Course numbers: AMES 251, AMI 253, LIT 211, VMS 231
Course attributes: CCI, R, ALP, CZ
Traditional Indian aesthetics emphasizes the experience of the viewer. Less attention is paid to how the “external” world is represented; far greater attention is paid to how the “internal” world is stirred by a work of art. In this introduction to Indian cinema, we will extend our usual way of analyzing the latent ideology of art by practicing traditional Indian sensitivity. We will ask ourselves the following questions: What kind of participation does a film invite? Who does it encourage us to become as we watch the film—how alert, how sensitive, how informed, how speculative? What emotional effect does the film have upon us? Could that effect be described as catharsis? What might traditional Indian theoreticians mean when they describe the “tasting” of basic emotions induced by a work of art as the height of aesthetic experience?
Professor Khanna’s teaching and research interests lie in the application of Indian aesthetics to film and modern Hindi literature. He pays particular attention to the design of dhvani (resonance) in imaginative works. Professor Khanna’s recent translations from Hindi literature have been the poet Nirala’s fictional autobiography (A Life Misspent, 2016), the novelist Mohan Rakesh’s India travelogue (Out to the Farthest Rock, 2015), and the poet Vinod Kumar Shukla’s novel (Once it Flowers, 2014).
He also interprets the lives and works of contemporary Indian writers to an international audience through a series of documentary films and translations. Professor Khanna’s recent work includes a translation of Vinod Kumar Shukla’s Naukar ki Kameez (The Servant’s Shirt, Penguin India, 1999), an anthology of short fiction, His Daily Bread (Har Anand, 2000) and the series Literary Postcard on the Doordarshan national network in India.