Course Descriptions

01:013:337: Film and Literature in South Asia (3) (spring)

Indian Cinema has drawn on literary texts for its source material since its earliest days. From epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the modern novel, many of the most celebrated films of South Asia are adaptations of literary works. In this course we will engage with a wide range of South Asian films and the literary works they are based on or “inspired by.” The relationship between the literatures and cinemas of South Asia is a complex one, because adaptation is more than a matter of simple fidelity to or deviation from the original source. Adaptation is fundamentally also a task of translation—of the correspondences between the written word and film language. In this course we will interrogate especially the poetics and politics of this translation in South Asia. We will explore a vast array of literary and filmic forms, from “high culture” films like Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955) and Charulata (1960) to popular Bollywood adaptations of Jane Austen such as Bride and Prejudice (2004) and Aisha (2010), in order to understand the range and diversity of adaptation in South Asia.