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"Bollywood" adolescents: young viewers discuss childhood, class and Hindi films

Banaji, Shakuntala ORCID: 0000-0002-9233-247X (2012) "Bollywood" adolescents: young viewers discuss childhood, class and Hindi films. In: Benwell, Bethan, Procter, James and Robinson, Gemma, (eds.) Postcolonial Audiences: Readers, Viewers and Reception. Routledge research in postcolonial literatures. Routledge, London, UK, pp. 57-72. ISBN 9780415888714

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Historically the issue of class has been seen to be of overt significance in structuring narratives and representations of young people in the Romantic genre in Hindi cinema, and in the last few decades representations of class have altered almost beyond recognition. In the 1970s, young heroes or heroines tended to be poor, from single-parent families or impoverished areas.1 Malhotra and Alagh argue that depictions of class in these films are tied to an ethics-driven postcolonial vision: “wealth was linked directly to the corrupt, exploitative and dissolute world of old money or the landowning classes who aligned themselves with the colonial masters” (2004, 25). The 1990s saw a superfi cially comical shift. Released in 1994, after the dramatic liberalisation of the Indian economy (Fernandes 2000a and 2000b), Hum Aapke Hain Koun (HAHK: Who am I to you? dir. Sooraj Barjatya) is set in an elite India of fast cars and brand-names, while its heroines possess the traits of docile, traditional Indian daughters-in-law. It depicts as commonplace the everyday reality of a miniscule elite (Saldanha 2002, 341). Subsequent family melodramas placed commercial culture centre-stage, with teenage heroes driving convertibles, wearing branded clothing and jetting off in private helicopters to million-dollar apartments. A viewer in Rao’s ethnography (2007, 64) comments: “If someone makes a fi lm where the hero is not rich then they call it an alternative fi lm. Why is a film about a poor man alternative in India? Majority of Indians are poor!” Saliently, noting the films’ resonance with political propaganda of neoliberal and far-right religious-political elites, textual accounts of this era of Hindi cinema deplore commercial films as depoliticising, capitalist fantasies (Bharucha 1995; Juluri 1999).

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 16:03
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 05:33

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