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Consuming Bollywood

Gender, Globalization and Media in the Indian Diaspora

Anjali Ram

Consuming Bollywood is a major activity in the Indian diaspora and the revenue generated from diasporic audiences is growing exponentially. By combining extended qualitative interviews and textual analysis, this book provides an insightful analysis of how the women who are socially located in the Indian diaspora use the spectacle of Bollywood cinema to renegotiate cultural meanings of home, gender, belonging, and identity. By taking the experiences and interpretations of diasporic women as central, this book substantially adds to the literature on gendered and transnational identity in the context of migration and globalization. Furthermore, it considers the emergence of Bollywood as a potent global brand that is reconstituting cultural identities within a transnational, neoliberal, market-driven economy.


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It is with much gratitude that I acknowledge here the intellectual, emotional, and editorial support given to me by many people. I thank the women who generously allowed me to interview them. I am grateful for their willingness to share their thoughts, opinions, interpretations, pleasures, and meaning–making around Bollywood cinema with me. I am also very grateful to the many members of the Indian diasporic community in New England who in many informal ways allowed me to understand the breath and depth of Bollywood consumption and related identity practices. I thank Mary Savigar, Sophie Appel, and all the editorial staff at Peter Lang for their patience and steady guidance throughout this project. I thank David Descutner whose spacious intellect, generous spirit, and unmatched wit started me on the path that eventually led to this book. I also thank Jenny Nelson, Roger Aden, and Claudia Hale for their conceptual guidance and solid academic support as I developed this research. I thank Roxanne O’Connell, Kamille Gentles–Peart, and Teal Rothschild for being such great colleagues and fellow scholars- in-arms. I am grateful to the Foundation to Promote Scholarship and Teaching at Roger Williams University for support in the form of course releases that enabled me to complete this project. My thanks and appreciation especially to Ruma Sen for being a co-conspirator in watching, dissecting, arguing, and speculating endlessly about SRK and Bollywood. Ruma’s movie passion combined with her intellectual incisiveness paved analytical pathways for which I remain deeply and incalculably grateful....

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