An exploration of the way commercial Hindi cinema has represented a post-globalization national identity, delinking it from memories of partition as well as confrontational international politics vis-a-vis Pakistan in the decade since 1995.
Sunny gives an overview of the book:
Set against the backdrop of such rapidly paced historic changes, Hindi cinema has followed its historical role of engaging with the events and reflecting as well as anticipating the nation’s discontents. In the past decade Hindi film industry has attempted to both reflect and construct an adequate national self-image as well as an appropriate national discourse for these changes. This process has taken various guises and stages, but for purposes of this paper, we focus on the following:
- Naming of and focus on Pakistan as a major of source of terrorism and internal unrest, while simultaneously blaming a feeble, ineffective or oppressive state.
- Transformation of India’s Muslim minority from apparent susceptibility to Pakistan to citizens of the contemporary nation-state.
- Constructing a contemporary national identity through an “independence” narrative that sidelines and ignores the Partition of 1947 as a keystone of the formation of national identity.
Drawing on films as different as Border, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Gadar, Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani, Sarfarosh, Lakshya, Main Hoon Na, Rang de Basanti and Fanaa,, among others, this essay explores the above mentioned issues through readings of the mentioned film-texts and how they mediate, legitimize or, indeed, subvert entrenched Pakistan-centric political discourse through the use of content, theme, star-power or indeed auteur -intent. Through these means, the paper attempts to demonstrate the gradual but distinct move by Hindi cinema from a Pakistan-centric and Partition-related construct of the national self-image to an increasingly self-reflexive and self-reflective one. These films are not necessarily chosen for their alleged “quality” or indeed theme, but instead for their self-professed commercial intent.
SUNNY SINGH was born in Varanasi, India, and grew up in various parts of the world. Her first novel – Nani's Book of Suicides – was first published by Harper Collins India Pvt Ltd in 2000 and described as a "first novel of rare scope and power." The Spanish...
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