Hindi films in Trinidad: imagining alternative female subject positions
Hanna Klien (University of Vienna)
Hindi films are widespread in Trinidad and used to be a primary identity marker of Indo-Trinidadians. With the emergence of the so called 'New Bollywood Film' the medium has opened up to new decoding practices. In general, these films aim at a global audience, consequently, other ethnic groups in Trinidad increasingly engage with these media products. Especially young women project their desires and ideals onto the media text, developing certain practices of imagination. Thereby, value systems and gender roles represented in the films are reinterpreted in the local context. Emotional and sexual desires are often linked to socio-political and economic ones, which enable the female recipient to imagine alternative subject positions. Thus, 'imagination as social practice' (Appadurai) can also be seen as a practice of empowerment for women from diverse cultural backgrounds suffering under different forms of patriarchal repression. The paper is based on ethnographic data collected in Trinidad.