Bollywood Shakespeare 12/15/2010

full name / name of organization: 
Craig Dionne/Eastern Michigan Univ & Parmita Kapadia/Northern Kentucky Univ.
contact email: 

Bollywood Shakespeare: Cultural Dialogues through World Cinema and Theater

Abstracts/drafts/letters of interest due by Dec. 15 2010. Email as attached to both: and

This collection of essays will focus on the way Shakespeare's dramatic work is appropriated by different generations of Bollywood film artists to reflect on the complicated place Shakespeare has in the postcolonial English world canon. Ideally, we are looking for theoretical engagements with the latest adaptations of Shakespeare's plays in contemporary Hindi cinema, such as Merchant Ivory's Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Angoor (1982) directors like Vishal Bhadwaj's Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006), Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) and Water (2006). However, we are also interested in how world cinema and theater responds to Bollywood's representation of "Shakespeare" by incorporating gestures and styles on stage and in different pop forms. Questions that drive this collection include...

--What aspects of Shakespeare's dramatic work appeal to Bollywood? As a popular cinema? What Shakespeare, exactly, becomes part of this popular cinema? How does Shakespeare's participation in the early modern "hodge podge" of cultural dramatic forms get picked up, or "identified" by Bollywood's mixture of aesthetics?

--Is the category "Bollywood" being broadened and/or misapplied when used in reference to Shakespeare films from India?

--How closely must the forms and aesthetics of Bollywood be followed for a Shakespeare film to be considered "Bollywood Shakespeare"?

--Does Bollywood Shakespeare suggest or point towards a transnational Shakespeare genre included in Bollywood's global reach with audiences in the Middle East, Northern Africa, the subcontinent and diasporic communities in the UK, Europe, and North America?

--How does Shakespeare figure in the way Bollywood negotiates its relative "distance" to/from Hollywood? Bollywood posits itself against the Western film industry but Bollywood does not conform to aims of Third Cinema. Where does Shakespeare figure in this dynamic?

--What is distinct about Bollywood Shakespeare? That is, what makes this form of appropriation different from other cinemas? Asian Shakespeare on film? Third cinema?

Parmita Kapadia
Associate Professor
Department of English
Northern Kentucky University

Craig Dionne
Professor of English Literature
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197