Bollywood of India: Geopolitical Texts of Belonging and Difference and Narratives of Mistrust and Suspicion


  • Iqbal Shailo Dr. Iqbal Shailo is a researcher, policy analyst and social media strategist based in Ottawa, Canada.



Bollywood Movies, the Other, Identity, Partition, Belonging, Difference, Mistrust


A number of Bollywood films create meaning and geopolitical narratives through dialogue, raw images, settings, costumes and historical contexts. This study examines three contemporary Indian films —Earth (Deepa Mehta, 1998), Lagaan (Ashutosh Gowariker, 2001) and Sarfarosh (John Matthew Matthan, 1999) that explore sub-continental history with a particular focus on insecurity, mistrust and suspicion.  It discusses how socio-cultural and regional differences are (re)produced and how geopolitical meanings of ‘we’ and ‘they’ are narrated and constructed through Bollywood. These films construct an image of identity, belonging and difference, emphasizing that Hindus and Muslims are Indians however some legacies and suffering brought on during the partition of British India are still alive in memories when discrimination and exclusion are practiced in their ancestral homelands.

Author Biography

Iqbal Shailo, Dr. Iqbal Shailo is a researcher, policy analyst and social media strategist based in Ottawa, Canada.

 [Iqbal Shailo received a Ph.D. in Critical Geopolitics (Political Geography) and an MA in Public Policy and Public Administration from Carleton University, Ottawa and Concordia University, Montreal respectively. He also obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Journalism from Concordia University and earned his second MA in English Literature. His research interests are broadly in transnational security, popular cinema, new social media, regional integration, radicalization, countering violent extremism, grassroots empowerment and public policy development.

He was engaged with teaching at Carleton University, Ottawa for a couple of years. He has practical experience working with national and international NGOs addressing issues relating to the disadvantaged societies in North America and countries of the South Asian region. He has presented papers at various academic and policy forums and has numerous publications to his credit.]




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How to Cite

Shailo, I. (2016). Bollywood of India: Geopolitical Texts of Belonging and Difference and Narratives of Mistrust and Suspicion. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 5(2), 105–129.