Iconic imagination: listening to, and looking back at, the piano in early Hindi cinema

Andrew Alter, Jasmine Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article identifies and analyses a selection of Hindi films between 1942 and
1991 in which pianos are used for songs. The number of such films is not great and
thus the piano is theorized as cameo – it arrives on-screen and in the soundtrack
with a clear purpose in order to reference a set of symbols from outside the film’s
narrative. Consequently, it represents not only a nostalgia for the recent colonial
condition, but also a host of cultural ideologies associated with westernization. By
compiling the list and analysing this set of films, we attempt to more clearly understand the symbolic meanings indexed through the picturization, and to contribute to a theorization of musical symbolization in film.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalStudies in South Asian Film and Media
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • piano
  • score
  • colonialism
  • instrument
  • symbolism
  • westernization

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