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Song and Society, Ian Batson

“Look at our society? Every occupation… has a song attached to it. Every occasion… is accompanied by a song … Songs are a way of life for us” (Inside and out: Song and dance in Bollywood cinema). When first watching Bollywood film, I found the musical interludes to be an annoyance. The music would fade in and the lip sinking would inevitably begin. I couldn’t help to allow my focus to fade and eagerly await the end of the song sequence so the diegetic main plot line could resume. I just couldn’t see what the song sequences added to Hindi film and, furthermore, suspected they were added solely in order to lengthen the total duration of the film. I did understand that they were used in order to convey strong emotion, but I was convinced there was a better, more succinct, way to demonstrate this without drawing attention away from the central story. This article provided me the first piece of evidence that suggested a purpose for these interludes that outweighed the temporary distraction of the viewer from the purpose of the film. This quotation suggest that song IS part of the main purpose of the film. Since Hindi film strives to relate to the viewer through developing a black and white hero, who the audience strongly likes and tries to identify with, and a villain, who the audience sees as an obstacle the hero’s (and by extension their) prevail. The song further helps the viewer integrate a part of themselves into the plot. Song is a way of life in hindi culture. It is commonly observed and participated in, through singing along or dancing, in all aspects of life. There are songs for most, if not all occasion, and since they are sung during special times of celebration in one’s life, they are directly related to emotion. For this reason, song is in fact centrally important to Hindi film (not just a distraction or a time sink). Hindi film would not provoke such strong emotion and be such an original genre without the incorporation of song.

Filed by Ian Batson at January 30th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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