Academic Publications and Research Interest
My research areas are the Body, Bollywood Cinema, Feminism and Gender Studies, Post-colonial studies, Decolonisation and Literary Theory (Butler, Deleuze and Foucault). My early published and presented work look variously at the manner in which colonial photography was a methodology of subjectivisation and identity incarceration through the politics of race, gender and colonial stereotyping, fixing and construction of boundaries. It foregrounds the body as a site of power and resistance and the role of visual aesthetics in controlling and ordering human beings as colonized subjects. Other work, similarly explores the transgender (or hijra) bodies as sites of oppression, erasure, horror and visual pleasure in Bollywood cinema, through the lens of heteronormativity and critically analyses films such as Sadak (1991, dir: Mahesh Bhatt) as perpetuators of narratives of sexual othering through the theoretical interventions made by Judith Butler and Julia Kristeva towards the feminist politics of reading bodies as produced and marked by phallic regulatory norms.
I continue to work in the area of body politics and visual narratives, with special focus on Bollywood cinema, as well as feminism’s role in resisting and rethinking identity construction, the nation and in imagining a non-violent human society. The reading of human bodies as produced through gendered and neo-colonial discourse and aesthetics, rather than ‘naturally given’, carries the potential for radically rewriting the scope of violence over these bodies and liberating them from the terror of discipling, ordering and punishment, being urgent interventions for the socio-politically vulnerable such as women, children and other caste, class, sexual and racial minorities. My research work also argues for the significance of reading non-literary texts such as films and other forms of popular culture (advertisements, photography) as contested and polemical sites of ideology and meaning-making and hence their inclusion in scholarship and advocacy work for the creation of more equal worlds. I am currently in the process of working on my book on Bollywood cinema of the early years of liberalization in India and the politics of corporeal disguise, which is forthcoming from Orient Black Swan.