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Tirumala Lakshmi Thesis

Tirumala Lakshmi Thesis

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  • Bollywood Movies and Identity
  • Reasons for the Popularity
  • On Being “Indian”
  • The Indian Diaspora
  • Cultural Identity
  • Literature Review
  • A Brief History of Bollywood Industry
  • Bollywood & Diaspora
  • Asia
  • Africa and Russia
  • Oceania
  • United Kingdom and Europe
  • Bollywood in United States
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Cultural Studies
  • The Circuit of Culture
  • The concept of ethnic identity
  • Cultural Identity of Asian Americans
  • Qualitative research
  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Coding
  • Findings and Discussion
  • Constructing Identity
  • Family
  • Institutions
  • Friends
  • Media
  • The influence of Bollywood movies on cultural identity
  • Conclusion and Limitations
  • References
  • Plot Summaries
  • Discussion Guide
  • Interview Consent Form
  • Focus group Consent Form

Bollywood movies and cultural identity construction among secondgeneration Indian Americans by Lakshmi N. Tirumala, M.S.

A Thesis In MASS COMMUNICATIONS Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of The Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS Approved Harsha Gangadharbatla Committee Chair Todd Chambers Kent Wilkinson Fred Hartmeister Dean of the Graduate School August, 2009

Copyright 2009, Lakshmi N. Tirumala

Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

I acknowledge my family who supported me throughout this study. I would like to thank my parents for their emotional support during stressful times, and my brother and sister-in-law for their patience, critiques and valuable inputs. I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Todd Chambers, who served the roles of a Chairperson, mentor and friend throughout my masters program at Texas Tech. His very presence and positive encouragement gave me the much needed motivation and mental strength to continue with the research at times when I was completely lost. He was always there to assist me with my academic and personal growth, and I am very grateful for his invaluable guidance throughout this process. Also, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Kent Wilkinson, whose support and encouragements gave me the confidence to take on any daunting tasks. He was able to find time to listen to my ideas and lead me towards the right path when I was completely clueless. I am very thankful to him for being there whenever I needed him. Also, other faculty members and staff in the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University should be acknowledged for their help and encouragements throughout my graduate program. Specifically, I would like to thank Dr. Michael Parkinson, one of the best graduate student advisors the college could ever find, for his support. A special thanks goes out to Dr. Harsha Gangadharbhatla who served as much more than a primary thesis advisor, but also the role of a friend throughout my masters program. And lastly, thanks to Josh Robinson, Randy Hays, Jessica Robinson, and Brian who were always willing to help whenever called upon. Finally, my good friends Andrea Smith, Anthony Galvez, Arijit Basu, Emily Buck, and Philip Madison who helped with providing the much needed laughs and memories. Thank you for understanding and being there for me. ii

.....................................................................................................26 The Concept of Ethnic Identity.............................22 United Kingdom and Europe ...........................................................................20 Asia ..................................................37 Qualitative research .........................................................................................................1 Reasons for the Popularity...............15 Bollywood & Diaspora ..................................................1 Bollywood Movies and Identity .........................................................................Texas Tech University.................. Introduction .. 2009 Table of Contents Acknowledgements .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................12 II..................................................................................................................................................... Theoretical Framework ..................................................................................................................................................................................................22 Bollywood in United States ...................................................................................................................................37 iii ................................................................31 IV............................................................................21 Oceania ........ Literature Review ............. Lakshmi N..........................................25 The Circuit of Culture.........21 Africa and Russia.........................25 Cultural Studies ...........23 III.................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... vi I............................................................... Aug........... ii Abstract ..............................................................................5 On being “Indian”...... Methodology .............................................................................................................................11 Cultural Identity.......................15 A Brief History of Bollywood Industry .......................................................v List of Tables........................................10 The Indian Diaspora ..................................................................................................................28 Cultural Identity of Asian Americans.......................... Tirumala......................................

...............................................................................................................46 Family .........................................................................................50 Institutions ............................................71 References...............................................................................................................................92 C................. Tirumala.......................................................................... 2009 In-depth interviews ..................94 D............................................................................ Aug.....................44 Constructing Identity ......................................... Findings and Discussion ....................................................................................................................................................................................58 The influence of Bollywood movies on cultural identity ............................................................................... Lakshmi N........................................ Conclusion and Limitations .....53 Friends ...Texas Tech University.........55 Media ......................................88 B...... Focus group Consent form ................................. Plot Summaries ..41 Coding .......................................... Discussion Guide ..........................................43 V................................39 Focus Groups .........................................................................................................................64 VI.....................................................................................................................................80 A..............................................................................95 iv .............................................................................................................................. Interview Consent form .........................................................

Tirumala. Bollywood movies not only act as a bridge between home and diaspora. 2009 Abstract Indian cinema has been one of the most dominant and distinguishing features of the subcontinent’s culture for the past sixty years. And. Previous research suggests that the Indian Diaspora may use these types of media products as a form of cultural maintenance. Aug. but they help transmit the culture and traditions that play a crucial role in maintaining the “Indianness. Bollywood movies appeared to have a significant influence on second-generation Indian Americans in maintaining those identities. as Indians continue to seek out jobs and educational opportunities worldwide. Lakshmi N.” among second-generation Indian Americans. Interestingly. In particular. they are bringing these cultural artifacts with them. the study found that though social factors such as family and peer groups have played a dominant role in constructing the Indian identity. v .Texas Tech University. this study seeks to demonstrate how Bollywood film viewing practices of the second-generation Indian Americans intersect to create a notion of “Indianness.” Discussions generated across in-depth interviews (N = 8) and focus groups (N = 8) about the process of participants’ cultural identity construction and maintenance showed that the cultural identity of second-generation Indian Americans depended on various interpersonal and mediated communication activities. This thesis explores the role of Bollywood movies in constructing and maintaining the cultural identity among secondgeneration Indian Americans.

 2....... Lakshmi N........ Summary of research findings..............................................45
 3................ Indian Film Industry vs Hollywood in 2008 ...................................... Aug...................Texas Tech University....................... Demographics and movie watching frequency ......................... 2009 List of Tables 1...72
 vi ...........................

Consequently films have become a major part of modern society. Lakshmi N. and Negus. using the circuit of culture (du Gay. Aug. So. education. The three moments from the circuit of culture (consumption. This qualitative research study is based on cultural studies and seeks to explore the role of Bollywood movies in identity construction among second-generation Indian Americans. The circuit of culture suits the proposed study well because of the consumption of Bollywood movies by second-generation Indian Americans. In recent times.Texas Tech University. ‘What is my true “identity”?’ has become a fundamental and yet significant question in one’s life. Mackay. our personal identities are in constant flux. plots. Beard (1994) observed that films are among the most common artifacts of modern popular culture that generate and reflect diverse cultures and the traditional values of a society. Hall. and characters. identity. a great deal has 1 . 2009 Chapter I Introduction Films are a common source of entertainment. and information across the United States. and representation) are explored through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with secondgeneration Indian Americans. Janes. representations of the Indian culture in the movies. through which people are becoming aware of different cultures from all over the world. 1997). Bollywood Movies and Identity In today’s world of global movement and cultural hybridity. and the connections that viewers make with the movies themes. Tirumala.

Appadurai has argued that “because of its sheer multiplicity in which they appear (films. 2009 been studied in the area of “cultural identity” and on the concept “home” with some of the most important contributions towards this research study coming from cultural studies area (Bandyopadhyay. 1990. Palmer. 2008. Aug. before we look into the significance of Bollywood movies. and especially the phenomenal success of Hindi movies (also known as Bollywood) among the Indian diaspora (Dudrah. p. internet and telephones) and because of the rapid way in which they move through daily life. 1998). diasporic communities are able to stay connected with their homeland and maintain their self-identity. However. Appadurai. it is important to study the role of Bollywood movies in Indian diasporic identity construction. Tirumala. most commonly known as Bollywood (although Bollywood represents Hindi film 2 . with technological advancements. According to Basu (2004). 1990. While commenting on the influence of electronic media on the diapsoric community. The Indian cinema industry. in this globalized world. With the increasing popularity of electronic media. Uberoi. However. 1999). 1996). Lakshmi N. preserving and maintaining one’s own culture and identity has become a serious challenge. it is essential for us to know about Indian cinema and the reasons for its popularity among Indians as well as for the Indian diaspora.4). electronic media provide diapsoric communities with resources for self-imagining that help maintain the identity” (Appadurai. TV. 2006.Texas Tech University. Indian cinema has been one of the most dominant and distinguishing features of the subcontinent’s popular culture for the past sixty years. Electronic media have been the essential tools for the diaspora in re-rooting their identities (Appadurai.

is the world’s largest film industry in terms of the number of films produced. Tirumala. the Indian film industry produces more than 1000 films each year compared to Hollywood. Mumbai.Texas Tech University. 2002). 2009 industry alone). which only produces about half that number. 2008) provided the following figures and estimates. and Kerala also produce films in regional languages (Booth. Andhra Pradesh.100 4 billion U. To satisfy the 14 million Indians who go to the cinema every day. Pricewaterhouse Coopers Ltd (FICCI-Pricewaterhouse.S $ 3 million Hollywood 800 3 billion U. though not for its financial returns (Dwyer. Table 1 compared the size and global reach of the two most prolific film industries. 3 .S $ 2. produces Hindi-language films. Tamil Nadu. Karnataka. or ‘Bollywood’ as it is commonly called.S $60 million *National Film Production 2008 ** Estimates 2009 (FICCI-Pricewaterhouse. 1995). 2008) Unlike Hollywood.S $ 56 billion U. Lakshmi N. 2006). the film business in India is decentralized (Srinivas.2 billion U. which are popular throughout India and among expatriate Indians living abroad. Aug. Indian Film Industry vs Hollywood in 2008 Indian Film Industry Films Produced* Tickets sold World Wide revenues** Average cost per film 1. individual states such as West Bengal. Though Bollywood is the best-known Indian film industry. Table 1.

Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

Indian cinema has always found a market overseas with a limited number of films being exported to countries such as the Soviet Union, Middle East, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the United States, Australia and Great Britain (Srinivas, 2002). Recently, western interest in Bollywood has been rapidly growing as India’s largest film industry based in Mumbai has been producing more than 400 films every year (Rao, 2007). Through the years, Bollywood’s annual output of more than 400 films a year that accumulates 3.6 billion audience members across the world has become a necessary comfort for the South Asian diaspora communities (Chopra, 2007). Through its rich cultural textures and images, Bollywood cinema has facilitated a platform by which the South Asian diaspora can stay connected to the homeland. Hindi film blockbusters are now exported in large numbers of subtitled prints to the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Popular newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have started publishing regular reviews of Bollywood movies. Stadtler (2005) observed that the popularity of Bollywood cinema in the United States and United Kingdom has been on the rise since the year 2000, with the exposure of South Asian popular culture reaching an all time high. As Rajadhyaksha (2003) noted, “there is a craze for ‘Bollywood’ movies that quite exceeds anything we have seen before” (p. 24). This fondness for Bollywood cinema began with films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Taal (1999), Lagaan (2001) and Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), which achieved success in overseas markets; in fact these movies stayed among the top ten grossing films of the 4

Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

year in United States and United Kingdom (Rajadhyaksha, 2003). Since then, India’s movie exports to the United States increased dramatically from $10 million a decade ago to $2 billion last year. The following are some of the reasons for Bollywood’s everincreasing popularity. Reasons for the Popularity One of the significant reasons for the increase in popularity is due to the change in producers’ attitudes towards the motion picture business. Film producers like Ronnie Screwvala and Aditya Chopra have begun professionalizing the cinema business, bringing in outside investors and aggressively marketing films with novel plots (Gyalzen, 2007). Their production companies have successfully cut the old format of three-and-half hour movies to a fast-paced 120 minutes and have hired Hollywood scriptwriters to make films more appealing and watchable. This is particularly a significant factor in Bollywood’s popularity as the new movie format that will break into the Indian diapsora more often that the age-old Bollywood movies (Overdorf, 2007). One example for such successful collaboration was the recent blockbuster by Mira Nair’s New York based production, The Namesake, a story about the relationships and identity struggles between the son and his Indian immigrant parents. The film grossed close to $14 million at the box office with nearly 95 percent of the ticket sales generated from the United States (Overdorf, 2007). This international reach of Bollywood is rather important as it assures financial returns and


Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

also increases the interest among Indian diasporic community to watch the new short and slick Bollywood movies. Second, the Indian movie industry started enjoying an impressive boom due to the improved Indian economy with a significant number of Indians getting wealthier and spending more on entertainment. Lovgren (2004) observed that the telecommunications revolution and information technology explosion witnessed an all-time growth in the Indian economy that propelled the middle class life style into newer heights. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute also discovered that Indian consumer spending increased from $250 billion in 2004 to $400 billion by 2007 (Ablett, Baijal, Beinhocker, Bose, Farrell, Gersch, Greenberg, Gupta, and Gupta, 2007). The economic boom and improved conditions of the middle class sector greatly encouraged Bollywood producers to invest more money in films and to improve technical quality in order to ensure maximum financial returns both in domestic and overseas market. According to Aditya Chopra, one of the popular Bollywood producers, as technical quality advances, moviegoers come in increasing numbers to watch these latest movies (Overdorf, 2007). Another important reason for Bollywood’s popularity can be attributed to the growing Indian population overseas. The Indian population around the world is estimated around 25 million consisting of both non-resident Indians (a.k.a. NRI) and persons of Indian origin (a.k.a. POI) (Indian diaspora, n.d.). The Indian community in the United States alone increased from 1.68 million in 2000 to close to 2.5 million in 2005 (Joseph, 2006). The U.S. census bureau found that the Indians are the fastest growing community 6

Representation of the Indian diaspora.” a phenomenon unique to the Indian diaspora community to stay connected to the homeland. the United States. the most common tool for a force of bonding through entertainment media would be “Hindi cinema.d. Aug. Bollywood exports play an important role in Indian film industry’s growing popularity overseas. New media technologies like satellites. Researchers like Kaur and Sinha (2005) suggested that DVD.2 billion annual revenue comes largely from these overseas markets where Indian communities provide a great number of audiences for theatrical releases and DVD sales.Texas Tech University. and Australia. Thussu (2008) observed that the availability of these new delivery and distribution mechanisms have contributed to the global visibility of popular Indian cinema. This essentially popularized Bollywood movies in countries like the United States. Great Britain. As stated earlier. and satellite television have cultivated and increased number of fans in countries like Great Britain.). Lakshmi N. Finally. and Australia. According to the Internet Movie 7 . Tirumala.S (Indian American population. and foreign locations made Bollywood movies a household name amongst diasporic communities (Kaur and Sinha. the Internet. the Internet and digital home video devices such as DVD’s have opened new distribution channels to bring Bollywood into the living rooms. n. 2005). Dave (2007) observed that roughly half of Bollywood’s estimated $2. 2009 among Asian communities in U. The era of globalization effectively placed Indian film industry on a global platform. New Zealand.

