their lives; it is not a distant, two to three hour distraction, but an explicit life-style for them."(Jaya Ramanathan). The large screen provides an alternative, an escape from the realities of day-to-day life. The protagonists are totally identified with, the hero is applauded, the virtuous is worshipped and the villain is condemned. The actors and actresses are household names; there is no escaping their omnipresence. Through this essay I will try to examine what makes Indian cinema Indian. By that I mean what narrative and visual traits are intrinsic to Indian cinema and have little relevance to cinema of America or Europe. The subjects I am going to look at are the song and dance routine, how it came about, what it means and why it's so important to Indian cinema.

I will look at the treatment of women and how sexuality of women is represented in Indian cinema, the importance of the actor within Indian society and will briefly look at the use of costumes and elaborate sets used within the Indian film industry. First I will briefly consider some traits associated with American and European cinema as to see how these cinema types differ from that of India.

The cinema industry in Europe has a highly complex make-up, reflecting the cultural and expressive diversity of individual nations. If, on the one hand, the quantitative production levels of Europe's cinema industry have remained high (at roughly 600 full-length features a year, on a par with the United States, However only a minority of European titles manage to cross the borders of their country of origin. This is one major...