Raat Ki Rani : nightclubs, vamps and urban transgressive spaces in Hindi cinema

Rekhari, Suneeti 2011, Raat Ki Rani : nightclubs, vamps and urban transgressive spaces in Hindi cinema, in Proceedings of Cinemaspace : Indian Cinema and The City Conference, [Rice University], Houston, Tex.].

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Title Raat Ki Rani : nightclubs, vamps and urban transgressive spaces in Hindi cinema
Author(s) Rekhari, Suneeti
Conference name Cinemaspace : Indian Cinema and The City Conference (2011 : Houston, Tex.)
Conference location Houston, Tex.
Conference dates 3 - 4 Nov. 2011
Title of proceedings Proceedings of Cinemaspace : Indian Cinema and The City Conference
Editor(s) [unknown]
Publication date 2011
Publisher [Rice University]
Place of publication Houston, Tex.]
Keyword(s) Hindi cinema
Gender studies
Summary This paper considers how city spaces in Hindi cinema have repeatedly been viewed as sites of transgressive sexual experience, particularly via representations of female sexuality in nightclubs and the flagrant performances of the women or ‘vamps’ that inhabit them. Emerging in Hindi cinema in the 1950s, and becoming a staple in films of the 1960s and 1970s, the ‘vamp’ became synonymous with unrestrained sexuality and the immorality of the city. The dichotomy between the idealised, bucolic, timeless village and the city as an icon of degenerate modernity was repeatedly seen in Hindi cinema, and the strongest signifier of this urban immorality was the ‘vamp’ who was seen as an outsider, and connoted urban vice, excess and desire. By and large the actresses that played ‘vamps’ (such as the blonde haired and blue eyed Helen) were of ‘Western’ appearance. The cabaret and nightclub were thus seen as being ‘Western’ in origin. This paper discusses how this was perhaps a response to colonial and Orientalist stereotyping, where the ‘Indian’ woman and the ‘Western’ woman operated as binary oppositional structures. Such oppositions were clearly present in nightclub dance performances, which were full of meaning to the cinematic audience, who would be able to ‘read’ the seductive, gyrating and explicit movements. This paper decodes examples of the movements in these ‘decadent’ performances, as it was through these movements and performances that the ‘westernised vamp’ became firmly located in urban transgressive spaces, closely tied with national anxiety about the depravity of city spaces.
Language eng
Field of Research 200212 Screen and Media Culture
200202 Asian Cultural Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950204 The Media
HERDC Research category E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30040326

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Created: Fri, 02 Dec 2011, 11:05:37 EST by Suneeti Rekhari

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