Accepted Paper:

Soundscape, soundmarks, musical trajectories: the architecture of sound and music in popular Hindi cinemas  

Author:

Madhuja Mukherjee (Jadavpur University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper studies the soundtrack of Hindi popular films between 1930s and 1960s. Moreover, it deals with film music’s connections with the gramophone industry and it’s the mass acceptance with the intervention of radio. Furthermore, I discuss the shifts in the patterns of consumption during 1970s and 1980s. Briefly, I produce morphology of film music.

Paper long abstract:

This paper studies the soundtrack of Hindi popular films between 1930s and 1960s. By 'soundtrack' I mean the use of songs, sound, and silence. The paper has an elaborate mapping, since it tries to locate the points of intersections between music in general and the sounds of popular cinemas. Moreover, it looks into the connections that cinema makes with the gramophone industry, and the mass acceptance of film music with the intervention of radio.

While the mise-en-scene of Indian melodramas has been studied at great length, not much reading of it has been done with reference to its soundscape. Thus, by and large, I analyse the dominant tendencies of the popular form, and explore how it deploys certain sounds and music to produce a typical recognizable design. Therefore, this paper primarily examines the popular melodramatic form as well as the role of music and songs in it.

Furthermore, I also discuss the shifts that occur in the patterns of consumption of music during 1970s and 1980s. Referring to M. Madhava Prasad's (1998) formulations where he theorises films of this period as the 'aesthetic of mobilisation', I re-read this problem of industrial and formal 'mobilisation' through the soundtrack. Briefly, I examine Hindi melodramas, popular music, and the contexts, in my attempt to produce morphology of sound and music.

Panel P27
Technologies, industries, practices: examining the soundscape of Indian films