University of Illinois at Chicago
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Homosexuality and Premarital Sex Taboos: A Textual Analysis of Six Bollywood Films

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posted on 2016-10-19, 00:00 authored by Rajrupa Ghosh
Indian society has always been steeped in conventions and traditions. Various forces, among them Bollywood in recent times, have helped in scripting changes in society, in the way people react to old ways and embrace the new. Among some of the oldest mores of Indian society, like any other around the world, has been its negative, closed, and intolerant stance towards relational taboos. This thesis deals with two such taboos – homosexuality and premarital sex, leading to pregnancy. The Indian social attitude towards both these taboos had been clouded over by judgmental reactions, guided by religious ad socio-cultural factors. With the economic liberalization of India in the early 90s, post the Cold-War, the country opened its skies to cultural liberalization as well. This is when relational taboos, like homosexuality and premarital sex, leading to pregnancy, shoved under the carpet for ages, were first put on the discussion table by way of cable television. With American shows reaching increasing number of audiences over the years and Hollywood films beaming on screens with increasing regularity since then, Indian film makers seemed finally to get courageous enough to broach on screen subjects like homosexuality and premarital sex, leading to pregnancy. The thesis studies six films, which hit the theaters between 1996 and 2006 and were focused on two relational taboo topics. The analysis uses Todorov’s theory of structural analysis to study the plots of the films, collects and categorizes data, connects concepts and interprets findings to find out how Bollywood is coming to terms with homosexuality and premarital sex taboos, deconstructs and sustains its reactions, and then reconstructs new ones, perhaps leading to a negotiated reaction to hitherto totally unacceptable issues.



Chang, Huiching



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Masters

Committee Member

Papacharissi, Zizi Bui, Diem-My

Submitted date



  • en

Issue date


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