Texas Tech University. Yash Raj Films. reported that Bollywood films in the United States earn approximately $100 million a year through theatre screenings. 2007). As Chopra (2007) observed Bollywood is not just a style of filmmaking. 2009 Database. it is a culture and a religion unto itself. as the $100 million accounts to a huge amount in Indian currency. and innovative story lines (Bose. Although it seems a small number in comparison to Hollywood financial returns. cinematography. Dissanayake (2006) argued that the diaporic communities are becoming more interested in Bollywood films that deal with Indian history. 2005). 2006). video sales and the sale of movie soundtracks (Overdorf. Tirumala. With popular Indian television channels playing Bollywood movies at least once a day and the Internet providing various options to watch Bollywood movies. one may safely assume that Bollywood movies are becoming an integral part of the Indian diaspora through which they can stay in touch and maintain Indian traditions and culture. films from India do more business in the United States than films from any other country (Joseph. 8 . Lakshmi N. these revenues contribute significantly to drive Indian filmmaking to new heights in terms of quality. The aforementioned reasons make Bollywood films a much sought after entertainment source for Indians living in India as well as abroad. Aug. Indian heritage and culture and Indian nationhood. According to the table 1 estimations this $100 million represents film production costs for approximately 33 Indian films compared to about 2 films in Hollywood. one of India’s largest film production and distribution companies.

it is important to touch base with concepts such as fan culture and Indianness. 2007. cultural adjustments patterns like changes in life styles. and examines the role of Bollywood in maintaining their identities. which is now being spread by new media technologies even within the Indian diaspora. and body language with utmost sincerity. In other words. Tirumala. and rituals for both the educated person and a layman alike. to fill the gap in the diaporic identity literature. many ardent Indian movie fans of Indian origin copy their favorite actor’s mannerisms. 1999). Chopra (2007) noted that members of a certain Bollywood film club from South Korea wore Sharukh Khan (a popular Bollywood actor) t-shirts and goggles while watching a Hindi film. demographic characteristics. Dawson. Therefore. 1998). have focused on Indian immigrants. 2005. which relates to a concept called fan culture (Srinivas. particularly in United States. living conditions and socio economic ties between home and Diaspora (Rao. the current study investigates the identity construction process of second-generation Indian American students. dress styles. Punathambekar. language. I seek to demonstrate how Hindi film viewing practices in second-generation Indian Americans intersect to create a 9 .Texas Tech University. Most studies. it is surprising to see that little research work is done in the area of Bollywood movies and cultural identity formation among second-generation Indian Americans. Bollywood films strongly influence dress codes. In fact. Considering the popularity of Bollywood movies amongst the Indian diaspora. 2009 Though some of the following will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter. For example. This suggests the emergence of a particular Bollywood culture in India. Juluri. 2005. who were born and brought up in the United States. Lakshmi N. however. Aug.

Lakshmi N. Jawaharlal Nehru (1946) defined this quality as “unity in diversity. The Discovery of India. a notion of independent nation that brought the people together despite their diversity in many aspects. In his book. sects and sub-sects. Taking cues from Cohn’s (1972) definition many scholars define Indianness in terms of religious tolerance and simple acceptance of unity in diversity while others define the notion focusing on the otherworldly aspects of this culture like family togetherness. a quality that makes quintessentially India.243). religions. From the definitions and observations it can be said that Indianness is one notion that is considered to be inherent and inseparable from all Indians. castes and sub-castes. customs and traditions. Aug. traditions and value system (Bhat. On Being “Indian” According to Bhat (2006). 2009 notion of “Indianness.” Before examining literature on cultural identity construction. Tirumala. However. described or measured. Some key elements of Indianness are language and regions. 2006).” Cohn (1972) defined Indianness or being Indian as something that is unique. the importance of 10 .Texas Tech University. even the universal religious faiths like Christianity and Islam will have a distinct Indian touch to it that makes them Indian Christians and Indian Muslims. it is important to understand the concepts like “Indianness” and cultural identity. something that can be distinctly experienced. As Nehru (1946) stated. Indianness is nothing but a “psycho-social product of colonialism as much as post colonialism” (p.

2006). The reason behind such importance given to Hinduism is that many scholars believe Hinduism as an ethnic religion that has strong roots in India. language. Aug. ATA (American Telugu Association). 2006). Indians started migrating to United States only after the Immigration and Nationality Act was revoked in 1965. and region define the identity of Indian diasporic communities. and Illinois (How a burgeoning. 2006). 2003. The Indian Diaspora Recent population estimates suggested that the Indian diaspora has reached 25 million. Texas. Tirumala. along with other Indian Associations like Global Organization of People 11 . language and caste factors play a dominant role in the lives of U. 2009 Hinduism cannot be ignored or overlooked from the concept of Indianness as it plays a crucial role in unifying various castes and tribes (Singh. 2006). lawyers or businessman (Bhat. are white-collar professionals such as engineers.S. based Indians now numbering about three million according to the United States Census calculations and are most heavily concentrated in the states of California. Gujarat Samaj. it fits to discuss the Indian diaspora in the United States. Bhat.Texas Tech University. This suggests that religion is a significant aspect of the notion “Indianness”. apart from language and region. Religion. spreading across the globe in more than 130 countries (Bhuyan. Many regional associations like TANA (Telugu Association of North America). Because this study was limited to the United States. As Singh (2003) points out that these very elements like religion. Lakshmi N. New Jersey.S. New York. The majority of Indians who migrated to U. doctors.

electronic media in particular. the Internet. Aug. frequently enables the notion of “Indianness” through its various programs. 2009 for Indian Origin (GOPIO) have emerged to maintain a separate identity for Indians by facilitating an opportunity to meet with people from same regions. while the notion of “Indianness” becomes significant in India only when it is challenged. Bhat. Lakshmi N. Thus. Thus. the cultural 12 . whether it is a home culture or host culture. it is worth exploring the cultural identity construction process among second-generation Indian Americans and the role of Bollywood in maintaining these identities. New communications technologies like satellite television. argued that mass media. Cultural Identity Cultural identity can simply be defined as an individual’s way of identifying himself/herself with the culture.147). Tirumala. it is a part of the Indian diaspora that comes out every time they involve and interact with other ethnic groups. mobile phones and DVDs have helped this cause of connecting with the home culture. etc. 2008. Jung and Lee (2004) defined cultural identity as a “socially and historically constructed outcome of locating the self in relation to interactions with others as well as to socially and culturally conditioned communicative structures within a given society” (p. Research scholars (Rao. as mentioned in this thesis. Rao (2008). 2006) also noted that there is a continuous effort among members of the Indian diaspora to maintain cultural identity through their activities that are distinctly Indian. As Bhat (2006) and Singh (2003) noted. films.Texas Tech University.

Lee (2006) observed that when individuals with minority status.” Secondgeneration Indian Americans naturally fall under this scenario by constantly experiencing the dynamics of both the Indian as well as American cultures. it makes an interesting study to explore the role of Bollywood movies and factors influencing the identity construction among second-generation Indian Americans. To accomplish this.S. the 13 . Lakshmi N. Aug.Texas Tech University. culture and Indian culture. is continually negotiated between the U. an individual’s identity is maintained through social interactions with others as well as with media. In fact. This study is primarily based on the second-generation Indian American undergraduate students from Texas Tech University and how they construct their cultural identity. 2009 identity of Indian Americans. Hence. Most importantly. they will report conflicting ideas. for example Indian Americans. beliefs. Identifying with a particular culture makes people feel they belong and gives them a sense of security. Cultural identity is also an important contributor to a people’s wellbeing. These factors influence in shaping the overall cultural identity among minority individuals and make them choose to identify themselves with certain culture they often come into contact with cultural “in-groups” and “out-groups. Tirumala. experience multiple cultures and are trapped by the dynamics of these cultures. This thesis investigated the role of Bollywood movies in second-generation Indian Americans via in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. especially the second-generation Indian Americans. Moorti (2003) argued that these social interactions play a significant role in constructing and maintaining one’s identity and this holds true particularly with diasporic communities. and attitudes toward a particular cultural group.

Tirumala. 14 . identity. 2009 study examined the role of Bollywood movies using three moments (consumption. Lakshmi N.Texas Tech University. Aug. and representation) of circuit of culture.

with the arrival of talkies in the early 1930s. Alam Ara. The first exposure to motion pictures for India was in the year 1896. when Lumiere Brothers’ Cinematographe unveiled six soundless short films in Bombay (Bose. 1996). Tirumala. However. It brought revolutionary changes in the whole set up of India’s film industry (Bose. almost 85 percent of movies shown in India were American. Aug.Texas Tech University. 2006). However. Raja Harishchandra (1913). Indian cinema gradually took the shape of a regular industry during the late 1920s. 2007). The 1930s witnessed the arrival of many new production companies and filmmakers from all over the country. 2009 Chapter II Literature Review A Brief History of Bollywood Industry The birth of Indian cinema has coincided with the freedom struggle against British colonialism. which signified the birth of the Indian film industry. the Indian film industry was able to free itself from foreign influence and produce movies that were related to Indian social and culture system (Nayar. Lakshmi N. The first Indian talkie. was produced by the Imperial film company and directed by Irani in 1931. Dada Saheb Phalke was responsible for the production of country’s first silent feature film. 2006). which led to an increase in number of films being 15 . Since that time cinema has been successfully engaged in defining a cultural identity that was Indian both in its shape and form (Rao. Due to the phenomenal expansion of Hollywood industry and lack of better Indian filmmakers.

had fallen within the purview of the law during the late 1930s. Tamil. This is about the time when song and dance sequences were introduced in Indian films that gave the films unique and aesthetic look. Three major studios during this period made some serious but entertaining films for all social classes of the Indian audience. With the advent of sound. westernization and indigeneity. 58). 1980). This was also the period the country was united by Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience and non-violence movement against the British demanding for Indian independence. Aug. Regional issues and a desire to see and hear one’s own language had spurred new regional film industries producing Bengali. Indian film producers and directors were able to focus on scripts and dialogues that pertained to the Indian society and culture.Texas Tech University. which helped transform Indian movies into a commodity in later years. and several other dialects around the time. The late 1930s and early 1940s were recognized as the decade of social protests in the history of Indian cinema. with the British withdrawal from India in 1947. Telugu. The Indian audiences accepted the innovative idea with great enthusiasm. Films helped the cause by uniting Indians and getting them to think and act as citizens of a sovereign nation. however. Rao (2007) noted that it was the period when “a tension between modernity and tradition. However. Lakshmi N. have evolved in the cinematic imagination” (p. 2009 made. Tirumala. Indian cinema finally emerged as an undisputed vehicle for national unity focusing heavily on reality and aesthetics (Kalkar. an 16 . From these tensions has emerged a unique ideology called Indian identity. The Indian film industry. Kannada. which gave a little chance to the filmmakers to fight against the British colonialism.

