Archive for bollywood

How Bollywood portrays ‘the other’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 17, 2008 by Nur Meryem Seja


Film is not just an entertainment medium. It has been used and continues to be used to view history and can create and reinforce perceptions about the ‘Other.’ In Hindi cinema, the largest film industry in the world, depictions of the partition of India have been used to not only distort but propagandise how Pakistan and Muslims are viewed. A sanitised view of oneself and a muddied view of others is dangerous and irresponsible if left unchecked.

‘Cinema is the great interpreter of the past and constantly programs the memory of its audience,’ wrote Gaston Roberge (131). The twentieth century saw the greatest exodus known to mankind. Partition resulted in a displacement of 12 million refugees, over a million killed and tens of thousands of women kidnapped. Independence and its resulting traumatic partition was a subject mainly ignored by film makers at the time. After the second war between India and Pakistan in 1971, however, the political winds changed, and so did cinema. Indian cinema (commonly known as Bollywood) has shifted from a position of ignoring this phenomenon as a taboo, to being more antagonistic towards Pakistan and its Muslim population.

Gurinder Chadha, an English filmmaker of Indian descent, has written about Continue reading