Bollywood self-fashioning: Indian popular culture and representations of girlhood in 1970s Indian cinema
1970s, Bollywood cinema, consumerism, fashion, gender roles, girlhood, South Asia
This article investigates how Bollywood cinema represented girlhood experiences in India in the early 1970s. It argues that the films during this time focused on representing girls who displayed a variety of new fashion styles and attitudes, some of which were borrowed from western cultures. This was a sign that there was a new way of representing girls which broke with the submissive, dull and melancholic sari-wearing Indian female stereotype entrapped within domestic settings. The immediate result of this was the emergence of new style leaders and popular icons in Indian popular cinema. This study uses Stephen Greenblatt’s concept of self-fashioning and Guy Mankowski’s idea of self-design to examine how Indian girlhood was renegotiated in the 1970s as an individual-centric idea with more agency and power. Here, self-fashioning refers to the way girls adopt new elements of fashion, styles and attitudes to distinguish their identity from earlier archetypal modes of representation in film and culture. It specifically analyses the emergence of Jaya Bhaduri in Guddi (1971) and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby (1973) as case studies to understand the transformation of girlhood representations in early 1970s Bollywood that opened a new space for girls to redefine their selfhood through the assimilation of consumerism, western culture and fashion styles.
Raj, S. J. & Suresh, A. K. (2023). Bollywood self-fashioning: Indian popular culture and representations of girlhood in 1970s Indian cinema. Film, Fashion & Consumption, 12(1), pp. 67–82. https://doi.org/10.1386/ffc_00053_1
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