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UPDATE: Bollywood and the Crises of Representation: Terrorism, Us, Them, and 9/11
full name / name of organization:
South Asian Cinema-Victoria College
Popular Indian cinema has witnessed a steady rise in the production of movies related to terrorism and threat to national security since 2001. While critically and aesthetically examining the perpetual threats that India lives under, these movies have successfully captured the jingoistic fervor and pride that have repeatedly trumped such adversity. In addition, Bollywood’s focus has interestingly shifted from cross-border terrorism to the global terrorism revolving around America and her allies, their insurgencies in the Middle East and the subsequent tremors felt everywhere, especially by Indian expatriates. This shift is socially and culturally an important one, for quite some time now, racial profiling has been a sensitive issue to South Asians on American soil, especially since 9/11. For instance, travelers of Islamic origins have been frequently hauled up at airports and other such strategic points for additional security screenings. More recently, the frisking of one of our former Presidents and a Bollywood superstar reignited the debate of racial and cultural profiling; one producer even went to the extent of making this frisking event the subject of My Name is Khan, a movie aimed at educating Americans that not all Muslims are terrorists.
Vacillating between the extremes of conciliatory postures and jingoism, other movies like Kurbaan, New York, and A Wednesday, while strongly condemning acts of terrorism, romanticize the notion of a nation or culture under siege. Interestingly then, in the current geopolitical context, Bollywood has been trying its best to engage in the global dialogue of war on terror. However, in this shifting of lens towards the larger picture, have issues dealing with domestic terrorism been gradually side tracked? If so, how and why did that happen? Is it warranted? Is Bollywood consciously sidetracking domestic terrorism in favor of jumping the international “war on terror” bandwagon with financial profits in mind? Or, is this shift an inevitable outcome of the larger socio-political ramifications that genuinely affect South Asians abroad? These are some of the questions that this proposed anthology seeks to explore.
We invite papers that consider the socio-cultural ideology underlying the emerging trends in Indian cinema that tries to grapple with the supposed roots of various emerging faces of terrorism, domestic or international.
Topics may include, but are limited to: