Publication Details

Hassam, A. (2012). "It was filmed in my home town": Diasporic audiences and foreign locations in Indian popular cinema. In A. Gera. Roy & C. Beng.. Huat (Eds.), Travels of Bollywood Cinema: From Bombay to LA (pp. 260-278). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Additional Publication Information

This chapter examines the implications of the rise of Bhojpuri cultural production for our understanding of globalization and urbanisms, of transnational and translocal flows, processes, and practices that link cultural formations and population migrations. It proposes that the spread of Bhojpuri cinema can be better understood not in terms of the emergence of a Bhojpuri community or even a Bhojpuri audience, but in terms of the individual and quite discrete forms of significance that Bhojpuri cinema and cultural products have for groups living in different transnational spaces. Analysing relationships between different strands of the diaspora and migrants within and outside India, the chapter generates an understanding of diverse forms of ‘local in the global’ as a significant outcome of transnational urbanism.


The defining feature of Hindi cinema for commentators in the West is the 'interruption' of the narrative, as Gopalan (2002) terms it, by the visualization of songs through dance. Headlines such as 'India's New Cinema has a Global Script' (Pfanner 2006) have, for the past decade, been proclaiming the birth of a globalized Bollywood, but the Bollywood that is 'globalizing' the UK and North America is the Bollywood culture industry of transcultural bhangra, dance fitness classes, and the celebrity world of Aishwarya Rai rather than Hindi cinema, notwithstanding the Oscar nomination of Lagaan (2001) for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. For the groups of youngsters and young families who comprise the cinema audiences of the UK and North America avoid subtitled (,foreign language') movies, and outside of art film or Indian film festivals, Indian cinema is epitomized by its dance sequences.