Cover for majumdar: Wanted Cultured Ladies Only!: Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s-1950s. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Wanted Cultured Ladies Only!

Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s-1950s
Awards and Recognition:

Received a Honorable Mention for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Best First Book Award, 2011.

Charting the rise of the film star in early Indian cinema

Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! maps out the early culture of cinema stardom in India from its emergence in the silent era to the decade after Indian independence in the mid-twentieth century. Neepa Majumdar combines readings of specific films and stars with an analysis of the historical and cultural configurations that gave rise to distinctly Indian notions of celebrity.

In tracking Hollywood's influence on India's conventions of stardom, Majumdar argues that discussions of early cinematic stardom in India must be placed in the context of the general legitimizing discourse of colonial "improvement" that marked other civic and cultural spheres as well, and that "vernacular modernist" anxieties over the New Woman had limited resonance here. Rather, it was through emphatically nationalist discourses that Indian cinema found its model for modern female identities.

Beginning with a history of the idea of stardom in India, Majumdar considers questions of spectatorship, gossip, and popularity as they pertain to two popular stars, Sulochana and Fearless Nadia, who occupied the highbrow and lowbrow ends of the spectrum of stardom in the 1930s and evoked very different fan responses. With the breakdown of the studio system in the mid-1940s, new configurations of stardom arose from the establishment of a star-based production system. To examine this "stardom racket," Majumdar analyzes the impact of star monopoly on textual and performance conventions through the half-century-long vocal dominance of playback singer Lata Mangeshkar as well as the 1950s actress Nargis.

"A brilliant, groundbreaking study that illuminates a heretofore little known era of Indian cinema. Its combination of rich historical research, rigorous analysis, and sophisticated critical insight marks the best, most effective film criticism."--Corey K. Creekmur, coeditor of Cinema, Law, and the State in Asia

"This enjoyable study is the only work of its kind on female stardom and Indian cinema. Majumdar examines a crucial turning point in Indian film history with the decline of the studio system, the rise of the star, and the coming of playback singing."--Rachel Dwyer, author of Filming the Gods: Religion and Indian Cinema


Neepa Majumdar is an associate professor of English and film at the University of Pittsburgh.

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/35naw7db9780252034329.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Into the Vortex - Cover
Into the Vortex

Female Voice and Paradox in Film

Britta Sjogren

Joel and Ethan Coen - Cover
Joel and Ethan Coen

R. Barton Palmer

The Inquisition in Hollywood - Cover
The Inquisition in Hollywood

Politics in the Film Community, 1930-60

Larry Ceplair and Steven Englund

Journalism in the Movies - Cover
Journalism in the Movies

Matthew C. Ehrlich

Journal of Film and Video - Cover
Journal of Film and Video

Edited by Michael Clarke

Wong Kar-wai - Cover
Wong Kar-wai

Peter Brunette

Women and Experimental Filmmaking - Cover
Women and Experimental Filmmaking

Edited by Jean Petrolle and Virginia Wright Wexman

Claire Denis - Cover
Claire Denis

Judith Mayne

Contesting Identities - Cover
Contesting Identities

Sports in American Film

Aaron Baker

American Jewish Filmmakers (2d ed.) - Cover
American Jewish Filmmakers (2d ed.)

David Desser and Lester D. Friedman

Chinese Face/Off - Cover
Chinese Face/Off

The Transnational Popular Culture of Hong Kong

Kwai-Cheung Lo

Edward Yang - Cover
Edward Yang

John Anderson