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Staging sexuality through the familial, the performative and the activist: Bollywood’s queer repertoire in the twenty-first century

journal contribution
posted on 2015-05-04, 00:00 authored by Pawan Singh
Bollywood’s queer representational project in the twenty-first century has mostly been understood through a focus on cinematic images and stories and in linear terms of the closet and coming out. This essay considers the idea of queer visibility in Bollywood in embodied terms through an analysis of two eminent filmmakers, Karan Johar and Onir. While Onir’s social advocacy films are an extension of his own openly gay position in Bollywood, Karan Johar as a mainstream, commercial filmmaker has consistently maintained a silence about his sexuality in the media. However, Johar’s queer performances on his chat show, at award shows and the All India Bakchod (AIB) Roast suggest the staging of sexuality in ambiguous and contingent terms without recourse to global identity labels of LGBT. Through an analysis of these performances, the essay argues that Bollywood’s textuality is far too rich and complex to be reduced to any singular logic of queer visibility.

History

Journal

South Asian Popular Culture

Volume

13

Issue

2

Pagination

125 - 139

Publisher

Routledge

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1474-6689

eISSN

1474-6697

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, Taylor & Francis

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