2011: Volume 4, Issue 1, pp. 127-143

Desi Films: Articulating Images of South Asian Identity in a 
Global Communication Environment

Rekha Sharma



Although India itself has been an important source of information about the Indian identity for Western audiences, a specialized genre of desi media have also garnered more recognition in recent years. Desi films—movies created by and/or for South Asian immigrants—are capable of reaching large numbers of people regardless of their educational level, economic status, or linguistic proficiency. Most are produced in English or with English subtitles and are easily accessible in most areas, either in theatres, video rental stores, libraries, or via Internet movie sites. This paper examines Indian diasporic films as a vehicle for cultural articulation and debate. First, it provides a theoretical foundation of hegemony and resistance with regard to notions of ethnicity and immigrants’ articulations of identity in interstitial zones. Second, it discusses sources of hegemony from Indian and Western media. Third, it explores the creation of a hybrid identity as reflected in Indian diasporic films, pointing out some of the themes and conventions of this emerging genre.



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