Bollywood film highlighted

Students have the opportunity to take a virtual trip to Bollywood in a new course available next semester called  LIBS 209: Bollywood and Globalization.  

The course satisfies the C1 area of the general education pattern and also counts for elective credit toward the film studies minor offered at Sonoma State University. 

The definition of Bollywood means films produced by the Mumbai film industry, primarily in the Hindi language. They contain song and dance numbers as part of the plot.  Surprisingly, Bollywood only encompasses about 20 percent of Indian cinema. 

The class will mainly focus on Bollywood and globalization.  Throughout the course, students will be looking into some of the social and economic changes in India during the period of liberalization in the 1990’s and see how those changes shifted Bollywood and Bollywood films.  The course will include many film screenings.

“All of the Bollywood things I’ve seen are so fun to watch,” said sophomore Sarah Seaborne, “if we watch a lot of Bollywood films in this class I’ll definitely sign up for it. I think I would love it.”

At the end of the course students will be able to answer questions such as the difference between Bollywood films and Slumdog Millionaire films; representations of sexuality and gender changed throughout 21st century Bollywood; and how the Western world influenced Bollywood’s style.

The professor of the course, Ajay Gehlawat ,told the STAR, “This is the first time such a course is being offered at Sonoma State University and it’s particularly nice that it will be a large-level course held in Warren Auditorium, as the best way to experience Bollywood is on a big screen with a big audience.”

Gehlawat will teach the course in the spring on Fridays in Ives Hall. Gehlawat is an associate professor of theatre and film
in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies and
program coordinator of the new film studies minor at Sonoma State.  He taught here since 2007 and before that he taught at the Pratt Institute and the City University of New York.  He holds a doctorate in theatre and film at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

“I hope that, in the process, students will not only learn more about Bollywood and India, but also, more broadly, develop an ability to engage in critical discourse about global cinemas and cultures,” said Gehlawat.

Although this is the first time this exact course has been offered, Gehlawat has taught classes like it before.  He has taught large GE film courses such as LIBS 204: Minorities in American Cinema and smaller seminars in the Hutchins School on Bollywood.  This course is modeled upon some of his previous courses. 

“Bollywood is a lot of fun, but it also raises a lot of interesting questions about global cultures,” said Gehlawat. 

This course will offer insight as to how to understand Bollywood beyond the dancing, singing and bright colors. It will provide students with a different way to understand film and the history of India and Bollywood.  It is different than your average C1 category GE like art history or American multicultural studies.

Megan Lee, a freshman looking to fill her C1 category in the GE pattern, said, “This actually seems like a really fun class, when I think of Bollywood I only think of ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’”

Look for this course for next spring registration to learn about Bollywood and how it’s changed film.