Ritual, Romance, and Royalty: Bollywood Remakes of Hindu Femininity
Global Media Journal: Canadian edition
Bollywood has always played a central role in brokering the connections between the Indian nation state and the diaspora. However, the twin forces of neoliberalization and Hindu nationalism amplified Bollywood's soft power and accelerated its function as a symbolic resource for diasporic identity. Using the term "mediatization" I track ways in which Bollywood facilitates the performance of a Hinduized femininity predicated on neoliberal ideologies. First, I analyze the mediatizations that have transformed the once limited, regional Karva Chauth ritual into a pan-Indian celebration that allows diasporic women to enact a desirable and consumable Hinduized femininity. Second, I examine how film watch parties and cosplay practices in the diaspora use the film Padmaavat (Bhansali, 2018) to stage Indianness as naturalized, lush, and empowering forms of Hindu femininity. By unpacking such diasporic mediated performances and practices, I demonstrate how Bollywood is strategically deployed in the construction of a globalized Hindu femininity that seamlessly incorporates religion and culture with lifestyle discourses. Furthermore, I argue that such constructions of Hindu femininity allow the muscular, aggressive ideology of Hinduivá to be softened and circulate uncritically in the diaspora.
Ram, A. (2021). Ritual, romance, and royalty: Bollywood remakes of Hindu femininity. Global Media Journal: Canadian edition, 13 (1), 28-44.