What is the Hindi movie

The heroine in Hindi films since the 20th century until today

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Mvthological models
2.1 Sita
2.2 Savitri
2.3 Draupadi

3 The heroine
3.1 1920 - 1960: The Ideal Women
3.2 1960-1990: The Good-Bad Girl
3.3 1990-2011: Westernized women and the dissolution of the stereo types

4 conclusion

1 Introduction

When the pioneer of Indian film Dhundiraj Govind Phalke published "Raja Harishchandra", the first Indian silent film in a feature length, in 1913,1 no one could have guessed the importance of the medium of film in India in the 20th and 21st centuries. As a mirror for societal, social and political attitudes, it is influenced by corresponding developments rather than driving them forward. Nowadays, India is home to the largest film industry in the world, with an average of 900 films produced each year, with almost 30% of its products coming from Mumbai.2 the metropolis of Hindi cinema on the Arabian Sea. For this reason, the following housework in the context of the lecture "Cultural History of South Asia and Tibet" deals exclusively with Hindi films as the performing arts of the last century to the present day, with the question of how the female heroines were figured in different epochs and how they looked As a starting point, the first chapter deals with the mythological models that are omnipresent part of the characterization of the roles of women. The three most important - Sita, Savitri and Draupadina are examined more closely, both in their historical-religious history, as well as their character significance for the fictional woman in the film. In the following, the prevailing stereotypes of the woman as a heroine are differentiated under the division into three temporal stages in which particularly large development processes took place. For these purposes, the periods 1920 to 1960, 1960 were chosen until 1990 and 1990 until h today. Using examples from the cinema, the visual and content expression of the ideal women, the good-bad girl and the current form of the heroine, with special consideration of the "westernized" woman, are discussed. At the end, the resulting findings are compactly summarized and incorporated An outlook on the further course of the depiction of the heroine in Indian cinematography is given.

2 Mvthological models

Not only in the mythological genre, which focuses on religious folk tales and which enjoyed great popularity, especially in the early years of Hindi films from 1913 to around 1930,3 Female roles were and are often constructed based on the models of Hindu goddesses or their reincarnations. To this day, the strength and, to a certain extent, the invincibility of a heroine are measured by their resemblance to holy idols. Only this figuration, whether as a directly adopted figure or indirectly represented by explicit references in dialogues and singing, make the female character rich in substance.4 It doesn't matter what kind of person is portrayed,5 as long as the decisive ability to maintain or restore the honor, which is the intention of most female ranks, is to be assigned to one of the well-known gods.

"The steadfastnes of Sita, the power of Durga, the determination of Savitri, the knowledge of Saraswati and the wiles of Kaikeyi are all reiterated repeatedly in Hindi cinema."6

Especially the two great Indian epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana7 provide models for popular stereotypes that are used in many ways in film. In "Passages to Bollywood", Claus Tieber names the three most common female mythological figure patterns: Sita, Savitri and Draupadi8.

2.1 Sita

Sita's story is part of the Ramayana. As the wife of the hero Rama, she is kidnapped by Damon Ravana and then rescued by her husband. But the latter doubts her loyalty to him and so she subjects herself to the fire test of the god Agni9who confirms her innocence. After her return to Rama's realm, Rama's kingdom still casts her away, as rumors spread among the people about Sita's possible adultery. She gave birth as a hermit and raised Rama's sons (twins) in the forest until she met her husband again years later. Although he takes care of his sons, he asks Sita to prove their innocence again. She then asks mother earth to take her back into her lap and flees from worldly life.

Sita not only embodies the "patiently suffering woman"10who persistently loves her husband despite the injustice committed against her, but also "virtue personified"11. Above all, mother and traditional wife roles are based on her in all of the Indian cinematic epochs.12

2.2 Savitri

In the third book of the Mahabharata the saga of Savitri is told, which covers all the duties of the Dharma13 fulfilled and, in order to save her great love Satyavan, becomes an ascetic. He, as messengers of God say, had only one year left to live. To stop his death, Savitri practices asceticism and yoga and even vows to stand uninterrupted. When death comes, she argues with him until he not only releases Satyavan, but also gives the blind father-in-law his eyesight and promises sons to the whole family. Their specific properties are virtue and purity14 and determination15. Skills that are particularly useful when characterizing the Indian "ideal woman"16 Find use.

