Demystifying the state of Minorities in Contemporary India: Reading Amit Masurkar's Sherni (The Tigress) from the Vantage Point of Marginality




Hindu Fundamentalism, Racial Politics, Segregation, Race, Gender, Ecofeminism


Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party of an emergent Indian nation-state, has, from its genesis ventriloquized and brandished its exacerbating agenda of Hindu Fundamentalism in a flawed myth of an anecdotal Hindu Nationalist past where non-Hindus are conveniently ostracized. This political gambit is deployed to manufacture an overblown theory of a decline in Hindu culture, the best resonance of which is the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019, discriminating, and interrogating the legitimacy of specific communities on sheer grounds of religion. Amit Masurkar's film of 2021, Sherni (The Tigress) provides a critical insight into this brutal Racial Politics pervading an upper caste Hindu society, in the guise of a subtle sub-text, camouflaged within a distracting narrative of Man versus Nature. This paper facilitates the reading of this hidden discourse of Realpolitik alongside the predominant cultural narrative of gender and natural domination. Through a palimpsestuous reading, it explores themes of racial exclusion and segregation in an Ultra-Right Hindu Nation that the film silently addresses. Furthermore, this paper challenges the dominant narrative of Ecofeminism, to instead investigate the categories of race and ethnicity that intersect gender issues.

Author Biography

Purbali Sengupta, International School of Hospitality Management

Department of French, Faculty


Encyclopaedia. Neo Darwinism. Retrieved Aug 19, 2021, from

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Ecofeminism: sociology and environmentalism. Retrieved 12 Aug, 2021, from

E T Online. (2019, Dec 31). Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019: What is it and why is it seen as a problem. The Economic Times.

Graham, R. H. (1996). Marie Mies and Vandana Shiva's Ecofeminism - Review. Women in Action. No 1, 44-45.

Gupta, S. (2021, June 19). Sherni movie review: Vidya Balan film is a strange beast. The Indian Express.

Hochman, J. (1998). Green Cultural Studies Nature in Film, Novel and Theory. Moscow, Idaho. The University of Idaho Press, Print.

Irshad, S. (2023). Hegemonic Femininity: Negotiating the Stereotypes of Gender in the Indian Movies Fire (1996) and Shakuntala Devi (2020). Media Watch, 09760911231180343.

Karmakar, G., & Sarkar, S. (2023). The politics of conservation: examining the human-wildlife conflict in Bollywood ecocinema Sherni (2021). Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 66(12), 2447-2466.

Kim, H. (2017). Understanding Modi and minorities: The BJP-led NDA government in India and religious minorities. India Review, 16(4), 357-376.

Ling, C. H. E. N. (2014). Ecological criticism based on social gender: The basic principles of Ecofeminism. Higher Education of Social Science, 7(1), 67-72.

Masurkar, A. (Director). (2021). Sherni (Film). T Series and Abudantia Entertainment.

Available from:

Menon, S. A. (2022). Advocating Deep Ecology in Masurkar’s film Sherni. Specialusis Ugdymas, 1(43), 6465-6475.

Saha, S. (2021, June 27). Sherni movie review: A pitch-perfect roar. The New Indian Express.

Salvadore, S. (2019, Oct 9). India's Christians, Muslims face higher persecution since Modi government. National Catholic Reporter.

Scroll Staff. (2020, 14 Dec). India a dangerous, violent place for Muslims under Modi government, says minorities report. Scroll.

Serhan, Y. (2022, 27 May). The Hinduization of India is nearly complete. The Atlantic.

Thomas, B., & Mathew, R. G. (2021). Real, reel and the anthropocene: eco-trauma testimonies in the film valiya chirakulla pakshikal. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 9(2), 147-163.

Vaid, D. (2020, Dec 11). One year of India's Citizenship Amendment Act. DW News.

Vetticad, A. (2021, June 18) Sherni movie review: Vidya Balan buries her star persona in the lap of nature and gripping forest politics. First Post.




How to Cite

Sengupta, P. (2023). Demystifying the state of Minorities in Contemporary India: Reading Amit Masurkar’s Sherni (The Tigress) from the Vantage Point of Marginality. CINEJ Cinema Journal, 11(2), 77–97.