Jaisa Desh, Waisa Vesh? Explorations on the representations of Adivasis in popular Hindi cinema | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2 Number 2
  • ISSN: 1756-4921
  • E-ISSN: 1756-493X


This article seeks to discuss specific examples of Adivasi representation in Indian cinema, particularly popular Hindi cinema (as opposed to ‘art’ or ‘parallel’ cinema), and the ways in which it has distilled and codified the representations of ‘other’ groups for a mass audience. Mainstream Hindi cinema, even in its postcolonial phase, has not provided images of Adivasis that reflect their reality. This ‘constructed reality’ of the cinema in which Adivasis exist remains the widespread (mis)understanding of their cultures. It is this cinematic marginalization and cultural stereotyping that will be explored further. This article is a preliminary exploration and will look at particular examples of representation in Hindi films, including Naagin [Female Cobra] (Nandlal Jaswantlal, 1954), Madhumati (Bimal Roy, 1958), Yeh Gulistan Hamara [This Flower Garden of Ours] (Atma Ram, 1972), Lal Salaam [Red Salute] (Gaganvihari Boratte, 2002) and Chak De! [Come On! India] (Shimit Amin, 2007). The aim is for this exploration to provide a foundation for further research into Adivasi representation and the wider discourses of power, politics and inequality in Indian society.


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