One of my favorite people from the Fulbright program in India this summer is Dr. Michael Marcus, who teaches high school world history and anthropology. His project from this summer is on textiles and trade in Indian history. However, he has an increasing interest in Bollywood - and has even come up with the a bang-on description: "a strange combination of the kitsch and the socially and culturally meaningful" - and the two are beginning to overlap. (Bollywood overlaps with a lot of my life, I find, so I'm not at all surprised.)
Dr. Marcus has asked me the following question and wants readers' help.
I have had this strange fascination lately with Raj Kapoor, and on my "shemaroo" disc "showman of the millenium" (not too hyperbolic, eh?) there is a song from RK's old Barsaat called "Hawa Mein Udata Jayen," which is in the genre, I believe, of what is called a "Dupatta" or "Chunari" song. Now that means a piece of cloth imbued with lots of meaning, head covering, veil, married, unmarried, I don't know. I understand there is also the use of a song called "Chunari Chunari" in Monsoon Wedding which thanks to netflix I will be looking into soon. Anyway google searching the subject only turns up examples of the genre, no fuller description or explanation of what (I suspect) is the rich meaning lying underneath. So, could you possibly ask your readers to contribute info to me about this song type? and its appeal? its deeper meanings and how tie in to social customs, ritual and so on? are their issues of "unveiling" or removing taboos as well? Anyway, that's the idea.Can anyone help? Even if you don't want to post a comment, if you'd be willing to email me any ideas or leads, I will happily forward them on to him. Thank you!