top of page

A series of essays

During uni I heavily researched and analysed the representation of several minority groups in Bollywood.​

This led me to work on the following three papers:

- Colourism in Bollywood through item songs

- Visual representation of gay characters in Bollywood

- Visual representation of sex workers in Bollywood (dissertation) 

Here are some snippets of my work:

Indian moviegoers are active participants. In an Indian movie theatre, one can hear whistles when the hero makes his entry or coos when he finally unites with his love interest. They are cheerleaders for movies and actors they like and harsh critics for the ones they don’t. This attribute puts pressure on the filmmakers to produce work that would impress the audience, but most importantly won’t upset or anger them.

This repeated representation establishes a strong link between darker skin and lower economic backgrounds and vulgarity.…lecherous dance movements and actions in these songs signify their dishonourable character. Additionally, their torn, mud-stained costumes and skin are used as signifiers to send the message that they belong to backward communities. This repeated representation establishes a strong link between darker skin and lower economic backgrounds and vulgarity.

Despite the rights set in favour of the LGBTQ community in India and around the globe, a large section of the Indian population still considers homosexuality as ‘deviant behaviour [that] goes against the fundamental tenets of culture and religion’ (Singh, et al., 2017, p.287). The Censor Board also ‘imposes cinematographic constraints on filmmakers’ to avoid riots and unrest (p.287). Therefore, to please an audience with different acceptance levels and understandings of sexuality, and the restrictions of the censorship board mainstream Bollywood only builds on safe territories.

Even though men with darker skin were occasionally glamourized feeding into the tall, dark and handsome stereotype, women were only celebrated for their light complexion. This observation complements prior research that suggested ‘the relation between skin colour and judgments about attractiveness affect women most acutely since women’s worth is judged heavily based on appearance’ (Glenn, 2008, p.282).

bottom of page