The Ready-Made Pleasures of Déjà Vu: Repeat Viewing of Bollywood Films

Arjun Appadurai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay argues that the phenomenon of repeat viewing of films by Bollywood audiences is worthy of being treated as an unusual cultural practice in which repetition and difference support and reinforce each other in the manner suggested by Gilles Deleuze. This relationship is particularly enabled by the relationship of music to plot in these films, in which song sequences provide a repetitive or percussive element that deepens the melodic and innovative element provided by the story. Not all films are able to attract repeat viewers, which raises a question about the role of the "formula" in the Hindi film industry. Further, the pleasures of repetition in this domain offer a suggestive perspective on India's larger political dilemma, which is to combine the repetition of Western modernity with the unique developmental signature of Indian culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-152
Number of pages13
JournalCambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Bollywood
  • cinema, pleasure
  • difference
  • globalization
  • repetition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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