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Storytelling in World CinemasContexts$
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Lina Khatib

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163378

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163378.001.0001

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Qissa and Popular Hindi Cinema

Qissa and Popular Hindi Cinema

(p.183) Qissa and Popular Hindi Cinema
Storytelling in World Cinemas

Anjali Gera Roy

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the presence of the Persio-Arabic qissa (story) of Majnun Laila in Hindi cinema. Given that much of Hindu tradition is not focused on stories of romantic love, or in presenting a template for the idealised marital union through the figures of Rama and Sita in the epic Ramayana, the Persio-Arabic qissa has come to provide a template for the hero in Hindi films in the form of the infatuated Majnun, and the object of his desire in the garb of Laila — creating a sensual image of the Muslim female as a site of forbidden desire. As such, the qissa of Majnun Laila is used to disrupt the dharmic principle, with the lovers meeting a tragic end because of this, but the story has been reincarnated so many times in Hindi cinema that it shows the deep implication of the Islamic in the Hindu.

Keywords:   Hindi cinema, qissa, Majnun Laila, dharmic principle, Islam, Ramayana

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