1st Edition

Visual Anthropology of Indian Films Religious Communities and Cultural Traditions in Bollywood and Beyond

Edited By Pankaj Jain Copyright 2025
    142 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book provides a unique insider’s look at the world’s largest film industry, now globally known as ‘Bollywood’ and challenges existing notions about Indian films.

    Indian films have been a worldwide phenomenon for decades. Chapters in this edited volume take a fresh view of various hidden gems by maestros such as Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy, V Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Shakti Samant, Rishikesh Mukherjee, and others. Other chapters provide a pioneering review and analysis of the portrayal of Indian religious communities such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Parsis. The themes covered include unique Indian feminism and male chauvinism, environment and climate issues, international locations and diaspora tourism, religious harmony and conflict, the India-Pakistan relationship, asceticism, and renunciation in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Unlike many recent studies of Indian films, these chapters do not distinguish between popular and serious cinema. Many chapters focus on Hindi films, but others bring insights from films made in other parts of India and its neighbouring countries.

    One of the chapters in this volume was originally published in the book titled Film and Place in an Intercultural Perspective India-Europe Film Connections, edited by Krzysztof Stachowiak, Hania Janta, Jani Kozina, and Therese Sunngren-Granlund. Another chapter was originally published in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology. All other chapters were originally published in Visual Anthropology.

    Introduction - Visual Anthropology of Indian Films: Religious Communities and Cultural Traditions in Bollywood and Beyond

    Pankaj Jain


    Part I: Portrayal of Religious Communities


    1.  From Kil-Arni to Anthony: The Portrayal of Christians in Indian Films

    Pankaj Jain


    2. Such a Long Journey: Portrayal of the Parsi Community in Films

    Pankaj Jain


    3. From Padosi to My Name is Khan: The Portrayal of Hindu–Muslim Relations in South Asian Films

    Pankaj Jain


    4. Film as a Majoritarian Framework of Hindu Nationalism: The Case of Purab Aur Pachhim

    Pankaj Jain and Ajay Raina


    5. Encountering Asceticism: A Hindu Nun in Jogan, vis-a-vis a Buddhist Monk in Trishagni

    Shikha Sharma and Pankaj Jain


    Part II: Portrayal of Gender Issues


    6. Anuradha and Anupama: Gender Issues through Nussbaum’s Capabilities Approach

    Nandini Bhasin and Pankaj Jain


    7. The Objectification of Women in V. Shantaram’s Films                                                   

    Pankaj Jain and Nandini Bhasin


    Part III: Portrayal of Nature, Environment, and Climate Issues


    8. “Children of the Soil” to “Dark Wind”: Nature, Environment and Climate in Indian Films

    Pankaj Jain and Shikha Sharma


    9. Ecocritical Analysis of Classics by Three Indian Film Maestros: An Extended Film Review

    Pankaj Jain


    10. Sara Jahan Hamara: Indian Films and Their Portrayal of Foreign Destinations

    Pankaj Jain


    11. Do Bigha Zamin: A Realistic Masterpiece of Indian Cinema

    Jyoti Tyagi and Pankaj Jain


    12. Virtue Ethics of Boot Polish and Dosti, as Compared with Slumdog Millionaire

    Pankaj Jain


    Pankaj Jain is Professor and HoD of Humanities and Languages and the Chair of The India Centre at FLAME University. He is a renowned academic leader with international recognition in Sustainability, Jain Studies, Film Studies, and Diaspora Studies. He has co-edited the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions (2022) and Indian and Western Philosophical Concepts in Religion (2023). His earlier monographs are Modern Jainism: A Historical Approach (2023), Dharma in America: A Short History of Hindu-Jain Diaspora (2019), award-winning Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability (2011), and Science and Socio-Religious Revolution in India: Moving the Mountains (2015). His articles and quotes have been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, Times of India’s Speaking Tree, and Patheos. In July 2020, the New York Times interviewed him; in 2019, Morgan Freeman interviewed him for the section on Jainism in the National Geographic series The Story of God.