Interpretations of manhood have unfolded in India within a middle class cultural milieu shaped by an assertive self-confidence fuelled by liberalisation, a process by which India has been integrated into the global political economy and the prominence of Hindutva or Hindu nationalist politics.
This book unpacks a particular gendered vision of nation in the modern Indian context by drawing on popular films. This muscular nationalism is an intersection of a specific vision of masculinity with the political doctrine of nationalism. The idea of nation is animated by an idea of manhood associated with martial prowess, muscular strength and toughness, but coupled with the image and construct of virtuous woman – a gendered binary of martial man and chaste woman. The author skilfully and convincingly draws together issues of political economy, including globalization and neoliberalism with majoritarian politics and popular culture, thus showing how disparate strands intersect and build on each other.
Using interpretive methodologies and popular media, the book presents new interpretations of Bollywood films through the lenses of gender, masculinity and nationalism. It will be of interest to scholars of South Asian politics and culture, in particular Indian nationalism, popular culture, media and gender studies.
1. Introduction: Gender, Nation, and Popular Film in a Globalizing India
2. Changing Norms and Contexts of Masculinity in Indian Popular Film
3. Nation, Manhood, and the Legacy of the British Gaze: The Presentist Use of History in Film
4. The Muslim Body in Indian Muscular Nationalism
5. Imagining the Diaspora: Social Anxieties, and the Transnational Middle Class in India
6. Conclusion: Muscular Nationalism and Film: Some Final Thoughts