Revisiting Indian Traditionalism in Shabd

‘Revisiting Indian Traditionalism in Shabd‘, my first publication for 2014, became available on Amazon a few days ago. It is included in Pennsylvania Literary Journal Volume V, Issue 3, Fall 2013, published by Anaphora Press. I am glad that my paper was accepted for this volume, not only because this isn’t my regular field of research, but also because of all the great contributors to this publication, starting by the editor Anna Faktorovich, Ph.D.

password: shabd

Below is the  abstract for ‘Revisiting Indian Traditionalism in Shabd‘:

Bollywood movies are largely influenced by the foundational mythical stories from Indian culture, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the importance of dance and singing intrinsically part of this civilization. They also present aesthetics that could be qualified as ‘spectacular narratives’, a term originally used by Geoff King to discuss postmodern Hollywood cinema, but that he traces down to much earlier forms of entertainment. The traditionalism that runs deep in Bollywood movies thus remains visible even in more contemporary feature films, even more daring ones, such as Shabd, directed by Leena Yadav. Numerous foundational elements of Indian traditionalism are present in that recent Bollywood production, although it actually revisits some of those patterns typical to such cinema. First of all, the concept of Sita, meaning a wife’s God is her husband, is extremely developed in the relationship between Shaukat and Antara. Secondly, both sensuality and seduction are inherent aspects of the movie, between Antara and the two men in her life, and mostly rely on dancing and singing scenes. Thirdly, the aesthetics of dream, allowing going past certain limits imposed in the movie’s ‘reality’ is crucial. Dreams are almost edited as a ‘parallel’ narrative in Shabd.

5 thoughts on “Revisiting Indian Traditionalism in Shabd

  1. Pingback: Zero to Hero Day 22: Blogging Events and Interesting Post Round up #3 | Rose B Fischer

  2. Rose F

    Okay, the vid. Having not seen the movie, I can’t comment fully on the clip choices, but based on the content of the clips and as they relate to the lyrics, I think there’s a strong emotional impact. Atmospherically, I think you make great use of the music as it’s timed to the motion of the clips and feels to me like a rhythmic dance. From a stylistic standpoint, I like your use of the effects in the source matierial, which I know because I’ve seen some of those clips before, and the timing of your cuts and fades is excellent. That’s not new for you. I’m surprised only when you DON’T have good transitions.


    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you for your comment! I hope you get to see this movie, because I think you would like it a lot, including with how it tackles writing related topics. I like that you point out the use of motion and the feeling of a rhythmic dance, which was something I was aiming at both because of the movie (which has one of the most outstanding tango like scenes I’ve ever scene) and the song. The visual effects in Shabd are gorgeous and it would have been a shame not to make use of them. I believe there is only once when I dabbed in added overlay in that video.



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