Muslim Identity and Representation in Deepa Mehta’s Earth and Abhishek Kapur’s Kai Po Che

Nirmala Menon, Reema Chowdhary


Through a close reading of two films from different genres--one popular and mainstream, the other serious--the paper argues that Muslim representation in both films underlines a lack of narrative voice for the Muslim protagonist that challenges a majoritarian narrative. The representation of the Muslim voice in a secular democracy is therefore predicated on majority benevolence. The article examines the history of Hindi films through its numerous categories and concludes that the different yet similar representation in these two films is in keeping with this history. The two films selected for examination are also based on fictional works from corresponding genres: Kai Po Che is based on populist writer Chetan Bhagat's work of fiction and Earth is based on Bapsi Sidhwa's acclaimed work Ice-Candy Man. As different as these texts are, the films based on them are strangely convergent in their representations of Muslim identity.


postcolonial; india; hindi film; representation

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