Department of Anthropology
Making movies: workers in the Bombay Film Industry
WSUV Faculty participants
My initial research in 2002 was to discover the everyday activities and interactions of film workers as participants in the making of cultural artifacts. I wanted to know how work habits were woven into the structure of a film, arguing that the professional activities of even low level crew members were not simply to be seen as tasks to be executed, but were reflective, informed practices that might cast new light on how to make sense of Hindi film. I ended up focusing mostly upon costume producers, as a logical progression from my previous ethnography of an embroidery industry in Lucknow, India. This allowed me to include film personnel from a range of backgrounds (from costume/fashion designers to dresswalas (costume shops) to tailors), with a variety of different skills, both men and women, and critically maintaining economic and social relations with the changing commodity economy of Bombay.
Over a seven year period, I have conducted well over 100 in-depth interviews with film personnel, alongside participant observation at film and television sets, workshops and retail stores. The research has resulted in five published articles with two more pending, and one other in preparation. In 2010 I did further research in the city with the help of a WSU Vancouver mini-grant award.
My book on this research, Fashioning Bollywood: The Making and Meaning of Costumes in Hindi Film was published in 2014.
Articles and Chapters
Click markers for more info. Archaeological: Ethnographic: