Women and Marriage in Bollywood and Diasporic Cinema: Impact of Indian Cinema on the Role of Women and Marriage in Urban India

By Reshmi Lahiri-Roy.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper analyses the impact of mainstream ‘Bollywood’ cinema and generated ideas of romance on the discourses present within middle and upper-middle class urban Indian marriages amongst Hindus and especially the role of women in marriage and family hierarchies. It looks at selected samples from the last 15 years of mainstream Hindi cinema contrasting their ideology with selected samples of diasporic Indian cinema. The Gramscian concept of ‘hegemony’ is used to substantiate arguments within the paper and implications of culturally generated ideas on love and romance are discussed. It explores the issue of Bollywood cinema as a propaganda tool for patriarchal hegemony and looks at the availability of an alternate discourse through the medium of diasporic Indian cinema. The vital role played by fantasy within Indian marriages is explored and the focus is on commercial Hindi films which fall within the genre of ‘melodrama.’ All films discussed in the paper are framed within a strong North Indian cultural background with one exception which exhibits a South Indian albeit cosmopolitan cultural ethos. Finally the paper aims at exploring the viability of the alternate cinematic discourse providing positive insights into a steadily changing socio-cultural discourse within urban Indian middle class society.

Keywords: Bollywood, Diaspora, Hegemony, Women, Marriage, Family, Romance, Fantasy

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 10, pp.79-90. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.213MB).

Dr. Reshmi Lahiri-Roy

Associate, New Zealand South Asian Centre, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr. Reshmi Lahiri-Roy holds a Ph.D. in English and Cultural Studies and a Master of Arts, from University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She has a M.A. in English, a B.A. in English from University of Bombay, India and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Bombay. She teaches within the New Zealand South Asia Centre, University of Canterbury. Her research interests include Postcolonial Studies, Cross-cultural Studies, Bollywood and Diasporic Cinema, Migrant and Gender issues. She has presented her academic work at notable international conferences.


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