Colonial rebels in Indian cinema: narratives, ideology and popular culture

Faculty Advisor
historical film, ambivalence, interstitial perspective, independence, Bollywood, transnational, filmic adaptation
Abstract (summary)
Historical films are a widely discussed genre of visual narration as it poses the challenge of a reliable balance between history, myth and truth. Indian history and independence have been one of those themes that have been adapted into filmic narration, not only as a national oration, but from an international lens. Unlike any other historical moment, Indian Independence is the most celebrated and recurring themes of historical movies and still continuous to be a vibrant subject for Indian film makers. Dealing with the narration of a nation, often these films are looked at with a skeptical attitude, mostly because of its colonizer’s view of the colonized. This article addresses Bhabha’s (1994) interstitial perspective and mimicry of ambivalence positing that these films neither dominate nor propagate certain colonial ideologies, nor does it make the colonizer as a virtuous subject, but rather create an ambivalent identity, which is neither colonizer nor colonized, but a hybrid of it. Apart from some English productions on Indian colonial rule and independence, some Indian films are also taken as a case study to elucidate the concept of hybridity in cultural meaning. When the ‘object’ of history or the colonized reacts with their perception, it creates an ambivalence that is far different from the colonizer’s perception.
Publication Information
Jalarajan Raj, S. & Rohini, S. (2014). Colonial rebels in Indian cinema: Narratives, ideology and popular culture. Journal of Creative Communication, 8 (2&3), 251-263. DOI: 10.1177/0973258613512563.
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