ISSN: 17564921
Online ISSN: 1756493X
First published in 2009
2 issues per volume
Current Issue:
Volume 9 / Issue 1 Free Issue
Volume: 6 | Issue: 1    Submit article   

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Hindutva politics and South Asian cinema–media in the age of Modi

Since the start of Narendra Modi’s term as India’s prime minister, one has witnessed a resurgence of the Hindu far right and Hindutva politics in India, as well as corresponding movements in Hindi cinema and media. From PK (2014) to the much anticipated, and delayed, Padma(a)vat(i) (2018), Bollywood and other forms of contemporary South Asian media have responded to the proliferation of right-wing Hindu ideologies in myriad, oftentimes contentious and frequently innovative, ways. While the impact of such right-wing parties on Bollywood can be traced back to the release of Mani Ratnam’s Bombay (1995), this special issue seeks to examine the contemporary manifestations – and fraught interrelationships – of Hindutva politics and Hindi cinema and media during the time of Modi (2014 – present). We are particularly interested in examining the range of approaches taken towards Hindutva politics, whether it be the use of comedy or farce, as in PK, the melodramatic sentimentality of Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), or the latest historical epics of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Related to this theme is the subsequent rise of attacks, in person and via social media, upon directors and actors associated with such films, most notably, Bhansali and Deepika Padukone.

Hindutva cultural politics, however, are not limited to the theatre screen or to contests over star personalities alone. Rather, we can see their manifestation in the blurring of boundaries between self and screen, self-representation and self-broadcast over social media. The most egregious elements of this are the ways in which perpetrators and bystanders record acts of violence in full daylight and broadcast them over social media. Its other, more everyday forms, are Hindutva trolls and leaders holding forth on WhatsApp and other platforms, challenging the notion of news itself.

This special issue of Studies in South Asian Film & Media (SAFM) seeks papers addressing the representations of and reactions to Hindutva politics and ideologies in Hindi cinema and media during Modi’s tenure. Along with papers looking at the contemporary controversies surrounding Padma(a)vat(i), we welcome articles on the following topics:
• Genres, including comedy, horror and the historical, that are being redefined to address Hindutva politics in India
• Contemporary representations of Indo-Pakistan relations
• The ‘fascist’ aesthetic of recent films, including Bajirao Mastani and Padma(a)vat(i), with regard to their cinematic excesses and glorifications of previous Hindu empires
• Hindutva politics in mainstream Indian television
• Hindutva trolls on social media
• Hindutva movements, boycotts and attacks against Hindi films, filmmakers and stars, including, e.g., Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Along with full-length essays exploring such topics, we are also interested in shorter, less formal pieces, including:
• Documentations of counter-movements working against the rise of Hindutva policies
• Interviews with Hindi filmmakers, television personalities and stars affected by Hindutva politics in recent years
• Working notes by social media activists mobilizing against the contemporary rise of the Hindu far right in everyday life

If you are interested in submitting to this special issue of SAFM (10.1), due to appear in early 2019, please send a 300–500 word abstract to Ajay Gehlawat ( by 15 March 2018. Please also include a brief bio with your abstract. Final drafts of accepted proposals will be due by 15 July 2018. Please see SAFM’s guidelines for further details regarding submitting and formatting, and feel free to email beforehand with any inquiries.



General Issues:

Studies in South Asian Film and Media (SAFM) is the most promising peer-reviewed new journal in the field. It is committed to looking at the media and cinemas of the Indian subcontinent in their social, political, economic, historical, and increasingly globalized and diasporic contexts. The journal will evaluate these topics in relation to class, caste, gender, race, sexuality, and ideology. The last few decades have witnessed South Asian cinema and media emerging as significant areas of academic inquiry. The journal is dedicated to building a space for a critical and interdisciplinary engagement with issues, themes and realities of cinema and media theory. The scope of the journal will incorporate the concerns of scholars, students, activists and media practitioners.

In this era of global communication, when the all-pervasive presence of media is no more in question, an intense debate concerning its political, ideological, and cultural impact has led to a highly complex and rapidly evolving field of inquiry. 
We invite contributions from scholars, researchers and practitioners of South Asian film and media. Possible areas include but are not limited to:
  • Film and Media as social history.
  • Feminist analysis and theory in film/media studies and practice
  • Class, caste, and sexuality: The politics of subalterneity and marginalization in film/media studies.
  • Contemporary media/ documentary and the public sphere. Interviews with documentary film makers.
  • Global media consumer culture and labor in the cultural industries.
  • News, citizenship, democracy, and the neo-liberal restructuring of media industry.
  • Nationalism and Regional cinema in the context of neo-liberalism.
  • Globalization/Diaspora/ South Asian representation.
  • Cinema and the other arts. 
  • Contemporary arts practices, cinema, and visual culture.
Articles should be between 6,000 – 8,000 words in length. Please note that articles should be original and not be under consideration by any other publication. For detailed submission instructions please click here
SAFM also, welcomes shorter pieces that are either creative or analytical (between 1,000 – 4,000 words) as well as visual material. All initial enquires should be sent to the editors at
All articles submitted should be original work and must not be under consideration by other publications.
All copyrights are to be cleared by the authors. Guidelines to the Intellect house-style are available at


Notes for Book Reviewers:
SAFM regularly publishes critically engaged book reviews that further the dialogue on South Asian cinema and media culture.  We are especially interested in clearly written, comparative analyses that can locate single or multiple contemporary works in the broader historical context of South Asian media studies.  Innovative juxtapositions of scholarship and artistic practice; books and popular media artifacts; interviews and book reviews are especially welcome.  We will carry reviews of single author manuscripts as well as edited anthologies.

Book reviews should not generally be longer than 1500 words.  Please contact the book review editor in advance for projects that might exceed this limit.  Please include a short bio note to accompany your book review.   The title of your review should include all information on the book including publisher, place of publication, page numbers.  See as follows:

Untimely Bollywood: Globalization and India’s New Media Assemblage, Amit S. Rai, (Durham: Duke UP, 2009). pp281
Reviewed by Shreerekha Subramanian

Please use Times New Roman 12 point font and double space your review.  We prefer that reviews do not have endnotes or footnotes.  For further details on citations and formatting please see the submission guidelines on our webpage.


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