2003). The first International film festival (IFF) of India that was held in early 1952 at Bombay has had a significant impact on Indian cinema and inspired filmmakers toward producing art films. which positioned Indian film on the world film platform. and Mother India (1957) that were focused on underprivileged populations and inequities in Indian society (Jaikumar. The male protagonist was portrayed as a cynical and rebellious worker who was often seen fighting rich businesses and corrupt politicians (Rao. political and economic turmoil during 1970s and early 1980s saw Indian cinema return to the concept of social concerns. introducing new film stars like Shammi Kapoor. It was a strategy through which Hindi 17 . Mehnoob Khan’s Mother India was the first Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar (Chopra. Throughout the late 1950s. Lakshmi N. and Rajesh Khanna. young man was the primary audience of these films. The tremendous success of Zanjeer (1973) introduced the figure of “angry young man” to the Indian screen. 2007). however. Guru Dutt and Mehboob Khan made films with social messages such as Do Bigha Zamin (1953). During the late 1960s. The notable turning point. Bimal Roy. Tirumala. The poor. Pyaasa (1957). arrived in 1955 with the introduction of Satyajit Ray and his classic Pather Panchali. 2007). Aug. Bollywood cinema shifted its social concerns towards romantic genres. which appealed to the underprivileged sections of society (Iordanova. directors like Raj Kapoor. 2006). However. Among the films. angry. religion and moral values – important characteristics that movies frequently focused upon.Texas Tech University. 2009 identity that is associated with family.

interests and influences the audiences to desire what it produces. 1975). Based on this culture theory it can be assumed that the Bollywood film industry often manipulates the viewer to desire what it produces rather making films that viewers would be interested to watch.” and stated that Bollywood became a part of the culture industry. Lakshmi N. According to this theory. radio and magazines (Adorno. Indian filmmakers began operating in a new media landscape. 2003). Though the Bollywood industry specializes in understanding what the audience wants. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the revival of the musical love stories in Hindi cinema. Tirumala. but hides the way it regulate these needs and manipulates the consumers to desire what it produces (Adorno. Aug. it succumbs to the elite whims.Texas Tech University. 1975). The significant changes that were brought in by the liberalization of the Indian economy throughout the 1990s enabled the already growing internationalization of the production and distribution of Hindi films (Rajadhyaksha. The culture industry claims to serve the needs of the consumers for entertainment. 2009 films have ensured that viewer. more often than not. identified with the working and lower middle class populations. but also shapes the society through the process of standardization and commodification through films. Rajadhyaksha (2003) termed this shift as “Bollywoodization of the Indian cinema. With the advent of cable and satellite television. both men and women. where easy access to Bollywood and Hollywood films were made available to viewers at home. a phenomenon coined by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer (1976). popular culture not only mirrors society. As discussed 18 .

This trend based in synergies across different media platforms has encouraged Bollywood film producers to focus on urban and niche audiences who have ample disposable income and are active consumers. Dil Chahta Hi (2003) (see Appendix A for some of the plot summaries) achieved success both in the domestic and overseas market alike. Accordingly. Lakshmi N. Bollywood as a cultural industry influences dress codes. it is not surprising to see that the audience desires to imitate dress codes. hair styles.Texas Tech University. that they see in Indian movies.27). In the past decade. Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham (2001). Television and music rights generated more revenues than the entire movie production cost. Given the immense popularity of Indian film stars and the large number of fan communities that have emerged over the years. from cable to radio. Moviegoers in India take pride in associating themselves with an actor or actress and diligently follow their mannerisms (Srinivas. overseas distribution rights for a big budget movie have doubled in price than that in the Indian market (Jaikumar. Black (2004). some of the most popular films such as Don (2006) Rang De Basanti (2005).. Swades (2004). Aug. It might be best seen as a more diffuse cultural conglomeration involving a range of distribution and consumption activities from websites to music cassettes. His argument about Bollywood industry was in line with the cultural industry concept of commodification. “Bollywood is not the Indian film industry or not the film industry alone. 2002). 2009 earlier. hairstyles and even mannerisms. from New Delhi to New York” (p. Dhoom (2004). Baym and Punathambekar (2007) observed that “fandom” is a significant element of Indian film culture. Rajadhyaksha (2003) further argued. 19 . Tirumala. 2003). Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000). etc.

Tirumala.S. Athique (2005) noted that it is surprising to see that the Bombay cinema has not generated much interest among scholars of cultural studies. and U. while localizing and Indianizing them can best be labeled as “glocalization” (Ganti. This is slowly changing as the popularity and importance of Bollywood cinema amongst the large South Asian diaspora is now being recognized as an important cultural object for scholars of socio-cultural studies. both directed by Mira Nair. During this period. 2002).K. Lakshmi N. particularly in U. These innovative strategies adopted by filmmakers by taking global formats and visual styles. The new age film producers argue that films with western themes and usage of “Hinglish” (a blend of Hindi and English language) will not attract a large of number of the diasporic audience. all these films featured westernized themes. and Danny Boyel’s Slum Dog Millionaire (2008) achieved tremendous success in the Indian diaspora. Movies such as Monsoon Wedding (2001). and considerable use of English language in the dialogues. The Name Sake (2006). 2009 Interestingly. foreign locations. the big budget musical drama. These techniques demonstrated a trend toward reaching a global audience as opposed to the industry’s earlier objective of resisting western influence. Aug.Texas Tech University. opened to sold-out crowds in London. Bollywood & Diaspora Following is a brief description of Bollywood’s presence in a few important regions of the world: 20 . The period between 2001 and 2008 is very significant with the exposure of South Asian popular culture reaching an all time high. Bombay Dreams.

the U. Africa and Russia Bollywood is now being recognized and achieving box office success in some parts of Africa such as Nigeria. Bollywood films are particularly popular in the former Soviet Union. because most of the people from these countries speak/understand Hindi (Kaur and Sinha. Pakistan and Bangladesh arguably enjoy an upper hand in the consumption of Bollywood movies. Bollywood is not so popular in this part of the world compared to Oceania. 2006). Aug. Bollywood movies are also popular in other South Asian countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka due to their proximity with the Indian subcontinent.Texas Tech University.S.K. Although. Israel and Arab countries have been witnessing a gradual increase in popularity for Bollywood films since 2001 (Mishra. Indian movies offer an alternative style to Hollywood movies and music videos that both Indian diaspora and African youth could follow without the fear of becoming western. 2009 Asia Among Asian countries. 2005). Although Pakistan’s government banned Indian films. 21 . and the U. According to Larkin (1997). it has made a slow but steady progress over the years (Irodanova. for the most part. Also Afghanistan. Bollywood movies are watched on cable and DVDs..d. n. Lakshmi N. However. a few Bollywood films like Tajmahal (2005) were legally released in Pakistan.). Iordanova (2006) noted that Bollywood movies are dubbed to Russian and shown in prominent theatres. Tirumala. Morocco and South Africa because of its increasing Indian diaspora.

United Kingdom and Europe As per industry sources. This trend was followed by most recent movies like Heyy Babyy and Chak de India (2007). Bend it Like Beckham (2002). Many films such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Bollywood films have been gradually improving its box office revenues in the UK and it is fitting to say that the UK plays a significant role in Bollywood’s global share (Dawson. Australia is one of the few countries where there is a large Indian diaspora. Since 1997. With the growing Indian diaspora. the Yash Raj film Salaam Namaste (2005) was one of the first Indian films to be shot entirely in Australia. thanks to its ever-increasing Indian population (Kaur and Sinha. 2005). Indian filmmakers have been attracted to the country’s diverse locations and rich landscapes to film significant number of song and dance sequences (Shah. Tirumala. Lakshmi N. 2005). Bollywood films do exceptionally well in United Kingdom (Sheth.Texas Tech University. Dawson observed that the Bollywood is also popular in Western Europe where India’s mega film industry has carved an identity for itself. Aug. 22 . especially for song and dance sequences. Two television channels—RTL II (German) and Rai Uno (Italian)—have recently started to broadcast Indian movies every week (Sheth. 2006). 2006). 2009 Oceania Bollywood ranks second only to Hollywood in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. and Bride and Prejudice (2005) have been filmed entirely in United Kingdom. 2005). For example. Australia has been providing a backdrop for a number of Bollywood films.

S. 2005).. many Bollywood filmmakers have been shooting significant number of scenes in America. video sales and the sale of audio tracks from the movies (Overdorf. reported that Bollywood films in the U. make an average of $100 million a year through theatre screenings. Lakshmi N. With the Indian movie industry gaining popularity in the West. Washington D. one of the India’s largest production houses and distributors. video rental retailers such as Netflix are offering more Bollywood movies through their online stores. Yash Raj Films. Tirumala. Bollywood started entering into American living rooms through “Bollywood On Demand” provided by Comcast Corporation. As mentioned in the previous chapter. the largest cable television provider in the United States (Sikka. Indian films do more business in the United States than films from any other country. Also. and Chocolate (2005) were shot in United States. 2007). A few recent prominent films like Kaante (2002). Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003). and New York (Overdorf. Many big-budget Bollywood films are debuting in the top 20 box office charts in cities where the Indian diaspora is large. Indian filmmakers have set their sights on the United States when it comes to locations for filming significant scenes and song and dance sequences. With ever growing numbers of South Asians immigrating to the United States.C. 2007). 2009 Bollywood in United States Bollywood has been experiencing tremendous growth in revenues in North American markets and is most popular among the South Asian communities in cities such as Chicago.Texas Tech University. During the past 10 years. Aug. Some of the more recent music-oriented films have 23 .

There is no question that the Indian movie industry has experienced exceptional growth in the number of films produced. 24 . The growth of the Bollywood film industry in foreign markets. Aug. raise of multiplexes. has provided an opportunity to explore issues related to the creation and maintenance of cultural identity. especially in the United States. Lakshmi N. The next chapter examined the theoretical frameworks that could be used to analyze the relationship between Bollywood and the development of cultural identity among the secondgeneration Indian Americans. Bombay Dreams. and the creation of overseas markets through the exportation of theatrical and home video consumption. the following chapter examines the cultural identity in terms of cultural studies.Texas Tech University. to hit Broadway during 20042005 season. Specifically. Tirumala. the generation of revenues through movie ticket sales. 2009 influenced the first Bollywood musical.

and it display social disparity. Cultural studies are the way to analyze and understand the systems and values of our daily lives. custom. and in situ. …Second …is the social definition of culture. he positioned the culture in two general categories: There is. in their material context” (p. belief systems. Taylor (1874) defined culture as “it is that complex whole which includes knowledge. morals. Williams (1961) conceptualized the culture “as a whole way of life” (p. first. Culture represents certain meanings and values of a society. Aug. Additionally. Lakshmi N. human thought and experience are variously recorded. located. 41). and cultural anthropology to explore cultural phenomena in industrial societies. 41). According to Stuart Hall (1997). art. law. in today’s global world. 50). film/video studies. mass media play a significant role in representing and even projecting a society’s culture.Texas Tech University. Tirumala. the ideal in which culture is the body of intellectual and imaginative work. it involves power structures. which expresses certain meanings and values not only in art and learning but also in institutions and ordinary behavior (p. 25 . 2009 Chapter III Theoretical Framework Cultural Studies Cultural studies combine sociology. 67). Johnson (1987) explained cultural studies with three main characteristics: culture is associated with social relations. and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (p. …Culture is a description of a particular way of life. He maintained that the way to understand culture as “a whole.

Lakshmi N. Moreover. identity. Accordingly. du Gay et al. However. suggested that combining these five elements completes a circuit and to 26 . The Circuit of Culture Circuit of culture is a model that offers a holistic view of the process of communication. cultural studies focus on how individuals understand their culture through mass media. production. 1997). In short.. and regulation (du Gay et al. For the Indian diaspora in the United States. consumption. It suggests that to study a cultural text or artifact. it does not create new culture or a social phenomenon but it repackages and reforms cultural practices. Accordingly. Aug. Tirumala. Hall (1996) explained that the media play an important role in the formation of the things that they reflect. One explanation for this process is through the Circuit of Culture. social ideology is always present in culture.Texas Tech University. Hall (1982) described the role of media in the society as functional. audience could get other cultural perspectives through mass media so that they might realize that the culture they are living in differs from other cultures. 2009 Hall (1997) observed that the images and the values of a society would be provided by mass media. Hall (1997) suggested that the audience could learn other cultural values through media and so they might recognize that they live in different cultures. No matter what the audience perceives about the content of mass media. Bollywood movies should provide links to the Indian culture. consciously or unconsciously. one needs to look at its representation. especially electronic media. a cultural studies framework that can be used to explore and examine the process of cultural identification.

On the final moment of Regulation. Curtin and Gaither (2005) argued that the circuit of culture is a useful framework for better understanding the values and meanings of any cultural product. the circuit examines how people find similarities with themselves and messages encoded during the production.play a significant role in how we send and receive messages. Likewise. 27 .. Consumption deals with how these messages are decoded and the meaning that audiences make of them. like Hall (2005) suggested. visuals and language play a predominant role in the process of representation. So. Tirumala. As Hall (1997) suggested cultural meaning is socially constructed through systems of symbolic representations. Lakshmi N. 2009 examine or analyze how cultural processes are accomplished in our daily lives. At the moment of identity. the communication process is much more than sending a message from point A to B. the circuit examines how cultural messages affect consumers in their daily lives.Texas Tech University. and regulation -.representation. Production is pursued on the basis of targeted audience and at this stage we are concerned with understanding how various meanings are encoded in messages. 1997). consumption. one must take this circuit into consideration if it is to be studied adequately (du Gay et al. this process helps us to understand the complexity of communication. Aug. production. the meaning of any cultural text or artifact can be examined and understood from these five interdependent elements of the circuit of culture. The circuit of culture consists of five major moments: representation is the first stage of the circuit as it is a process by which cultural meaning is generated and given a shape. As indicated above. The moments of the circuit -. identity.

