The body of the Indian Woman: A tool of nationalistic discourse

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The body of the Indian Woman: A tool of nationalistic discourse The genre of Bollywood film has recently become a popular means of entertainment for the non-resident Indian as well as the western audience. The vibrant color, spontaneous dance numbers, and other alluring factors may have contributed in the popularity of Bollywood films. However, for the NRI, Bollywood films are mean of a connection to the motherland; it brings a sense of nostalgia through cultural and tradition practices. In Chutney Popcorn and Bride and Prejudice, we see how these cultural practices and tradition are preserved by using the woman’s body. A woman’s body is a tool of producing the norms of the Indian national discourses; yet, the woman’s body can be utilized to resist such norms. Norms of rituals, engagement, marriage, procreation, and creation of family are tools that are utilized by Indian society to maintain the heteronormative discourses of the nation. To understand how these film produce and contest such norms, we must look with a critical eye of how the Indian woman’s body is utilize to achieve these goals. Scholars such as Anupama Arora and Christine Geraghty have analyzed Chutney Popcorn and Bride and Prejudice, respectively by viewing the Indian woman’s body as a tool of reproducing and contesting heteronormative discourses of the Indian nation. By following the technique used by Arora and Geraghty, we view these films with a critical eye. First, we must acknowledge that Chutney Popcorn and Bride and Prejudice are different films that tackle similar issues. Chutney Popcorn is an independently made film about a Lesbian NRI living in New York. While Bride and Prejudice is a multimillion dollar film, created by renowned director Gurinder Ch... ... middle of paper ... ...agent of their own will; meaning, they made decisions for themselves without “falling under pressure.” Reena is the lesbian woman who is the agent of her own will that is not constrained by expectations and culture; however, in the process we see her yearning for acceptance by her mother. Her pregnancy both symbolizes resistance and conformity for pregnancy is a gendered expectation for women; but the fact that she is a lesbian complicates things. Her sexual orientation provides a means of resistance to the idea of a heterosexual family. Lalita on the other hand, follows the norms of Indian culture yet she becomes the agent of her own will by choosing to love Darcy, a white man over Mr. Kholi an American NRI. The ability of both characters to be the agent of their own provides a tool of halting the use of a woman’s body as a tool of promoting oppressive norms.

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