Accepted paper:

Secularization of the Muslim in popular Hindi cinema


Roshni Sengupta (University of Leiden)

Paper short abstract:

Popular Hindi films have in the recent past witnessed a trend towards secularizing the Muslim in film narratives. The paper would endevour to explore these tendencies and their political implications.

Paper long abstract:

The unmistakable tendency of recent film narratives to posit the on-screen Muslim in secular spaces with non-religious motivations remains an intriguing trend in the development of popular Hindi cinema, commonly known as Bollywood cinema. This trend marks a break from earlier representations of Muslims as terrorists, communal propagandists and rioters. The New Wave, therefore, portrays Muslims as central protagonists with the narratives assigning them agendas and motives that are not religious or faith-driven. For example, in Gangs of Wasseypur the actions of the Muslim clans were motivated not by religion but by enmities arising out of turf battles between rivals gangs. The paper would like to explore these recent tendencies and their political implications.

panel P03
Arts of the political in contemporary South Asian literature and film