2004). 2000. 1996). The cultural process engaged by Indian American adults was examined on the basis of circuit of culture framework. Globalization and new media technologies like the Internet and satellite television help the diaspora communities to stay connected with their ethnic roots as often as possible and restore the old traditions and value system (Appadurai. ethnic. Lakshmi N. according to Johnson (2000). The concept of ethnic identity The cultural identity of immigrated minority groups has been an issue in the fields of mass communications and social sciences (see Gillespie.Texas Tech University. However. (1997) observed that people consume products to project certain cultural identities that they want others to recognize they possess. Tirumala. Jung and Lee (2004) observed that the definitions provided by past researchers with respect to ethnic. 2000). identity and consumption. Aug. Johnson. the current study attempted to examine whether consumption of Bollywood movies helps second-generation Indian Americans understand and maintain their cultural identity among. We may infer that diaspora identities have always been unstable because of their constant exposure to home and host culture influences. 2009 du Gay et al. racial and cultural 28 . ethnic minorities are successfully finding a balance between their home and host cultures and trying not to steer away from the ancestral culture and traditions. Based on this statement. Scholars have defined ethnic identity in different ways and interestingly there seems to be no distinction in identity literature when it comes to defining racial. and cultural identity (as referred in Jung and Lee. mainly focusing on the elements of representation.

myth and habit which bind members of an ethnic community together as a sub-cultural grouping within the territorial confines of a nation-state” (p. It is safe to assume that ethnic groups express their identity by choosing ethnic symbols such as ethnic clothes. ethnic festivals. Sreberny (2000) noted “approaches to ethnicity usually focus on the common bonds of language. Interacting with family and friends on a daily basis appeared to help identify and maintain the home culture. Aug. ethnic language. This is an important notion because the current study will also attempt to explore the role played by family and friends in understanding the Indian culture and identity.S. today. It is not at all surprising considering the number of ethnicities and cultures in U. Kelly (1996) defined ethnic identity as “a group’s or individual’s cultural construction of their ethnic past which is grounded in an historical context but which also responds to changes in the lives of both groups and individuals” (p. and most importantly through consumption of ethnic food and media.82). 179). it only make things complicated and difficult to draw out a universal definition. However. 2009 identities are similar.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. Language and religious customs play a crucial role in bringing together people who share similar cultural traits and form a sub-cultural group. 29 . it is important to note that ethnic groups combine these with host culture elements to construct a third identity such as Indian American. Hall (1997) clearly emphasized that the cultural elements like family and peer groups play a significant role in the formation of individual’s identity. Tirumala.

to closely identify 30 . satellite television and DVD. outgroup members constantly remind him or her of in-group identity. Cultural identity formation is a complicated process. consumption of ethnic news and entertainment through satellite channels and DVDs could serve to maintain the culture and traditions of ethnic minorities. For example. Hall (1997) suggested that the mass media acts as a linkage between dispersed public and the homeland of cultural life that helps to create a sense of identity among the media consumers. which allows ethnic group members. Aug. Lakshmi N. produced and maintained through various social interactions inside and outside ethnic communities. Chances are that new media technologies create ample opportunities for minority communities to find a new sense of connection and maintain their identities. Thus. For the purpose of this research. He suggested that there is a difference between interacting with in-group members and outgroup members. cultural identity is defined. While in-group members often help individual maintain the culture. They also argued that individuals positively differentiate their in-group from out-group on specific identity and value dimensions. communicating with in-group and out-group members play an influential role in identifying with an individual’s ethnic culture (Durham. 2004). 2009 Furthermore.Texas Tech University. Examining the role of intergroup behavior. Apart from interpersonal interactions with family and peer group the cultural identity of ethnic groups can be constructed and maintained through their constant interactions with media technologies like the Internet. Indian American students in this case. cultural identity is defined as a level of ethnic identification. Tajfel and Turner (1986) observed that the act of categorizing oneself as a particular group member would lead to a display of in-group favoritism. Tirumala.

Aug. 2009 themselves with their cultural and traditional origins. She discovered that the majority of the participants from the study identified 31 . 2004). and faith in religion. In a study of ethnic identity formation process among second-generation KoreanAmericans. 2004. Prior studies found that the cultural identity of Asian Americans to be largely influenced by family and social relationships (see Jung and Lee. This reflects the importance of family togetherness to Asian culture in comparison to the individualistic approach of Western cultures. In other words. As discussed in the previous chapter it is important to pay attention to Bollywood movies not only for their dynamic reach to the diaspora communities but also for their popularity among the group. the majority of the literature was drawn from either Asian American or Asian Britain identity construction studies. none of the past studies focused particularly on Indian Americans. age hierarchy. Jo (2000) found that Korean culture. The current research highlights the role of Bollywood movies. Lakshmi N. Durham. Cultural Identity of Asian Americans As there is an absence of literature about second-generation Indian Americans and their cultural identity process. it reflects the collectivistic approach of Asian culture to the individualistic orientation of Western culture. Tirumala. associated with strict parenting style. was a strong force behind the identity negotiation process.Texas Tech University. Although the Asian American group does consists of Indian Americans. which facilitate the cultural contacts by erasing geographical boundaries and thereby influencing ethnic group’s identity construction and maintenance.

a majority of the girls admitted that their level of Indianness differs from that of their parents. peer group interactions and religious institutions strongly motivate the students ethnic identification process. Lakshmi N. attending language classes. Tirumala. attitudes. found that external forces such as the relationship with parents. The above studies reemphasize the fact that family and religion play a dominant role in constructing and maintaining the cultural identification. However. Hennick. Many teenagers in the study reported that mixing with Asian friends. 2009 themselves as Korean or Korean American.Texas Tech University. Aug. This suggested that the level of cultural identity diminishes from generation to generation in the Indian diaspora. which suggested that the second-generation Korean Americans were strongly connected to the Korean culture. many teenagers in this study opined that Asian films mirrored the true culture and traditional aspects. Diamond. Durham (2004) found that the participants classified themselves as Indians and identified that family and peer group interactions as the driving force behind their identity formation. and watching Asian films helped them stay connected to the home culture. and Cooper (1999) posited that the cultural identity of Asian teenage girls in Britain depended on their social activities and interactions. In his study of South Asian immigrant girls and diaspora identity. Interestingly. All the participants in this study reported an affinity 32 . The author argued that since the participants were brought up in a mixed culture it is understandable to see a difference in their Indianness from that of their parents. and behaviors of many Asian societies that helped reinforce cultural values. Jung and Lee (2004). who surveyed Korean American students.

This supports Hall’s (1997) observation that mass media and communication technologies play a crucial role in enhancing the process of identity formation.K found that joint viewing of ethnic television and films are extremely important in the construction of cultural 33 . and religious institutions in constructing and maintaining the identity.Texas Tech University. the current study seek to understand the role of family. Lakshmi N. Aug. Internet. This suggested that apart from family and religious institutions. Because the current study examined the role of Bollywood movies. Jung and Lee (2004) found that young Korean Americans most often rely on the distance shrinking communication technologies such as mobile phones. Mass media has been used as a useful communication tool for cultural identity construction and maintenance among first generation immigrants and their children. 2009 towards their people of similar ethnic background. In their aforementioned ethnographic study on Korean American students. The study also revealed that satellite television acted as a good education tool for children to learn Korean language and culture. it was important to look at the past research studies that investigated the role of media. Drawing the basis from the above research works. peer group interactions. Tirumala. Further support is provided by Lee (2004) who found that satellite television programs played an important role reinforcing the connection with Korean culture and society while looking at Korean immigrants and the role of satellite television. and satellite television to create new social realities and cultural identities within the Korean diaspora community context. peer group interaction and entertainment industry also play a crucial role in defining one’s ethnic identity. Thompson’s (2002) study of media use and diaspora identity among immigrants and their children in the U.

Aug. Gillespie observed that the parents considered Indian films to be useful and informative agents for constructing cultural identity of their children.com helped by integrating all the Chinese students and scholars in the United Sates. The Internet also began to play a significant role in constructing and maintaining the cultural identity of people living in ethnic diasporas. Interestingly. he found that the extensive use of VCR at home to watch Indian films represented a significant means for parents to maintain links with their country and culture of origin. This is an ample indication of Internets role in shaping and reinforcing cultural identity. and belief system in their children apart from teaching the Indian language. attitudes. whereas children felt little connection to the films. electronic media played an important role in constructing and reinforcing the identity. Lakshmi N. whereas second-generation children resisted the Indian traditions and customs that were shown in films. Melkote and Liu (2000) found that Chinese ethnic Internet sites like tudou. Rao (2007) researched Bollywood movies and non-elite audiences in India and found that the majority of the respondents did not identify themselves with the current 34 . Gillespie (1989) examined the role of the video recorder in the construction of ethnic identity among Indians in England. While looking specifically at Bollywood movies and identity construction. Tirumala.Texas Tech University. 2009 identity. The majority of the parents used Indian films to cultivate certain traditional cultural values. Findings from this study suggested that besides family and peer group interactions. The study suggested that the Chinese ethnic Internet sites provided a way for Chinese to stay connected with their culture and preserve the traditional values.

it suggested that the Bollywood industry has been producing movies to lure diaspora communities (elite or high income groups as per Indian standards) and increase the financial returns through its exports. based on those findings and a significant gap in the literature the current study developed the following research questions to examine the role of Bollywood films in cultural identity formation and maintenance among second-generation Indian Americans: RQ 1: What factors do second-generation Indian Americans identify as influencing their identity construction? 35 . Therefore. television. previous studies showed that the cultural identity construction among second-generation populations depends on various negotiation processes through a combination of inter personal and mediated communicative interactions. Though this study did not focus on immigrant identity. Although the past research studies looked at the role of all the abovementioned variables in identity construction. Dawson’s (2005) study of Hindi film music and the negotiation of identity among British-Asian youths resulted in positive responses from the audience. radio.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. religious institutions. 2009 Bollywood narratives. Internet. Tirumala. and mass media such as print. they have not explored the role of Bollywood movies in the identity construction of second-generation Indian Americans. Aug. in-group and out-group interactions. and films. Participants from the study also stated that the Hindi film music gave them an opportunity to stay close to the ethnic culture. In summary. the movies have ignored the preferences of non-elite audiences. The variables that were derived out of the previous research are: family. He reasoned that while Bollywood industry has been veering towards a Western style catering to the needs of elite Indians and Indian Diasporia community.

2009 RQ 2: What role do mass media play in second-generation Indian Americans identity construction? RQ 3: What roles does Bollywood in particular play in the process of identity construction among second-generation Indian Americans? 36 . Lakshmi N.Texas Tech University. Tirumala. Aug.

3). Tirumala. 2009 Chapter IV Methodology This research study explored the research questions grounded in cultural studies by looking at how second-generation Indian Americans construct their identity. qualitative research is defined as… “a situated activity that located the observer in the world. and memos to the self” (p. i. It consists of a set of interpretive. A qualitative researcher is an integral part of the investigation and so it enables a researcher to examine individual motivations through which detailed information can be obtained 37 .e. Qualitative research is also defined as an inquiry in which the researcher attempts to understand some larger phenomena by investigating it in a holistic way. “Indianness” and how Bollywood movies are used to maintain the culture and identity. material practices that make the world visible. They turn the world into a series of representations. Qualitative methods including in-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted to understand the role of social institutions and the mass media in general and focus on the role of Bollywood movies on the Identity process. Lakshmi N. recordings. conversations. It emphasizes the importance of observing variables in the natural setting where they are found. interviews. photographs.Texas Tech University. Aug. These practices transform the world. including field notes. Qualitative research According to Denzin and Lincoln (2005).

and d. (Key. Researcher bias is unavoidable. Comprehensive data gathering limits scope. 1997). 38 . This study used two of the qualitative methods to examine and analyze the identity construction process among second-generation Indian Americans. 1996). c. c. Weinreich. While on the flip side. It is not limited to rigidly defined variables. Lakshmi N. Some advantages of qualitative research are: a. The following is a detailed description of each method that was used in this study. Aug. It is an in-depth examination of a phenomenon. b. 2009 (Denizen and Lincoln. Subjectivity raises the issue of reliability and validity of the approach. Tirumala. Texas used Bollywood movies in constructing and maintaining their identity. It examines questions that can otherwise be impossible to answer with quantitative methods. It explore new areas of research. d. 2005. It uses subjective information. a. Specifically the study examined how Indian American students at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. It is impossible to replicate. b. Weinreich (1996) observed that the qualitative research helps to obtain a realistic view of the world that cannot be captured through the statistical data analysis used in quantitative research. and e.Texas Tech University.

