Asserting nationalism in a cosmopolitan world: globalized Indian cultures in Yash Raj Films
Yash Raj Films is one of India’s most successful film production studios with a massive global market. The influence of a powerful Indian diaspora provides film directors from the Bollywood stable of Yash Chopra (Yash Raj Films) with a wealth of international settings. These settings in turn provide a site for an assertive Indian nationalism based upon the adoption of cosmopolitan lifestyles. This paper examines three recent films, Khabi Kushi Khabhie Gham, Khabie Alvida Naa Kehna, and Salaam Namaste!, to see how London, New York, and Melbourne are reconfigured as cities in which Indian e´migre´s make their mark – they are successful in their careers (mostly) and comfortable in their new surroundings. Such films are suggestive of a new ‘global cinema’ in which the geographical confines of national cinema are being stretched. Drawing on a tripartite thematic framework, we explore the visual geographies, the heightened consumption patterns, and the sense of global cosmopolitanism presented in these films. And while the underlying sentiment is that one always sees ‘home’ (i.e., India) as an idealized paradise, the new cosmopolitanism adopted by Indian e´migre´s in these films serves to highlight the ease with which Indian nationals can find success in global environments.