Bollywood Representations of Kashmir and Kashmiris: Between Orientalist Melodrama and Post-colonial Representation


This paper starts from the ideas that Indian cinema seeks to describe Indian culture (Nandy, 1995) and that filmmakers’ use of intertextuality makes them the discernible conscience of the Indian nation (Thomas, 1995) in order to explore the depiction of Kashmir and Kashmiris in Bollywood films. It argues that these films portray a kind of “Indianization,” not only in their plots and how characters’ emotions, singing, dancing, and fighting are made essential parts of the film, but in how they are structured according to the rules of melodrama, which require a moral dichotomy (Thomas, 1995) that must comply with the state’s agenda of fomenting Hindu nationalism (Mishra, 2001). This paper deploys post-colonial theory to describe and analyze the depiction of Kashmir and Kashmiris in major Bollywood films since 1989.

Author Information
Fokiya Akhtar, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2020
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the MediAsia2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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