Film poster for Kaala (2020), directed by Tarun Jain

Occasional Evenings: Bollywood’s Race Problem

BISR Central
68 Jay Street, #425
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Now the largest film industry in the world, surpassing even Hollywood’s long-standing hegemony in film output and audience reach, Bollywood—as the Hindi film industry is popularly, if imprecisely, known—has a race problem. Since its establishment in the early 20th century, racial representation in Bollywood films has reflected and recapitulated a vulgar anti-Blackness that pervades Indian social life and cultural production just as fiercely today as in decades past. With its normalizing tropes and billions in its coffers, what role does the Bollywood film industry play in (re)producing a racialized national imaginary? And what—very real—consequences does Bollywood’s “soft power” have for the vast diversity of actual lives lived on the Indian subcontinent? 

Join us Thursday, August 10th, for a multi-part event in which we’ll address racial politics and representation in Bollywood and the broader political culture of contemporary India. The evening begins with a panel discussion featuring BISR faculty Amrita Ghosh in conversation with fellow faculty Tony Alessandrini and Ajay Singh Chaudhary and writer, editor, scholar, and creative director of Radical Books Collective, Bhakti Shringarpure. The event continues with a US-premier screening of award-winning director Tarun Jain’s short film Kaala (2020), a daring, head-on treatment of recent racially motivated violence against the Delhi African community. The evening will culminate with Jain in conversation with the panelists and an audience Q&A.

The event is free to attend, with a suggested $10 donation. Beer, wine, seltzer, and snacks will be served. Doors open at 6:45; the event begins promptly at 7pm. The event will also livestream to the BISR Facebook page. Please RSVP below.

Event Schedule

Thursday, 7:00pm ET
August 10, 2023


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