The "Baimaan" or "Betrayed Vision" of Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding

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Abstract:

Non-resident Indian filmmakers display a peculiar relationship when it comes to presenting and representing India to the West. In Mira Nair's film, which is presented as an exotic continent and progressively becomes in Barthesian terms, "the political center of the world [which] we see here (as) all flattened, made smooth and grandly colored like an old-fashioned photograph" (see Barthes, 1972: 94). By insisting on exoticizing her subject, Nair completely denies any identification of her subject with its nativised history. Situating her wedding in India's capital city of New Delhi, and housing it within an upper class Punjabi joint-family tradition, supplies her with the necessary alibis for creating a highly embroidered product which is exempt from really undertaking any serious examination of all the cultural and familial tensions that erupt during the preparation of such an important event.

Keywords: Barthes; Mira Nair; Monsoon wedding; Tokenization; gender contradictions; representing India

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.18.1.253_1

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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