2006). Interviewer or interview responses may be biased in order to prove an idea or a situation is working. most of which are unsuitable to address in a group format. it is one of the qualitative research techniques that involve conducting individual interviews with a small number of people to examine their perspectives on an idea or a situation (Boyce and Neale. This technique is a very time consuming process. from conducting interviews to transcribing and analyzing the responses c. Some of the merits of indepth interview technique are a. sensitive. generalization cannot be made (Boyce and Neale. In-depth interviews are ideal for investigating personal. this research study adopted Kvale’s (1996) seven stages of the interview process as a guide: 39 . 2006). Because of the small sample size. 2009 In-depth interviews Fontana and Frey (2005) observed that in-depth interviewing is a good way to understand people and their attitudes. Lakshmi N.Texas Tech University. b. Aug. there are also a few disadvantages to this technique: a. or confidential information. It is prone to bias. Bearing the merits and drawbacks in mind. Every effort should be made to conduct interviews with minimal bias b. In-depth interviews provide detailed information on a particular program or idea. Simply put. Tirumala. People may feel more comfortable to have a conversation and share their views in person compared to filling out a survey However.

Interviewing – Interviews are conducted at this stage. and validity of the interview analysis. between February 15. 6. reliability. All interviews lasted about an hour to hour and half. The researcher also attended few general body meetings held by SASA to explain the purpose of the study and sign up interested participants. 2008. 4. Tirumala. The main objective for the interview should be clarified before the interview. A total of eight second-generation Indian American students were interviewed in the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University. 7. a recognized student organization at Texas Tech University. 3.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. Transcribing – The data obtained through interviews are transcribed for analyzing the data. 2008 and March 15. 2009 1. Designing – The interview is designed to achieve the objective of the study. Thematizing – This is the primary stage of the interview. The data obtained through these interviews were then transcribed for analysis as soon as possible after each interview was conducted. 40 . 1996). were digitally recorded and the respondent’s names were changed to conceal the participants’ identity. 2. The researcher should keep in mind what he or she wants from the interview. Analyzing – Researcher decides the proper method for analysis. All individuals were initially contacted by sending personal emails to the members of South Asian Students Association (SASA). Reporting – Discuss the findings from the study and explain how those results follow scientific criteria and the ethical aspects (Kvale. requesting participation in the study. 5. Aug. Verifying – Verify the generalizability.

These transcriptions were read many times to draw patterns and common themes during the analysis stage. A careful and systematic analysis of the discussion provides insight as to how an idea or a situation is perceived by the group. A focus group typically consists of 7-10 people who share certain characteristics that relate to the topic of the discussion (Krueger. Tirumala. which produce detailed information that otherwise cannot be produced. The rationale behind conducting focus groups in addition to in-depth interviews was to enhance understanding the scenario in a better way and to reveal wide range of common opinions as focus groups have a focused discussion about specific topics or issues. knowledge.Texas Tech University. Marczac and Seawell. It provides data more quickly and at lower cost than other methods 41 . The focus group method was the second qualitative technique that was used for this study. 2009 These transcriptions were typed word-for-word into Microsoft Word. Aug. Focus Groups As stated earlier. and attitudes towards a topic. People naturally interact and are influenced by others in a group environment b. 1988). qualitative research enables researchers to examine individual motivations. The focus group technique is extremely useful for exploring attitudes and perceptions and is particularly useful for evaluating complex phenomena such as how audiences process and make sense of certain mediated images. Lakshmi N. experiences. Group interviews are therefore conducted to gather individuals’ opinions. (1995) suggested the following advantages and limitations of using focus groups are: a.

Because of its small sample size. Tirumala. requesting to participate in the study. Moderator may intentionally or unintentionally bias results by providing cues about desired responses e. Produces relatively chaotic data making analysis more difficult c. Researchers’ have less control over the group in general b. Considering the merits and challenges of focus group. this study employed Krueger’s (1988) three. Focus groups are comparatively easy to conduct d. focus group has its own limitations: a. Results may be biased by the presence of a dominated member (Marczac and Seawell. Lakshmi N. Interview: Questions should be carefully planned but appear spontaneous during the focus group discussion. As in the case with in-depth interviews. individuals for the focus group session were contacted initially by sending personal emails to the members of South Asian Students Association (SASA). Results are easy to understand and are accessible to everyone As with any research technique. 3.Texas Tech University. The interview should always include less than ten questions. A total of eight second-generation Indian American students agreed to participate in a focus group 42 . 1998). Analysis: The process of analyzing and reporting must be systematic and descriptive (Krueger. Conceptualization: Determine the purpose of the study and whom to study 2. Aug.phase process as a guide to conduct focus groups: 1. results cannot be generalized d. 2009 c. 1995).

Aug. I used a new color to highlight it within the transcriptions. they were read and re-read searching for common themes and patterns. All the respondents’ names were changed to conceal the participants’ identity and the data thus obtained was transcribed immediately after the focus group session. Previous research works that were based on qualitative methods suggests that the descriptions a researcher provides and the categories and themes they develop becomes the core of the analysis. The focus group session lasted for an hour and was video recorded. Focus group discussions were transcribed word-for-word into Microsoft Word. Tirumala. the transcriptions from focus group were read many times to draw patterns and common themes during the analysis stage. I coded the data by organizing and categorizing the emerging themes using highlighters. Lakshmi N. 2009 session at the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University in the second week of April 2008. 43 . As I read and read re-read the transcriptions from my interviews and focus group session.Texas Tech University. As in the case with in-depth interviews. For each new theme that emerged. Coding Once the transcriptions from both the in-depth interviews and focus groups were typed completed.

2. Aug. Factors influencing second-generation Indian Americans’ identity construction. Tirumala. in this identity construction. As suggested earlier. 2009 Chapter V Findings and Discussion The purpose of the study is to throw some light on the role of Bollywood movies in identity formation and maintenance among Indian American young adults.” The three main areas that were addressed in this research study are: 1. the roles of Bollywood movies in constructing and maintaining this identity. The role of media. excluding Bollywood. As discussed in the previous chapter. Lakshmi N.Texas Tech University. each interview and focus group session were transcribed and read multiple times searching for common themes and patterns across the data. to examine the identity construction process of second-generation Indian Americans and the role played by Bollywood movies in creating the notion of “Indianness. identity. and consumption. the analysis of this study adopted du Gay et al. the circuit of culture and specifically looked at the moments of representation. 3. (1997) framework. 44 . These areas were investigated using in-depth interviews and a focus group session with second-generation Indian American students. The themes that emerged during the reading are discussed below through the analysis of the interviews and focus group data. And finally.

2009 While exploring general media habits and Bollywood viewing habits in particular.Texas Tech University. Tirumala. The information included in Table 2 outlined the basic demographics of the participants and their reported Bollywood movie viewing frequency. Only one respondent said that he would typically watch once in two weeks. Demographics and movie watching frequency Name Puja Rahul Rupa Sandeep Deepa Gowri Hari Sree Sharukh Aishwarya Vijay Bipasha Hritik Amir Salman Kajol Deepika Age 22 23 25 22 23 22 21 24 21 22 22 22 21 22 22 21 22 Gender Female Male Female Male Female Female Male Male Male Female Male Female Male Male Male Female Female 45 Bollywood Movie Watching Frequency Twice a week Once a week Once a week Once a week Twice a week Twice a week Twice a week Thrice a week Once a week Once a week Once in two weeks Once a week Once a week Twice a week Once a week Once a week Twice a week . most of the respondents claimed that they watch at least one Bollywood movie a week. Lakshmi N. All the names were changed to conceal the participant’s identity and they were assigned with a pseudonym: Table 2. Aug.

I have all the cultural similarities.S. Asked why it is important to maintain the culture. religion.Texas Tech University. My parents pressed the culture upon me and I try to keep the traditions alive and pass it on to the next generation. Aug. This suggested that although all participants were born and brought up in the U. All of them visited India at least once and learned about Indian traditions and culture. but not American. the average age of the participants was 21 and on an average they watched at least one Bollywood movie a week. 2009 According to the basic demographics included in Table 2. Constructing Identity All research participants were self-identified as either Indian American or Indian. The following section examined what being an “Indian” meant to secondgeneration Indian American Students in Texas Tech University. All the interviewees associated the Indian culture with family togetherness. Lakshmi N. they still identify with their ethnic roots and keep the “Indianness” alive. They expressed that maintaining the culture and traditions is very important and it is something that they definitely want to pass it on to their children. Asked what it means to be an Indian. Puja (female. Tirumala. festivities and weddings. Rahul (male. 22) said the following: 46 . same religious views and attitudes. 23) responded as follows: I see myself as Indian/Indian American because though I was born here I was still brought up as if I was from there.

Tirumala. For example. and these comments clearly reveal that most of the secondgeneration Indian American participants try to stay connected with their home culture and traditional values. 22). another interview participant Rupa (female.Texas Tech University. Apart from religion and family togetherness. Lakshmi N. a focus group respondent said the following: I obviously want to marry a Indian because I feel it’s important to marry an Indian because there are so many things that you do not understand if you are married to someone who is not an Indian. All focus group respondents also shared similar views on the importance of maintaining the culture. Gowri (female. 25) remembered discovering her identity as Indian through her interactions with other ethnic group members. a majority of the focus group respondents expressed their desire to marry an Indian guy or a girl. I know that I want my children to be Indian and want them to know values and beliefs that I have been raised with. Talking about the marriage system. 2009 I think maintaining culture is extremely important to me because that’s who you are and always will be even if you live the rest of your life here in America. Aug. since nobody really recognizes me as an American. The research shows that ethnic distinction plays a critical role in constructing Indian identity among Indian American students. She observed “interacting with out-group members constantly reminds me of being an Indian. which suggested that these participants not only maintain the cultural identity but also want to pass it on to future generations.” This response suggested that though Rupa was born and brought up in 47 .

Sandeep actively participates in SASA and try to create awareness about the Indian culture on campus. On the other hand. who are frequently and pejoratively identified as ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi) by Indian media 48 . despite their being born in America and fluent in English. as the researcher did not explore in this area. most of the Indian American students. a member of South Asian Students Association (SASA) at Tech said the following: “Me and some of my SASA friends always hang out together and have fun like celebrating holi (festival of colors) or eat Indian food. Most of the interview participants identified student associations as playing a dominant role in maintaining one’s cultural identity because they facilitate a constant interaction with peer group members. 22). 2009 America and speaks English like any other American she will never be accepted as an American because of her ethnic background. which constantly reminds me of my ethnic background. an interesting discussion emerged from the focus group session that focused on the fact that few Indian American students. Tirumala. there is no evidence to support this assumption. Sandeep (male.” Having born and brought up in America. do not veer away from Indian culture due to their interactions with peer group members and taking part in Indian cultural events. Aug. Accordingly. Lakshmi N. Interactions with both “in-group” and “out-group” members play a significant role in inter-cultural identity negotiation process and most importantly remind secondgeneration Indian Americans of their ethnic roots and cultural background.Texas Tech University. While there is a possibility that the race of these respondents may also be a factor for not being accepted as Americans.

A focus group respondent Hritik (male. assimilate toward American culture and do not like to identify themselves with Indian roots. This suggested that the social and cultural interactions play a key role in defining and maintaining the cultural identity amongst second-generation Indian American students. While none of the respondents of both interviews and focus groups identified themselves as ABCDs. 21) observed the following: So they often hangout with Americans and do stuff together but they always come back to us when they want to share things about their families because they do not identify this aspect of sharing with their American friends. they observed that even the so called “ABCDs” come around and interact with them whenever they feel like talking about their families and parents because of the cultural differences they experience when talking with their American peers. or interact with us and they lose everything and start acting as Americans. It’s because their parents do not talk about the importance of culture. Tirumala. so as soon as they leave from home they don’t get involved in any Indian events. When asked for the reason. Lakshmi N. responded as follows: Some just ignore the whole fact that they are Indian.Texas Tech University. they will talk about how they are American more than an Indian because they do not learn anything about cultural background or traditions. 23) a focus group participant. Aug. 2009 and peer groups. Deepa (female. 49 .

A majority of the interviewees pointed out that their parents speak to them in their native language and observed that it was necessary for their own children to be able to understand and converse in their native tongue. friends. Family Interviews from this study indicated that the family plays a significant role in the cultural identity formation among second-generation Indian Americans.Texas Tech University. and media. families play a pivotal role in constructing and maintaining the ethnic roots and identities because they keep the traditions and rituals alive by continuing to follow them and also having their children to take part in these rituals and other celebrations. institutions. During the examination of the first research question. Gowri (female. and friends emerged out of the interviews and focus group sessions. Parents teaching Indian culture at home and/or asking their children to speak in their native language are the most commonly identified activities that influence the identity formation of Indian American students. Lakshmi N.” it is important to learn how it is constructed and maintained by secondgeneration Indian Americans. The four major factors are family. three themes including family. Aug. 22) said the following: 50 . Tirumala. Each of these factors is discussed at length in the following sub sections. As Kelly (1996) and Jung and Lee (2004) pointed out. 2009 Now that we have looked at participant’s observations on the notion of “Indianness. The in-depth interviews and focus group suggests that identity construction process among second-generation Indian Americans is based on four major factors. Following is the synthesis of these three themes. institutions.

