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Representations of women in Bollywood cinema : characterisation, songs, dance and dress in Yash Raj films from 1997 to 2007 / Nikita Ramkissoon.

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This dissertation focuses on a content analysis through which representation of women in Bollywood cinema is examined. Bollywood has been a major point of reference for Indian culture in the last century and will undoubtedly persist for years to come. To an extent, Bollywood has shaped the way in which people read Indian culture as well as reflecting India's events, traditions, values and customs by the mere fact that it is a pervasive and inescapable force in Indian society. Women have been and to an extent still are represented as mere wallpaper in Bollywood films. Issues around gender, gender-based violence, femininity, women's rights and sexuality (outside of being a sexpot) are often ignored and in most cases, subverted. Feminist discourse in the west has taken this up in relation to Hollywood (cf. Mulvey, 1975; Kuhn, 1984; Kaplan, 2000) however, discussions of gender in eastern cinema has yet to be fully developed. Even though there is a body of work in this field (cf. Butalia, 1984; Datta, 2000) there is room for far more in-depth investigation. This study explores the ways in which women are represented and misrepresented in Bollywood cinema by looking at the main features which make Bollywood what it is: the stock characters, song and dance routines and elaborate dress. Each of these elements is discussed by using one or two films to illustrate the formula that is used in Bollywood cinema to undermine women.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Women in motion pictures--India., Motion pictures--India., Motion picture producers and directors--India., Theses--Gender studies.