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Picturing the Anthropocene through flood narratives: the environmental disaster discourse in Indian cinema

Faculty Advisor




flood, disaster, India, Anthropocene, environment

Abstract (summary)

Narratives of disaster play a significant role in the construction of perspectives on the Anthropocene. In an age where human activity has crossed many boundaries to explicitly reveal the imminent threat of ecological degradation, environmental disasters need to be addressed with utmost seriousness. Cinema being the popular art of the technologically advanced and globalized world, it is possible to realistically visualize environmental disasters and their impact on the ecosystem. For instance, cinematic representation of geographies of the tropical regions affected by climate change and natural disasters helps one understand the complex sociocultural repercussions that restructure the very fabric of organic life. This chapter examines how narratives of flood in Indian cinema define the notion of ecological disaster in India. Floods are one of the most common natural disasters in India as their sudden and long-term impact on the natural environment puts the lives of millions of people and animals at risk. Films that show floods as a narrative tend to emphasize the cultural disorientation as a result of the monstrosity of water. This can be argued as an anti-romantic approach whereas such narratives essentially subvert the aesthetics of rain, acommon theme in Indian cinema. When floods alter the geography of a region, it reflects the vulnerability of a given population and the consequences of human activity that force them to vacate the premises of their habitat. Using contemporary disaster discourses, this chapter deconstructs the spectacles of flood in Indian cinema to understand their overarching impact on the geography, culture, and life in India.

Publication Information

Raj, S. J. & Suresh, A. K. (2022). Picturing the Anthropocene through flood narratives: The environmental disaster discourse in Indian cinema. In E. Nicosia & L. Lopez (Ed.), Cinema, Disasters and The Anthropocene. 15 July. pp. 204-217.



Item Type

Book Chapter



Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)