#DesiCraftChat: Samir Chopra on what Bollywood war movies reveal, inform, and reinforce

Desi Books Ep 46 w/ Samir Chopra Desi Books


(available at Anchor.fm, Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Overcast)

Hello and welcome to Episode 46 of Desi Books—news and views about desi literature from the world over. I’m your host, Jenny Bhatt. Thank you for tuning in.

In today’s #DesiCraftChat, we have Samir Chopra discussing his book, Bollywood Does Battle: The War Movie and the Indian Popular Imagination. In this conversation, we talked about what prompted him to write this book, how he chose the particular movies to study with closer readings, and some of the surprising and not-so-surprising things he learned in the process of writing it.

[music]

#DESICRAFTCHAT WITH SAMIR CHOPRA — INTRODUCTION

Samir Chopra is a professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York. He has written books on the politics of technology, the legal theory of artificial intelligence, military aviation history (which is this book), cricket, and Shyam Benegal, a renowned Bollywood movie director. He’s also written for venues like The Nation, Los Angeles Review of Books, and many more. And he’s a certified philosophical counselor.

How do Indians look at themselves and their nation through cinematic representations of war? Bollywood Does Battle: The War Movie and the Indian Popular Imagination takes a closer look at certain post-Independence Indian movies and their emotionally charged depictions of the country’s military history.

War is part of the story of the Indian nation; its presence in India’s past continues to shape the country’s present and future. The 1962 China war, the 1971 Bangladesh war, and the 1999 Kargil conflict all play outsized roles in the Indian popular imagination. The book examines classics of the war movie genre—Haqeeqat, Border, Hindustan Ki Kasam, Vijeta, LOC Kargil, Lakshya, and The Ghazi Attack—to see what they reveal and illuminate about the relationship of the nation to war. Chopra examines how these movies establish popular Indian understanding of patriotism, militarism, and nationalism and reinforce supposed ‘Indian’ values through their cinematic representations of war.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship of Indian films to Indian culture and history.

I so enjoyed this conversation with Samir because we’re both Bollywood fans. The book gives so much food for thought. And, despite its weighty topic, it’s written in an accessible, engaging manner. I revisited all the movies that he’s mentioned in the book with new insights and a better understanding.

Enjoy this chat. Here’s Samir now.

[music]

#DESICRAFTCHAT WITH SAMIR CHOPRA

[music]

You’ve been listening to episode 46 of Desi Books—news and views about desi literature from the world over. I’m your host, Jenny Bhatt. Thank you for tuning in.

Today’s #DesiCraftChat was with Samir Chopra discussing his book, Bollywood Does Battle: The War Movie and the Indian Popular Imagination.

Episode 47 will be up shortly. Follow on Twitter @desibooks, Instagram @desi.books, Facebook @desibooksfb. Tag the accounts if you have requests or suggestions. And please go to the website if you’d like to sign up for the free, weekly newsletter. That’s desibooks.co.

Stay healthy, keep reading, and write well.

[music]

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.™
Share your appreciation. Sign up for the free, weekly newsletter.

Join the Conversation