Call for Papers

2020: Volume 12, Issue 1

Bollywood, Power, & Politics

Guest Editors / Éditrices invitées

Faiza Hirji (McMaster University)
Sikata Banerjee (University of Victoria)
Rina Verma Williams (University of Cincinnati)

In 2018, the release of the popular film Padmavaat in India unleashed considerable controversy. The Rajput community was offended by the depiction of particular cultural dance rituals, while secular activists were troubled by what came across as aggressive Hindu nationalism and demonization of Muslims. Right-wing Hindu groups called for the film to be banned and threats were made against the director’s and star’s lives.

Popular Hindi films (often labeled as “Bollywood” films) have frequently served as a lightning rod for political and cultural issues, such as poverty, corruption, caste discrimination, gender inequality, anti-Muslim discrimination and the direct, human impact of Partition on Hindu-Muslim families (see Banerjee, 2017; Dudrah and Desai, 2008; Dwyer, 2014; Hirji, 2010; Mishra, 2002; Virdi, 2003). Examples abound, from Shri 420 (1955) to Rang De Basanti (2006) and beyond.

These critiques are more relevant than ever in an era where nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment have become entrenched throughout India, with the state placing increasing pressure on media to support these politics or at the very least, remain silent and thus complicit.

We invite papers examining popular Hindi-language cinema in an era of neoliberal globalization (Williams 2015; Banerjee and Williams 2019) and ascendant Hindu nationalism. We welcome multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary perspectives on how religion, sexualities, caste, nation, and gender intersect in films to both support and disseminate particular cultural and political power trajectories that maintain the status quo in Indian society in the wake of post-1991 liberalization policies and the ever-increasing dominance of BJP-style Hindu nationalism.


Deadline: August 15, 2020

Submissions: Papers (5,000 to 7,500 words), review articles of more than one book (2,500 to 3,000 words), and book reviews (1,000 to 1,200 words).

Method: All manuscripts must be submitted electronically as Word Document attachments, directly to

Guidelines: Available at

About Global Media Journal – Canadian Edition: The Global Media Journal — Canadian Edition ( is a bilingual (English and French) open-access online academic refereed publication that aims to advance research and understanding of communication and media in Canada and around the globe.




Banerjee, Sikata. (2017). Gender, nation, and popular film in India: Globalizing muscular nationalism. New York: Routledge.

Banerjee, Sikata, and Rina Verma Williams. (2019). Making the nation manly: The case of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) and India’s search for regional dominance in an era of neoliberal globalization. Studies in South Asian Film and Media, 10 (2), 179-93.

Dudrah, Rajinder, & Desai, Jigna. (2008). The Bollywood Reader. Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: Open University Press.

Dwyer, Rachel. (2014). Bollywood’s India: Hindi cinema as a guide to contemporary India.

London: Reaktion Books.

Hirji, Faiza. (2010). Dreaming in Canadian: South Asian youth, Bollywood, and belonging. Vancouver, British Columbia: UBC Press.

Mishra, Vijay. (2002). Bollywood cinema: Temples of desire. New York: Routledge.

Virdi, Jyotika. (2003). The cinematic imagiNation: Indian popular films as social history. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Williams, Rina Verma. (2015). At home in the world: Neoliberalizing Indian national identity in a global era. In Ann Murphy, Rina Williams, and Sean Dubhghaill (Eds.), Towards a diasporic imagination of the present (pp. 31-67). Calcutta: Lies and Big Feet.