Changing Media

Amit Rai, Associate Professor at Stanford University has interests in, among other things, Modern Thought and Literature, Globalization Studies, New Media and Popular Hindi and Hong Kong Cinema. And the Anthropology of Monstrosity...

Rai has published on a wide array of cultural phenomenon, from sexuality and the body in Gandhi, to the idea of mimicry as resistance in images of Elvis in Hindi films. His recent book (OUP) Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India's New Media Assemblage analyzes the evolving aspects of audio-visual media. Rai argues that the fast-paced, multivalent qualities of contemporary Bollywood cinema symbolizes the changing conditions of media consumption in a globalizing India. He analyses contemporary media practices and focuses on the multiple, contradictory, and evolving aspects of audiovisual media. He sheds light on how cinema and other popular media organize bodies, populations, and spaces to manage power and sensation and to reinforce a liberalized postcolonial economy.

Rai’s experience of attending the first showing of a Bollywood film in a single-screen theatre in Bhopal––the exhibition space, the sound system, the visual style of the film, the crush of the crowd––is significant. From that event, he elicits an understanding of cinema as a historically contingent experience of pleasure, a place where the boundaries of identity and social spaces are dissolved and redrawn. Rai goes on to trace the emerging correlation between the postcolonial media assemblage and capitalist practices, such as viral marketing and the development of multiplexes and malls in India.

In our Film Studies and Media sections. Rs. 725, ISBN: 9780198066422