Ajay Gehlawat, professor of Theatre and Film in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies published a new book, The Evolution of Song and Dance in Hindi Cinema.
This new edited collection is based on an international symposium held at SSU during the spring of 2017. Along with organizing this symposium, Ajay collaborated with the Green Music Center to help put together two related events – the West Coast premiere of the digitally restored version of Uday Shankar’s landmark dance drama Kalpana (Imagination, 1948) and the world premiere of Leela Dance’s classical Indian dance production, Son of the Wind. The ensuing edited collection, which features the work of leading global theorists and up-and-coming scholars, addresses the multiple histories and innovations of song and dance as manifested in Hindi cinema.
Gehlawat says, "It was a rich experience, blending academic discussion with live performance in an exemplary model of theory and practice informing one another in innovative ways."
Through the symposium and the ensuing performance by Leela Dance, we learned about the history and ongoing developments of Indian dance as they relate to Indian cinema and, particularly, to Bollywood, which is the most prolific cinema industry in the world. Ajay shared these insights with his students, who also attended these events, in my concurrent large-level GE course, LIBS 209: Bollywood and Globalization. Future students will also benefit from having the opportunity to read the essays included in his collection and study the related films and dance forms.