"Calling God on the Wrong Number: Religion in Hindi Cinema"
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
McClung Museum Auditorium
Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London. She took her BA in Sanskrit at SOAS, followed by an MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology at the University of Oxford. Her PhD research at SOAS was on the Gujarati lyrics of Dayaram (1777-1852). She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in cinema and supervises PhD research on Indian cinema.
Professor Dwyer’s main research interest is in Hindi cinema where she has researched and published on film magazines and popular fiction; consumerism and the new middle classes; love and eroticism (of the wet sari and of the kiss and saying ‘I love you’); visual culture (sets, locations and costumes); religion (Hinduism and Islam); emotions (anger and happiness); stars and star families (Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and the Kapoor dynasty); Gandhi and the biopic; Hindi cinema in East Africa and in the UK. Among her eleven books is one in the British Film Institute’s ‘World Directors’ series about one of the great figures of the Hindi film industry, Yash Chopra, with whom she worked for several years. She later wrote the BFI’s guide to ‘100 Bollywood films’ and edits a series on South Asian Cinema for Oxford University Press, Delhi. Her most recent books are Bollywood’s India: Hindi cinema as a guide to modern India. London: Reaktion Books; published as Picture abhi baaki hai: Bollywood as a guide to modern India, New Delhi: Hachette, 2014), and two edited collections: Bollywood. 4 edited volumes, Critical concepts in media and cultural studies (London: Routledge, 2015) and Keywords in modern Indian studies. Co-edited with Gita Dharampal-Frick, Monika Kirloskar and Jahnavi Phalke (New Delhi: Oxford University Press/New York: New York University Press, 2015).
Professor Dwyer’s other research interests include the Asian elephant in India, and she has published papers on the elephant in cinema, in literature and religion as well as several reviews and non-academic features.Professor Dwyer is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC Network Grant, ‘Soft Power, cinema and the BRICS’, with Professor Stephanie Dennison, University of Leeds.