Reimagining the 1970s: Romance, Sleaze and Obscenity in Bombay Cinema

  • Ankita Deb


Within the terrain of 1970s Bombay film culture, this chapter attempts to position a new landscape of desire. Desire here is the emergence of certain forms of sexualities within a mainstream representation. Through the wide circulation of images new to the decade within a specific sleaze industry, this chapter uses the trope of emergence of a new imagination of the female body in Bombay cinema. This new template of corporeality in effect allows for a rearticulation of romance in a number of key romance films of the decade. This chapter uses the emergence of a new female stardom to understand that shift in romance through a carnal space in a decade that was prominent for other developments in Bombay films. It represents a departure from the landscape of the feudal family romance, argued by Madhava Prasad (Prasad, M. Madhava Ideology of the Hindi film: A Historical Construction. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1998), where a heightened form of sexuality was understood as a post-globalization phenomenon. Notably, the 1970s reflected seismic shifts that created a dynamic presence of sleaze, romance, and repression through constant negotiation in the magazine and film cultures of Bombay.



I am deeply grateful to the staff of the National Film Archive, Pune, India, who allowed me to use their extensive film archives for this project. I am also grateful to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Library for its archive of newspapers, magazines, and dailies extensively used for this project. My sincerest gratitude to Dr Gilad Padva and Dr Nurith Buchweitz for their support and appreciation for my work, and to Dr Kaushik Bhaumik, who has been a constant guide and support through the entire project.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ankita Deb
    • 1
  1. 1.Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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