Tirumala. The majority of the focus group participants also maintained that just being around family members reminds them of Indian culture and traditions. Aug. praying once a day and eating Indian food are few things that second-generation Indian Americans learned from their families. We usually eat Indian food and do aarti (light a candle) and pray for a while. he would ask his parents about the meaning of phrases he could not understand. So. it can be assumed that staying away from ethnic language makes second-generation Indian Americans fallout from learning about the culture and there by loose their identity. Whenever they watch Indian programs like television soap operas or movies. Also cultural aspects like respect for elders. 2009 I thank my family for teaching me how to speak in Hindi when I was young. It suggested that family members do things in certain way that goes along with culture and tradition. Lakshmi N. you know she does not want me to lose the language. she’s always like why don’t you tell me in Hindi/Gujarathi. Whenever I ask my mom something.Texas Tech University. 23) speaks to his mom and dad in Gujarathi at home. Likewise Rahul (male. And whenever I go home me and my family goes to an Indian restaurant and then may be watch Indian movies. 51 . Deepa (female. I now take pride in saying that I can speak Hindi very fluently and some of the Indian Americans who cannot do so look up to me. 23) said the following: Being around my family makes me think of the Indian culture and traditions.

52 . Thus family clearly plays a predominant role in constructing the identity in second-generation Indian American students. I mean I was always around the culture because my parents took me to all the events and made me involve in all those things.Texas Tech University. Parents play a dominant role in the identity construction of secondgeneration Indian Americans because they are the ones who teach and instill the idea of culture and value system through various activities. 22). The following are the ideas and views on the role of institution in maintaining the cultural identity. an interview participant said the following: My parents took me to temple. played Indian music all the time in cars when we were driving somewhere and they took us to festivals. Tirumala. most of the participants from this study stated that family has the biggest influence on their identity construction and keep them motivated to participate in the culture and traditions. As seen earlier in this chapter. It is observed that participants give priority to their parents and seek their acceptance before taking any important decisions. Lakshmi N. they rented Bollywood movies to watch with us. Aug. 2009 All participants from both the interviews and focus groups maintained that family was the most influential factor in constructing and maintaining identity. Vijay (male. To sum up. institutions also played a major role in constructing and maintaining the identity among these students.

Similarly. religious institutions like temples and religious classes play an important role in identity formation of the second-generation Indian Americans. Aug. Sree (male. This is a very interesting scenario because many people living in India do not seem to give importance to ethnic wear while second53 . Lakshmi N. who was the vice president of South Asian Students Association. we did this thing called puja once every week and it would have Bhagavadgeetha and Ramayana (religious scriptures) classes and we all kids sit together and learn about those stories. We also play holi and diwali every year and have a lot of social events to create awareness about Indian culture and traditions in the University. The majority of the interview participants also observed that they pray every day and wear ethnic clothes to traditional events. Tirumala. going to religious events and participating in traditional functions give Indian Americans a chance to socialize with people from the same cultural background and stay connected with their ethnic roots.Texas Tech University. which teach you about moral values and traditions. Jung and Lee (2004) emphasized that the ethnic church played a crucial role in constructing a social network among Korean Americans. 24). said the following: When I was growing up. I think these activities contribute a lot in preserving our culture and identity. 2009 Institutions The interview participants from this study indicated that in addition to the family and language. Most of the respondents from interviews and the focus group claimed that they participate in all the traditional celebrations and attend Hindu temple on a regular basis.

Aug. This suggested that a participant’s religious faith is deeply rooted by going to a temple and learning it from a religious guru as well as involving in religious events. All participants expressed pride in learning and maintaining the religious faith and keeping in touch with their inner self. Lakshmi N. We celebrate all Indian festivals and go to temple regularly. 24) said the following: 54 . 21) said the following: We are strong in maintaining the religious traditions. it was only in the later stage that they realized the value of religion and importance of maintaining it. Kajol (female. participants from the focus group observed that religious classes played an important role in learning about values and customs.Texas Tech University. Most participants from interviews stated that their parents always wanted them to focus on religion and know everything about it by visiting temple and religious classes. This factor enables them to keep in tune with their religion and stay connected with their culture and identity. 2009 generation Indian Americans emphasize it as a symbol for their identity. I think it is because we are so far away from India we try to preserve and keep the culture alive by doing certain things. Sree (male. Tirumala. But my Indian cousins say they do not wear traditional clothes often. And if I go to traditional events like garbha or something I feel awkward if I don’t wear Indian clothes. They maintained that though they never took it seriously and understood the importance behind knowing about one’s religion and traditions initially. Likewise.

It can be assumed that these associations act as an additional push to identify and maintain the culture and traditions in secondgeneration Indian Americans. Friends All the participants from interviews and the focus group observed that they began to take more interest towards Indian culture and traditions after they entered the university. Organizations such as South Asian Students Association (SASA). But after I grew up and started going to geetha classes. They talked about Hinduism and what you are supposed to do and it helped some to know about culture.Texas Tech University. I realized the importance of maintaining the religious values because it is your identity. University student organizations like SASA and ISA provided them with an opportunity to mix with fellow Indian Americans and Indian students who share similar views and ideas. Aug. This again suggested that institutions like religious classes and student organizations contribute a lot in identity formation and maintenance among second-generation Indian American students. Tirumala. 2009 I did Sunday school for couple of years but I never took it seriously at all because I have never realized the importance of it. Lakshmi N. They taught a lot about Indian values and traditions. Most participants from both interviews and the focus group observed that members of these associations arrange cultural events that help second-generation Indian Americans stay connected to the home culture. Most of the interviewees point out that they socialize with other Indian 55 . Indian Students Association (ISA) also played an important role in preserving and maintaining the culture and identity.

21) said the following: We all try to maintain the Indian spirit by watching Indian movies. attending Indian weddings. Tirumala. 22) responded the following 56 . and watching Bollywood movies were some of the activities Indian American students keenly involved. “When you meet someone from similar cultural background. Indian American students also participate in all the traditional events like diwali (festival of lights). Gowri (female. Aug. watching Indian television channels. garbha (religious event) and movie night. you have already broken the ice and it makes easy to talk to because you already know that you have so much in common traditionally and culturally” said Kajol (female. Hritik (male. listening to Bollywood music. 2009 American students and Indian students alike. Asked how important friends are in maintaining the culture. listening to Indian songs etc and I am able to do all that because I am constantly with my Indian friends and I do not think I would have done that if I were not around them. They also let me keep the traditions alive and help me keep me in check just by being around them. Hritik’s statement suggested that friends play an influential role in maintaining ethnic roots among Indian American students when they are away from home.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. Participants from the focus group session also expressed that they were able to maintain the culture as Indian friends surround them all the time. eating Indian food. Going to temple. 21).

The interviewees and focus group participants stated that family friends also play a significant role in learning and maintaining Indian traditions and values. This showed that friends and family friends were equally important in maintaining Indian culture among second-generation Indian American students. Aug. Lakshmi N. family friends give them an extra push to learn about religious stories and moral values by making them read religious books. They noted that family friends try to teach them about values and traditions by inviting them to different functions like house warming or a religious puja (prayer). The majority of the focus group participants observed that unlike peer groups. I mean I did not have too many Indian friends when I was younger and I think I did not understand a lot about the culture and traditions but now I have a lot of Indian friends and that influences me in knowing and understanding about some things like customs and values. Tirumala. 23) observed the following: One of my mom’s friends. 2009 They are extremely important. I mean they come only next to family. she is very culturally sound and very religious and she always tries to keep us that way. Deepa (female. She also tells us to remember who we are and where we come from.Texas Tech University. “Through my family friends I have learned some stuff about culture. She always tells us about what’s going on and how we need to be sure and not forget our roots. They taught me a lot about our traditions and what’s right and what’s wrong by 57 .

it is better to focus on mediated sources of influence differentiated from the interpersonal ones just discussed. The findings discussed above suggest that family friends and peer groups play a crucial role in constructing and maintaining an individual’s identity. watch Indian movies and have fun. I actually learned cooking Indian food from these family friends. Tirumala. although this seems to depend on the right set of friends who share similar attitudes and a common believe system. We usually play. some found them to be valuable sources of information especially 58 . Apart from family. Following is the analysis that examined the research question 2: What role do mass media play in second-generation Indian Americans identity construction? Media Although the interviewees did not read ethnic newspapers regularly due to language barriers. Lakshmi N. The mere presence of them helps second-generation Indian Americans remain cognizant of their culture and traditions. 2009 reading books like Bhagavadgeetha and Ramayana to me when I was little. Aug. Therefore. eat Indian food. religion.Texas Tech University.” stated Rahul (male. 23). and friends. They always told me not to forget my religious background and today they are one of the reasons my faith is really strong. media influence cannot be taken lightly in identity construction process among secondgeneration Indian Americans. He continued saying: I used to go to family friends’ house and hang out with them all the time.

very few interviewees claimed to have read Indian English newspapers and magazines to check out information on films and sports. Kajol (female. Interestingly. “I hardly read Indian newspapers because I do not understand the language fully. I read the book “The Namesake” and can actually identify with it because my parents moved to United States and I was born here and I can identify with the family morals and values. However. 2009 about sports and movies. Lakshmi N. All the participants listened to Indian radio stations when they are available and liked listening to Bollywood music and Indi pop albums. Aug. Tirumala. They acknowledged that the Indian music played through these stations reminds them of India and the culture in a 59 . Focus group participants observed that even though newspapers and magazines focus on politics. which I am not interested in. 21) stated: I love reading Indian books all the time because they have so much information about the Indian society and traditions.” said Rupa (female. many participants from interviews as well as the focus group noted that they read books written by Indian authors like “The Namesake” and “Shantaram” and admitted that they can identify with the plots and characters of these novels. but I read English newspapers like “The Hindu” or “Times of India” to check out the cricket scores and read Bollywood news because everything else is about politics.Texas Tech University. 25). Indian American students can occasionally learn about society and culture through newspapers as they focus on traditional events like holi and diwali and write articles about them.

22) said the following: “One of the time slots is about religion and they will do like mythology stories. Tirumala. “All these radio channels play Hindi music but again the radio jockeys have American accents which is weird.” reported Deepa (female. another interview participant responded in the following: I love listening to Indian radio channels because they play Hindi music all the time. Puja (female. I think you can learn about traditions like arranged marriages because half the time most of the songs talk about arranged marriages and religion. Rupa (female.” On the other hand. 25). It is just kind of calm and peaceful and reminds me of India. they still open a few spots to focus on religion and 60 .Texas Tech University. one interviewee had a different take on these radio channels and especially about RJ’s (radio jockey). Aug. Lakshmi N. 2009 subtle way. Although a lack of research work on Indian American radio makes it impossible to corroborate. Asked how different the Indian music is. the above responses suggested that though radio channels play Hindi music for a majority of time. 23). We always turn that program on and listen to the stories and it’s really about values and traditions. Though they spoke Hindi and Gujarathi they still have fake accents when it comes to English. Very few focus group participants mentioned that they listen to religious talk shows and programs about traditional celebrations on radio to learn about customs and values.

however. 21) said the following about these programs: All these television programs are bunch of melodramas and they are bad compared to the American Television programs. they only have access to these channels at home. and other areas of the diaspora through various programs and movies. Most of the interviewees.S. 2009 traditions. Tirumala.Texas Tech University. Sahara. Who wants to be lakhpathi etc. Hritik (male. Aishwarya (female. All interviewees and focus group participants have subscriptions to satellite channels like Zee. Most of the participants stated that they learn few things about culture and traditions through radio. but not in Lubbock. which reminds me of Indian culture. Aug. did not like the soap operas and melodramatic plots of many daily serial programs but they all expressed a positive attitude towards the message these programs are trying to send across. All the participants maintained that their parents were the primary consumers of Indian television channels but they made the respondents watch Indian programs and movies that are culturally rich. Television played a pivotal role in bringing the Indian culture and traditions into the lives of Indians in the U. there are going to be 61 . 22) said the following: My parents watch all the Indian channels and I watch with them whenever I am at home. Star plus and Sony. Gemini. but I guess they are trying to send this message that no one is going to have a perfect life. however. Lakshmi N. Teja. They are some cool programs like Mahabharata. but that it keeps their Indian identity alive and active.

21) characterized cultural maintenance as follows: I guess. the importance of religion and traditions. religion and also language”. I guess television is our way to stay in tune with the Indian culture while we are here. Sharukh (male. I think we can definitely learn about family values. Aug. Half the stuff gets broadcast from India and you get to see parts of India. Most of the participants agreed that television helps in maintaining the cultural identity and stay in tune with the traditions and societal standards. The focus group participants had particularly strong memories of their parents telling them about the culture and traditional values through television programs when they were little. which helps a lot in keeping that part of us alive. a focus group participant observed the following when asked about her impression of Indian television channels “[they] throw a lot of culture and traditions at you and they try to teach us all kids about values and traditions through some of their programs. Gowri (female. 62 . Accordingly. All the participants from the interviews and the focus group expressed that the television channels try to teach Indian American students a lot about family values. 22). entertainment programs are rather popular compared to news programs among participants because a majority of the participants said that they don’t learn about Indian culture through news.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. as they don’t watch news programs very often. Tirumala. 2009 lot of problems and adversaries and you will have to stick together to get through the situation. you can actually learn about family values and to respect your in-laws and older people.

