“Negotiating a Newer Hybridity: Technology in Bollywood Film Songs” presented by Dutta


Session Title:

  • Filmic Mediations

Presentation Title:

  • Negotiating a Newer Hybridity: Technology in Bollywood Film Songs




  • Through the 2000’s, Hindi (Bollywood) film music has undergone extensive technologisation – not only updates of existing recording techniques, but also high-end processing and editing with extensive incorporation of processed sounds and electronic devices, sounds and techniques. While this could be seen as a ‘globalising’ process with such music drawing from transnational genres (techno, hip-hop) emanating from discos and clubs of metropolitan centres across the world, film music has constantly renegotiated issues of locality and indigeneity. This period has seen continuing appropriation of folk and classical musics in technologised guises, evoking associations of authenticity and indigeneity even as they may be sought to be suitably hybridised and adapted for a metropolitan audience aware of ‘global’ trends. Such developments in music are linked with newer discourses on nationhood and national subjectivity in the period of liberalisation/globalisation: for example, the hybrid music of Hindi films like Bunty aur Babli (2005) or Swades (2004) clearly supports the cinematic construction of valorised national subjects negotiating between privileged metropoles and their perceived ‘peripheries’ such as rural or small town India.

    I propose to critically interrogate the place of technology in film music within these larger trends. How is the division of the local and the global constructed through newer deployments of technology? How does technology construct markers of cultural indigeneity, by deploying folk instruments or regional modes? Can technology create a sense of locational access, a literal capacity to ‘mix’ diverse or split worlds? I’d like to investigate the politics of such a hybridity, its inclusions and exclusions. I will use not only the archive of films from the 2000’s but also media reviews of film music and interviews by rising music directors to get a sense of music as informed by other discourses on the national, the local and the global level.

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