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Private lives and public spaces: the precarious pleasures of gender discourse in Raja Hindustani

Banaji, Shakuntala (2002) Private lives and public spaces: the precarious pleasures of gender discourse in Raja Hindustani. Women: a Cultural Review, 13 (2). pp. 179-194. ISSN 0957-4042

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09574040210148988


Banaji provides an analysis of Dharmesh Darshan's 1996 commercial Hindi film hit, Raja Hindustani, at three levels. First, she assesses the film from the point of view of a spectator and asks which elements of the film or strategies on the part of its director might account for the pleasures provided. In the process, the film's overt and covert constructions/assumptions of supposedly Indian forms of gender behaviour are identified. Second, she discusses Raja Hindustani as a semiotic text, whose subtle and often contradictory audio-visual clues attempt to structure the audience's perceptions. During this discussion, aspects of the pleasure on offer in the film are juxtaposed with possible meanings accruing from particular scenes to suggest the complexity of interpretation required when making assertions about a film's ideological positioning. Banaji finally explores the ways in which what could be termed'moral messages' or discourses of gender and sexuality, which permeate the film at a broader narrative level, seem to be understood by young viewers. Transcripts from in-depth as well as brief interviews with young filmgoers are used throughout to reveal and complicate assumptions about the impact or effect such films might have on gender behaviour. In addition, an attempt is made to contextualize both film sequences and youth responses to them via a brief discussion of current sociopolitical debates and practices in India.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2002 Taylor & Francis.
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2010 14:25
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2021 03:36

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