From Hina to Haider: the Kashmir films of Bollywood
Julia Szivak (ELTE University, Budapest)
Paper short abstract:
In Bollywood Kashmir has always been represented as a romantic Heaven. But the Kashmir insurgency of the 1990s created a new type of Kashmir film dealing with belonging and terrorism. I examine the changing narratives of these films and its implications for nationalism, patriotism and identity.
Paper long abstract:
Since the 1960s Kashmir has been represented in Bollywood films as romantic Heaven on Earth, the metaphor of love and lust. But what happened, when reality and imagination diverged to that extent that even filmmakers were not able to overlook the gap? The violent Kashmir insurgency of the 1990s created such a situation and a new type of Kashmir films was born: the genre dealing with belonging, terrorism and religion. Hindi cinema has a following and impact unmatched by any other cinema, and it has a strong role in the building of a national identity. Bollywood films do not describe reality and do not thrive to do so, but are reflecting the way India is viewing its past, present and future, thus providing an invaluable insight into the nation's self-image. For this reason, it is very instructive to examine in Bollywood films the role of the Kashmir conflict, one of the most formative events with regards to India's relations to Pakistan and thus its own national identity. Bollywood has dealt with the topic with extensively in the 1990s and 2000s, establishing a genre dealing with the Kashmir conflict. Films have been made from various angles and viewpoints with regards to the role of "the terrorist", the role of the Indian and Pakistani states in producing and sustenance of the conflict, the people of Kashmir and the role of religions. In my presentation I examine the changing narratives of this type of films and its implications for nationalism, patriotism and identity.
Arts of the political in contemporary South Asian literature and film