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Tempted by the Big Apple: The fantasy of western spaces in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

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The 2006 romantic Hindi movie Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna/Never Say Goodbye (Johar) is set in New York, with the city acting as the classic urban space in cinema that provides anonymity and permits characters to depart from expected norms. Since the movie's transgressive romance could have been set in any sprawling Indian metropolis, however, this article explores the choice of this American city as the setting. The movie 'produces' a New York where the Indian characters start to question their marital choices but without referring to the Indian nationalist rhetoric that is common in stories of the diaspora. New York provides not just the necessary urban space but a safe distance from which one can explore the institution of marriage as it currently exists in the home country – both arranged marriage as well as the 'love marriage' that has traditionally been the teleology of romance movies in India.

Keywords: Hindi cinema; adultery; diaspora; globalization; marriage; non-resident Indian

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Minnesota

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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  • Studies in South Asian Film and Media (SAFM) is the most promising new journal in the field. This peer-reviewed publication is committed to looking at the media and cinemas of the Indian subcontinent in their social, political, economic, historical, and increasingly globalized and diasporic contexts. The journal will evaluate these topics in relation to class, caste, gender, race, sexuality, and ideology.
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