” However.Texas Tech University. he expressed that going to those sites reminds him of India just because of the Indian media. The majority of the focus group participants stated that they don’t learn about Indian culture through the internet because they would rather ask their parents or friends if they did not understand something than going online and reading about it. Hritik (male. most of the participants from interviews and the focus groups noted that they do not go online to check information regarding the Indian culture. email and chat facilities etc. Lakshmi N. the secondgeneration Indian Americans at Texas Tech University who participated in this study did not see the Internet as a potential medium to keep connected to the home culture. that created new opportunities to stay connected to the homeland. 2009 Interestingly. But at the same time they also observed that the Internet does not specifically contribute towards strengthening their Indian identity as 63 . Most of the existing research literature on Asian Americans identifies the Internet as a major contributor in cultural identity because of its link to vast information like online news papers. all the participants from interviews and focus groups noted that they use social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace to stay in touch with other Indian Americans and Indian friends. Interestingly. 21) observed that “Basically the only Indian website I have ever gone on to is movie websites and music sites. Given the importance of electronic media among young adults it was surprising how second-generation Indian Americans did not find the Internet a significant vehicle to maintain and stay connected with their culture. However. Aug. Tirumala.

in the identity formation of Indian American students. traditions and culture through its variety of plots and characters. It was found that among the Indian American students included in this study Texas Tech. they rented Bollywood film DVD’s from local Indian stores. Tirumala. Accordingly. this research study focused on the role played by Bollywood movies. Following is the analysis that looked at research question 3: What role does Bollywood in particular play in the process of identity construction among secondgeneration Indian Americans? The influence of Bollywood movies on cultural identity Among the many different entertainment media. 64 . the world’s second largest film industry. movies play an active role that transmit ideas. Ghahghaei (2007) stated that Hollywood movies play a major role in identity formation among Americans. Lakshmi N. most of which are produced and circulated in India at the same time. such as attending church and celebrating Christmas.Texas Tech University. He observed that importance has been given to religious activities. Participants stated that on average they watch Bollywood movies once or twice a week and mostly with friends and family. 2009 they regularly meet up with most of their Facebook/Myspace friends through various ISA and SASA events and meetings. Aug. and national values and culture in film narratives. All the participants from interviews and the focus group observed that Bollywood movies play a crucial role in cultural identity maintenance.

I think it is important because I have been raised with same values and 65 . They believed that movies with strong traditions and cultural values help the ABCD’s (American Born Confused Desi). to come around. Lakshmi N. Swades. and traditional Indian weddings. Bipasha (female. Tirumala. They further added that most of the times. Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge. 22) said the following: I actually identify with Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum. who veered away from the Indian culture. Aug. 22). and Rang De Basanti (See Appendix A for plot summaries) as their favorite movies and stated that they learned a lot by watching these movies. like acceptance of family. Most of the participants mentioned Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Ghum. Indian movies focused on family values and they try to show that parents are important and they are always right. understand and embrace the culture. Gowri (female. Few participants mentioned that it was irritating to watch movies in theatres with subtitles on because half the time they cannot read the subtitles.Texas Tech University. This is the common view shared among all the participants of interviews and focus groups. because it focuses on what’s really important to Indian people. moral values and traditions. religion and moral values. where it was harder to read the subtitles. According to one interview participant. Indian movies played in mediocre theatres. However. participants associated Indian movies with strong family values. 2009 All participants preferred watching movies on DVDs to a theatre because movies on DVD have subtitles and are easy to read. song and dance sequences. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

2009 morals and I agree with the things they show in movies. all participants maintained that U. 22) said: I identify a lot with these movies. This teaches you that family is very important and you are not supposed to go against their wish. Tirumala. produced Indian American movies do a good job in teaching Indian culture and value system.S. culture and religious things like visiting temples. I look up to these movies and it is heartwarming to know that this is true and this is right. Aug. Sandeep (male. 22). Lakshmi N.Texas Tech University. Most of the participants stated that they could identify with these movies since they 66 . In addition to Bollywood movies. Most of them show values. The majority of the interview participants expressed that Indian movie’s doing a decent job in portraying a true Indian society and culture. Interestingly all the other participants also shared similar views as Sandeep (male. I think they in a way help me keep my culture and traditions alive because all these movies usually has something to do with festivals or religion and they do things that help me remember and maintain it. Deepa (female. I mean I have couple of friends who married to an outsider and not being accepted by the family and you see this all the time in Hindi movies where parents are not accepting of it. 23) said the following: I think they are really good and a doing a great job in portraying Indian culture and traditions. Most of the focus group participants stated that they identify a lot with Indian movies and their narrations. praying etc.

I mean that’s something you don’t talk about with your parents and it’s really weird to watch when your parents are around because they don’t believe in pre marital sex 67 . Participants from interviews and the focus group alike noted that there is not much of a difference in watching movies with parents and friends because they watch for entertainment and fun. but they all show a common theme of how the male protagonist in the movie hates everything about Indians but finally comes around and starts respecting the culture. Kajol (female. Lakshmi N. 22). He always hung out with Americans and did not really make any friends with Indians but then he moved to Austin and was surrounded by Indians and finally transformed into a Desi. Asked why they felt uncomfortable. Aug.Texas Tech University. Now he likes everything about India and gets involved in all the Indian events and cultural programs. 2009 represent Indian Americans and their life styles. a interview participant responded: I was watching this movie “Salaam Namaste” with my parents and then there was this scene in which Saif and Perity are having sex and I was like O’ my gosh they are having sex. I felt weird. Few participants described that these Indian American movies like “ABCD” and “Where is the party yaar” are stereotyped and funny. Tirumala. However. I flipped out and fast forwarded the movie. 21) shared her experience in the following: I have watched American Desi and that’s exactly how my brother was when he was a kid. all participants from interviews and the focus group stated that they feel very uncomfortable if there was a kissing scene or a sex scene in a movie whenever they watch with parents. Amir (male.

Lakshmi N. I mean if I was watching with my kids I would fast forward it because it is weird. Tirumala. the biggest thing I probably learned through movies is festivities and weddings. And then there is religion. 2009 and also do not approve of it. Religion and togetherness are the other things they learn through Bollywood movies. Aug. 24) a focus group participant also observed that “Most of the Hindi movies have to show some form of wedding and I guess that is kind of cool because we miss out on these big family gatherings and weddings and it’s great to watch it in movies. it seems big in almost every movie.Texas Tech University. and rakshabandhan watching it in movies. Sree (male. So I learned a lot about festivities like holi. because my parents are not really big about participating in these events. I got enough religious aspects out of watching it in movies. Puja (female. Rupa (female. Participants noted that they all learned a lot about festivities and weddings as most of the movies have plots and themes that revolve around these cultural elements. observed most of the participants from interviews and focus groups.” All participants expressed that Bollywood helps them keep their traditions and values alive by representing the culture in movies and reinforcing the importance of maintaining and passing it on to the future generations. 25) reported: Culturally. diwali. 22) stated: 68 . It gave me an incentive to involve more in it. It helps me stay connected to the culture and ethnic roots. But you don’t have to feel awkward when you are watching it with your friends.

Most of the participants from interviews said that whenever they watch movies with their parents. 2009 One thing that I have noticed is that Indians have close knit families and all the neighbors always know each other and that’s the kind of values brought in through movies and that is really important for all these Indian Americans. because they get to learn something and will be able to pass it on to their kids. Aug. which help Indian American’s become aware of Indian culture and traditions. and general life style. the majority of the participants observed that the culture and traditions portrayed by Bollywood movies were precise and true to what’s being practiced among the Indian families. drug use. violence and all kinds of crazy stuff that they never showed before. Tirumala. They also show these characters talk in English.Texas Tech University. However. Finally. Deepika (female. They are kind of showing more affection’s in the movies like kissing scenes and love making scenes. one parent would try to explain the reasons behind a particular theme. Lakshmi N. 69 . They also maintained that their parents talk about traditions and values whenever they watch Indian movies. a few participants from interviews argued that the Bollywood movies are becoming more and more Westernized in respect to public affection. sexually-suggestive clothing. 22) observed: Bollywood is really pushing towards the American way.

Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

This interesting comment may imply that the globalization may have led to the Westernization of Bollywood movies that cause the loss of unique culture and traditions. Still, the majority of the participants expressed that Bollywood is one of the better ways to learn about Indian culture and how they are being practiced in the society. This suggested that among different mediums, Bollywood movies in fact had the strongest influence on second-generation Indian Americans in learning and maintaining the Indian culture and traditions.


Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

Chapter VI Conclusion and Limitations
This research study found that family, institutions like temples, religion classes, and student organizations, and friends play a predominant role in the identity construction of second-generation Indian Americans. While examining the media’s role in identity construction, influence of print media and radio seemed very limited due to language barriers and lack of visuals respectively. On the other hand television proved to be very influential as they telecast cultural programs and play Indian movies frequently. Interestingly, among the different mediums, Bollywood movies and entertainment programs that are related to Bollywood took a significant role in informing secondgeneration Indian Americans about Indian traditions and value system. The following table outlines the summary of major findings from the current research study.


Texas Tech University, Lakshmi N. Tirumala, Aug. 2009

Table 3. Summary of research findings Research Questions 1. Factors influencing identity construction of second-generation Indian Americans 2. The role of media, excluding movies, in identity construction of second-generation Indian Americans • • • • • • • Family Institutions Peer Groups and Media Print – influence seems limited due to reported language barrier Radio – influence seems limited due to lack of visuals Television – seems very influential through ethnic programs and Indian movies • 3. Role of Bollywood movies in identity construction Internet – a very limited influence Influential due to • • • • No language barrier (subtitles) Showcasing of family values and religion Portrayal of Indian society and traditions Transmission of Indian culture in an engaging fashion Findings

The results of this study show that the cultural identity of Indian American students is constructed and maintained through various interpersonal and mediated 72

They seem to talk to family members almost every day and most often use ethnic language blended with English while communicating with parents. The results suggested that identity construction and maintenance in second-generation Indian Americans is an ongoing process. Tirumala. One interesting factor to observe here is that Indian Americans get along well with other Asian American students from China. This factor played a crucial role in constructing the identity and also helped to build a strong commitment towards Indian culture. which largely supports the previous research findings of Jung and Lee (2004). They enjoy hanging out with 73 . student associations like South Asian Students Association (SASA) and Indian Students Association (ISA) provide opportunities for them to meet and interact with peers having the same ethnic background. 2009 communicative activities such as family environment. in-group and outgroup interactions and the media. First. second-generation Indian American students’ strong commitment to Indian culture was reflected in their daily activities with family and peer groups. which reflects various social and cultural factors. and Durham (2004) who studied other AsianAmerican populations. institutions. Lee (2000). Student organizations also played a crucial role in maintaining the identity and staying connected to the home culture by giving second-generation Indian Americans a chance to socialize with other Indian Americans and Indians. Apart from family. Lakshmi N. Aug. Students get together often to watch Indian movies. Korea and Nepal.Texas Tech University. visit temples or eat ethnic food. listen to Indian music.

Indian Americans do not read ethnic news papers due to the language barrier. 2009 Chinese Americans or Korean Americans as there is a cultural proximity within the Asian culture (Ksiazek and Webster. This again supported the notion of cultural proximity by Straubhaar (2003). Lee (2004) argued that media played a significant role in constructing and maintaining cultural identities because. In fact most of the Indian American students admitted that they sometimes follow Indian soap operas and love Indian music. All Indian American students stated that they feel comfortable with Indian music and television shows. This suggested that there was a very little cultural loss when Indian American students are able to consume Indian media products. information regarding various ethnic groups is being documented and commented upon by the media today. 74 . Print (newspapers and magazines) did not seem to have a major impact on how Indian American students learned about Indian culture. This appeared to be true in this case of secondgeneration Indian Americans as well. They also showed a great interest in learning Indian classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi. It was learned through this research study that Indian American parents try to create an interest among their children towards classical dance and singing forms by taking them to such cultural events or discussing them when they appear on television. Aug. Lakshmi N. who claimed that people would gravitate toward media from their own culture. however. Most of the Indian American students readily associated these dance forms with Indian culture and stated that they watched these cultural artifacts at least once. With regard to media influence on cultural identities. 2008).Texas Tech University. Tirumala.