The social adaptation is therefore hardly surprising:

"A common name for a good, faithful woman in India is" Sita-Savitri ""17

2.3 Draupadi

Princess Draupadi's fate is to be married to all of the five Pandava princes and to hold out with each of them for a year until she finally spends her life at the side of her 5th husband Yudhishthria. She loses her during the game to his relative Duryodhana, who becomes her 6th husband. In the Mahabharata it is described how he tries to humiliate her by publicly undressing her saris. Lord Krishna has mercy on her and makes the sari endlessly long, so that the exposure is prevented.

“Draupadi is always called when it comes to the (sexual) honor of women. Contemporary cinematic versions of the whole story can be found in Hindi films as well as allusions to them. In the 1980s the subgenre of the "avenging woman", the woman who avenged herself on her rapists, became popular. "18

Different forms of expression of Shakti, the female elemental force inherent in every Hindu goddess, seem to be a permanent manifesto in the design of a heroine on the canvas. Accordingly, the reading of the recipient has to be sensitized, sometimes more, sometimes less, to this peculiarity of Bollywood cinema.

3 The heroine

The heroines of the "B-Town"19 In the last 100 years of film history, productions have repeatedly undergone character changes. As with a chamaleon, the heroine's image and attitudes always changed in line with social developments and trends.20 Here, roughly three temporal stages can be distinguished, in which the construction of women's roles according to uniform stereotypes, or precisely their decline, are clearly visible. In the following, the periods 1920 - 1960, 1960 - 1990 and 1990 up to today are examined for their different role concepts of the protagonist.

3.1 1920 - 1960: The Ideal Women

From the 20s to the 60s, film heroines were mostly portrayed as loyal, self-sacrificing wives, virtuous girls and decent daughter-in-law.

"They are heroines who, as ideal Indian women, strive to uphold traditional values ​​- virginity, religious devotion, family cohesion and docility towards men."21

This ideal was modeled on Sita and Savitri from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, who embody absolute virtue. One saw in them no devaluation of women, on the contrary, an appreciation. Typical female qualities such as willingness to suffer and loyalty should be shown. Ramchandani states the task of the Devdas, as Indian heroines are also called, either to reinforce the patriarchal structures in the male-dominated plot as a romantic interlude or to suffer.22

"She takes a lot in her stride - abuse, infidelity, starvation, and persecution - and is somehow rewarded for it all as she manage to live happily ever after in most cases."23


1 Bamzai, 2007, p. 14.

2 From: http: //www.bolly-wood.de/bollywood.htm. Status: 19.09.2011

3 See Hemphill, 2009, p. 21.

4 See Ramchandani, 2003, p. 383.

5 See ibid.

6 ibid.

7 Indian national epics: Mahabharata 400 BC - 400 AD, Ramayana 4th century v. BC - 2nd century AD

8 See Tieber, 2007, pp. 27f.

9 Agni: Hindu fire god

10 ibid., p. 28.

11 Stockel, 2009, p. 4.

12 See ibid.

13 Dharma includes law, justice and custom, ethical and religious obligations in Hinduism and Buddhism.

14 See Bopp, 1829, http: //www.pushpak.de/bopp/suendflut009.html, status: 19.09.2011.

15 See Ramchandani, 2003, p. 383.

16 see 2. 1 "The Ideal Woman"

17 Tieber, 2007, p. 27.

18 ibid., p. 28.

19 B-Town: Colloquially for “Bollywood Town”, corresponds to Mumbai.

20 See Bhawana, 2003, p. 391.

21 Stockel, 2009, p. 3.

22 See Ramchandani, pp. 386f.

23 ibid.

End of the reading sample from 13 pages