Portraying Third Gender in Bollywood

By: Toyeba Mushtaq  

India is one of the countries that produces the most number of films in a year and has a large base of cinema going public. Mainstream Hindi cinema is the most widely distributed cinema in India. Identity construction is one of the most significant issues in Bollywood. Filmmakers in India are trying to step outside the beaten track of traditional Indian themes but there has been no or little allowance for portrayal of third gender, a subject that is still a taboo in a country where the discourse on sex itself is bound by moral restriction. Their representation and construction in Bollywood is not free from the prevalent ideologies on gender where they are taken as third category. They are shown as oppressed solely due to their sexual orientation or gender orientation in India. In this context, it would be interesting to study how Bollywood is portraying third gender and what changes has their character undergone over the past decades. The research paper analyzes the film Darmiyaan: In Between. The film is chosen because of being one of the first Bollywood films that portrays a transgender character in a serious role. Multi-modal discourse analysis is taken as a tool for analyzing the transgender character in the film. The present research shows the identity construction of a third gender based on a select Bollywood film.

Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Ms. Toyeba Mushtaq

Doctoral Scholar, Media Education Research Centre, University of Kashmir, India

I am pursuing PhD in Mass Communication and Journalism from University of Kashmir. My area of research is film studies. Before my PhD I did MPhil in the same subject, with television as my area of research.