Thus.Texas Tech University. of all the variables that were explored and examined in this study. Most of these Indian Americans listen to Hindi music on radio and through the Internet. As said earlier. The Internet was used less frequently than the researcher anticipated for news and other news related information from India. Aug. 2009 very few Indian Americans read books written in English by Indian authors. Lakshmi N. Indian American students are able to listen to Indian music through the Internet. the Internet was the only variable that did not agree with the research literature because most of the Indian American students preferred direct interaction with peer groups compared to technology enhanced communication process. which keep them connected to the Indian society and culture through its characters and scenarios. The Internet extends communication capacity by facilitating interactive communicative channel. which helps to create an ethnic community. 75 . Indian Americans watched cultural shows dealing with ethnic dance forms. Indian Americans did not see the Internet as a potential opportunity to improve ethnic community relations and to maintain Indian identity. Another finding from the interviews and focus groups was that television played a crucial role in bridging the connections between Indian Americans and home culture through various entertainment programs and movies. Indian music has a distinct style and it succeeds in reminding second-generation Indian American students about Indian culture. Though there are no Indian radio stations in this West Texas region. Bollywood movies and other ethnic programs that created an ample opportunity to stay connected with the Indian culture and traditions. Interestingly. which has appeared to bridge the gap. Tirumala.

second-generation Indian Americans were also able to identify with Bollywood movie characters and scenarios that remind them of their identity and give them information to use in their own lives. Of all the media. By consuming Bollywood movies. Aug. however. 2009 Parents made their children watch ethnic programs and mythological serials like Ramayana and Mahabharata that taught morals and value system. television appeared to play an important role in identity construction and maintenance process. Tirumala. Interestingly. festivities. Second-generation Indian Americans seemed to consider Bollywood movies as a vehicle for showcasing Indian culture and traditions. Lakshmi N. Indian American students learned about Indian traditions and customs. a strong sense of religion. As suggested in the literature. the Internet and DVDs played a tremendous role in constructing and maintaining the cultural identity as they provided an easy access to Bollywood movies. which help them in maintaining the Indian identity. Through the movies. Bollywood movies appeared to serve as the most influential communication medium in constructing and maintaining the cultural identity of the second-generation Indian American students. The findings suggested that secondgeneration Indian Americans grew up consuming Bollywood movies and constructed and 76 . Participants watched Indian movies regularly and majority of them kept up with latest Bollywood movies and cinema news. The new communication technologies like satellite televison. and distinctly Indian attitudes and behaviors.Texas Tech University. second-generation Indian Americans identified Indian culture with family togetherness.

This suggested that movies with strong family values and traditions might have a greater affinity with diaspora communities compared to the movies that are influenced by Western scripts. 77 . which are otherwise considered to be clichéd by many Indians.Texas Tech University. Lakshmi N. To sum up. 2009 maintained the cultural identity by learning values and traditions that were reflected in these movies. However. Tirumala. They preferred Bollywood movies that depict family togetherness and other cultural aspects. especially when they are living away from home. This factor explains the popularity of Bollywood even amongst the Indian diaspora communities. religion and peer groups enabled second-generation Indian Americans to construct and maintain their “Indianness. Indian American students did not like the idea of Bollywood movies deviating from Indian culture and becoming more Westernized. Bollywood movies not only act as a bridge between home and diaspora but also transmit cultural and traditions that play a crucial role in constructing and maintaining the identity in second-generation Indian American students. Aug.” Another finding from this research study was that the Bollywood movies appeared to have a major influence on second-generation Indian American students in maintaining the identity. all is not well with the current Bollywood trend. Thus. It is safe to assume that Bollywood movies act as an additional push in identity construction process amongst second-generation Indian American students. Bollywood movies along with other social communicative contexts like family.

Although statements about the influence of media and Bollywood on identity construction were made in this study. Another drawback of this study is that participants were frequent consumers of Bollywood movies and results may have been different if the study has looked at Indian Americans who watch Bollywood movies less frequently. it was very difficult to generalize the results because the research is based on qualitative studies and was conducted only in one university with a relatively few number of participants and for a short length of time. In future research. needs to be conducted at more universities. his Indian identity may in fact have influenced some participants to give socially desirable responses. This study was a good starting point to focus more 78 . First. To produce more consistent results. Aug. with a large number of participants. The study should have administered more than one focus group session to get diverse views and ideas on Bollywood movies and cultural representation. 2009 Despite many important findings. extensive research. Though utmost care was taken to not let researcher’s bias influence the study in any kind. Tirumala. some form of quantification techniques needs to be administered to support the findings and generalize the results. both in-depth interviews and surveys.Texas Tech University. it is important to understand that nothing can be said about the magnitude and statistical significance of this influence. The final drawback of this study was that the volunteers may have participated with predetermined mindsets and shared biased opinions. Lakshmi N. Ethnography of second-generation Indian Americans might shed more light on their daily activities that maintain cultural identity. the research study has its own limitations. However.

However. future research works in this area need to examine how different female audience associate Bollywood texts to the Indian culture and traditions from their male counterparts. Bollywood narratives and their influence in maintaining the identity. In conclusion. Importantly. It is an interesting finding. Finally. 2009 on second-generation Indian American students in areas like gender difference in understanding culture. this study found that most of the second-generation Indian American students who participated take pride in their identity and follow Indian traditions and customs with utmost respect and sincerity.Texas Tech University. which is defined and re-defined by social interactions and media. The findings of this study are in line with cultural studies perspective in terms of defining cultural identity as a product of both interpersonal and mediated interactions. one who tries to avoid their home country identity and assimilate into the host culture. the research study successfully tried to answer all the important questions and provided insight into second-generation Indian American student’s attitudes and their take on Indian culture. Aug. Tirumala. Lakshmi N. 79 . as the Indian media tend to portray Indian Americans in negative contexts and describe some of them as American Born Confused Desi (ABCD). The study also found that second-generation Indian Americans are surprisingly similar to Indians with respect to the knowledge about Indian culture and traditions. especially through Bollywood movies. the cultural identity of the second-generation Indian Americans living in diasporic intercultural contexts is an ongoing process.

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2009 Appendix A Plot Summaries Following are the plot summaries of few films that are mentioned in the study: Khabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) This film revolves around Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) who is the adopted son of Yashvardhan Raichand (Amitabh Bachchan) and his wife Nandini (Jaya Bachchan). Rahul goes to inform Anjali that he wont be able to marry her. Pooja tells Rahul that Rohan is from India and 88 . Rahul chances upon Anjali (Kajol) and falls in love with her. Yashovardhan (Yash) is a popular businessman in India. he finds out Rahul's address. He tells her who he is and asks her help to bring the family back together. who believes in maintaining traditions. Naina (Rani Mukherji). Yash plans to get Rahul married off to his friend's daughter. Aug. this angers Yash and berates Rahul for not taking family traditions into consideration. Tirumala. Rohan also learns that Rahul and Anjali are living in London. However. This results in Yash asking Rahul to leave his home. As soon as Rohan arrives in London.Texas Tech University. has never learned why Rahul left home. After realizing that Anjali and Pooja (Kareena Kapoor). He enrolls at a university where Pooja is a student. however. Rahul tells his father that he is in love with Anjali and wishes to marry her. but only to find that her father has passed away. Lakshmi N. However. Rohan. he finds out from his grandmothers the reasons behind the split. he decided to marry Anjali. Anjali's sister have no place to go.

Aug. Yash apologizes to Rahul and berates him for not coming home sooner. Sukhi is full of fun and frolic. Things end on a happy note.Aslam comes from a Muslim family and refuses to endorse the opinion that Muslims ought not mingle with Hindus. DJ starts hitting on Sue the minute he sees her. The group consists of DJ (Aamir Khan). Rang De Basanti (2006) Sue (Alice Patten) comes to India to make a documentary on some freedom fighters about whom she gets to know from the diary of her late grandfather who was a British officer in India before 1947. Lakshmi N. He smokes heavily and seeks happiness among his friends. Rohan finally convinces Rahul to speak to Yash. He is rich but has a dry. loveless life.Texas Tech University. Tirumala. Sue. A beer guzzler who is never serious about anything in life. aided by Sonia (Soha Ali Khan).After having auditioned many in vain for her movie. Rahul and Angali let Rohan stay at their place. he reveals his identity and convinces Rahul to go back to India. Rahul goes back to India to participate in his paternal grandmother's funeral but never speaks to his father. Aslam (Kunal Kapoor). 2009 he is looking for some place to live. Karan is the silent one. DJ is originally Daljeet Singh from a Punjabi family consisting of a loving mother (excellently portrayed by Kiron Kher). Karan (Siddharth) and Sukhi (Sharman Joshi). He has no girlfriend and rues (quite portentously) that he would die a 89 . meets a group of friends in whom she sees the characters of her documentary. Eventually.

To them values like patriotism. they still cannot accept the virtues of the characters (of the freedom fighters) they play. the love of Sonia (Soha). 2008). Ajay Rathod (Madhavan). DJ. None of the friends is serious enough to be a part of Sue’s documentary. But Sue can see the characters of her movie in them. Sukhi. He is the only one in the group who has dedication to serve the country. Ajay’s mother (Waheeda Rahman) and Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) lead the protest against the Defence Minister to get Ajay the honour he deserved. In Karan she sees Bhagat Singh and in Aslam she sees Ashfak. Sonia. But they choose a very extreme way to do it (Deoshi. Swades: We. DJ and friends decide to bring the truth to light. Also part of the group is Fl. after a few years Mohan becomes nostalgic for his home and takes a 90 . Ajay’s mother goes into coma. In DJ she sees Chandrashekhar Azad. Karan. Aug. Aslam.Even as the five friends agree to be a part of her movie. Tirumala. where he worked as an engineer in NASA. Lakshmi N. Lft. But they are beaten mercilessly by the cops. But then. But. Ajay dies in a MiG crash and is labeled as a rookie pilot by the Defence Minister who is unwilling to accept shortcomings in the MiG aircrafts. the people (2004) Mohan Bhargava (Sharukh Khan) left the small village in India where he was born and raised to go to the United States. sacrificing oneself for the sake of country are just beautiful words they cannot relate to.Texas Tech University. 2009 kunwara.

d. But many in the community have little regard for Mohan's accomplishments in the United States until he steps forward to help his old neighbors by revamping the village's antiquated electrical system and increase the rate of literacy (Deming. n. Tirumala.Texas Tech University. Mohan becomes reacquainted with Gita (Gayatri Joshi). Gita thinks little of Mohan's desire to bring Kaveri back to the United States with him. Lakshmi N. but she also finds herself struck by the charm and intelligence of the adult Mohan. and the two build a relationship.) 91 . Aug. a woman who helped to raise him as a boy. one of his childhood friends who had stayed behind to serve the community as a teacher. While searching for Kaveri. 2009 leave of absence in order to visit Kaveri (Kishori Ballal).

What factors do second-generaton Indian Americans identify as influencing their identity construction? a. Aug. Do you see any difference in Indian Culture from Indian American culture? (If yes. What role does family and friends play in your life with respect to your cultural identity? 2. What role do mass media play in second-generation Indian Americans identity construction? a. Name some activities that influence you in learning about Indian culture? f. What does being Indian/Indian-American/American mean to you? c.Texas Tech University. what are they?) e. Tirumala. Lakshmi N. 2009 Appendix B Discussion Guide Discussion guide for in-depth interviews and focus groups: 1. What are some of the differences you find in Indian magazines/news papers produced in India from that of United States? 92 . What are your general impressions on Indian Culture? d. What media do you use in general? b. How do you culturally identify yourself? b.

How often do you listen to Indian radio stations and what kind of influence do you think they have on you in learning about culture and traditions? d.Texas Tech University. How does your use of Bollywood movies differ from your parents use? d. Would you say that Bollywood movies represent Indian traditions and values? f. What is your opinion on the culture portrayed in Bollywood movies? Do you think they represent the reality? 93 . What cultural aspects do you learn from Bollywood movies? Any specifics that you can think of? g. How often do you watch Indian movies? Who do you watch these movies with? b. How often do you use the Internet to know about India and culture? 3. What is your general impression of Bollywood movies? c. Lakshmi N. Tirumala. What roles does Bollywood in particular play in the process of identity construction among second-generation Indian Americans? a. Do you find yourself identifying with the movie characters and plots? e. 2009 c. What Indian television channels you watch regularly? What cultural aspects have you picked up from those various programs? e. Aug.

00 for your time in participating in the study. 94 . we are interested in your opinions regarding Bollywood movies and its influence in maintaining the Indian culture and traditions. you will be asked to participate in in-depth interview session that would last no more than an hour. You will be compensated $20. Tirumala. In order to do this. Aug. More precisely.Texas Tech University. 2009 Appendix C Interview Consent Form Hi. All responses will be kept confidential and no identifying personal factors will be used in reporting the results of this study. Lakshmi N. Lakshmi N. Tirumala College of Mass Communications Texas Tech University. This study is being conducted for academic purposes and has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Office of Research Services at Texas Tech University. Thanks for your cooperation. I am here to invite you to participate in a research study that I designed to understand the role of Bollywood movies in cultural identity construction.

More precisely.Texas Tech University.00 for your time in participating in the study. In order to do this. This study is being conducted for academic purposes and has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Office of Research Services at Texas Tech University. Tirumala. 2009 Appendix D Focus group Consent Form Hi. All responses will be kept confidential and no identifying personal factors will be used in reporting the results of this study. You will be compensated $10. Tirumala College of Mass Communications Texas Tech University. I am here to invite you to participate in a research study that I designed to understand the role of Bollywood movies in cultural identity construction. Thanks for your cooperation. we are interested in your opinions regarding Bollywood movies and its influence in maintaining the Indian culture and traditions. 95 . Lakshmi N. Lakshmi N. Aug. you will be asked to participate in a focus group session that would last no more than an hour.

Texas Tech University. 2009 Permission to Copy In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree at Texas Tech University or Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Aug.) Student Signature 07-26-09 Date Disagree (Permission is not granted. Tirumala. Permission to copy this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Director of the Library or my major professor. Agree (Permission is granted. Lakshmi N. Tirumala Student Signature 07-26-09 Date 
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