Chew on this...

Whoever thought up of the neologism islamicate has much to answer for. May she or he immediately go on a staycation ... or at least think twice about inventing new words that sit in one's mouth, uncomfortably, suggesting sophomoric rhymes. Or worse. I'm no stylist, but its jarring, not least because most of the other words I know that end in icate are verbs...

Be that as it may, the latest book from Tulika, New Delhi, is Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema by Ira Bhaskar of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Richard Allen of the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Did they just mean Muslim influences on Bollywood? Probably not, or they might have used that...

"This book explores the Islamicate cultures that richly inform Bombay cinema. These cultures are imagined forms of the past and therefore a contested site of histories and identities. Yet they also form a culturally potent and aesthetically fertile reservoir of images and idioms through which Muslim communities are represented and represent themselves. Islamicate influences inform the language, poetry, music, ideas, and even the characteristic emotional responses elicited by Bombay cinema in general; however, the authors argue that it is in the three genre forms of The Muslim Historical, The Muslim Courtesan Film and The Muslim Social that these cultures are concentrated and distilled into precise iconographic, performative and narrative idioms.

Furthermore, the authors argue that it is through these three genres, and their critical reworking by New Wave filmmakers, that social and historical significance is attributed to Muslim cultures for Muslims and non-Muslims alike."

Glossy and colourful, this is one academic book that is also visually very appealing. In our Film Studies section. Hardcover, 360 pages, Rs 995. ISBN: 9788189487539

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