Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gary and Nada both respond to my speculative remarks about Bollywood as "discover[ing] the surplus value in an outdated mode of production." I bow to their deeper knowledge of the subject (it's hard to find anything besides Bollywood lite in this small town); I will say, however, that I did not mean to refer to the films themselves as making use of the outdated mode of production of Hollywood musicals, rather that I imagined that Westerners would inevitably receive them as doing so. Nada and Gary's insistence on these musicals as their own creature (I am especially appreciative of Gary's point about the ingenious solution musicals provide to the problem of creating a national cinema when there isn't really a single national language) is both forceful and persuasive; still, Gary does admit to a degree of "camp pleasure" and I wonder if the taking of such pleasure doesn't involve a perspective like the one I'm adapting from Nealon. I don't think the taking of such pleasure requires what Nada calls a "cult stud" approach to the films; the "surplus value" manifests itself pretty blatantly (as when we say of an artwork we find campy that it's "over the top").

I'll be in New York at the end of the month for the Burning Chair reading series and while there I'll keep an eye peeled for some cheap Bollywood DVDs. It's high time I really watched a few of these films.

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