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East Meets West: Indian Adaptations of Gothic and Swashbuckling Films: Rebecca and The Prisoner of Zenda

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This article examines the Indian reproductions of Western films Rebecca and Prisoner of Zenda, arguing that they have led not just to imitations, but total appropriations of the themes, even though in the main framework the films follow the script of the originals closely. This article examines the two Indian films, Kohra (1964) and Jhinder Bondi (1961), arguing that they not only adapt, recast, and retell the stories of Rebecca and Prisoner of Zenda, but most importantly, reinvent an Indian setting and an era, especially with the aim of making them super hit movies. While these are popular movies, meant to entertain the audience — in the same way gothic and adventure stories are meant to capture the audience’s gaze through suspense and thrill — we do notice fine touches that lift them above the level of blockbusters. It will point out how the Indianization really helps us to appreciate the divergences of eastern and western cultures, where they part and where they meet.
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Keywords: Hitchcock; Indianization; adventure; blockbusters; reinvention; reproduction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: SUNY Buffalo

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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