The Neoliberal Self in Bollywood (Book)

Cinema, Popular Culture, and Identity

This book focuses on the neoliberal self, which, far from being a stable marker of urban, liberal, millennial Indian identity, has a schizophrenic quality, replete with contradictions and oppositions, that belies the narrative of progress and prosperity that has marked mainstream cultural discourse in India. 15 b&w illus.


This book explores the consequences of unbridled expansion of neoliberal values within India through the lens of popular film and culture. The focus of the book is the neoliberal self, which, far from being a stable marker of urban, liberal, millennial Indian identity, has a schizophrenic quality, one that is replete with contradictions and oppositions, unable to sustain the weight of its own need for self-promotion, optimism, and belief in a narrative of progress and prosperity that has marked mainstream cultural discourse in India. The unstable and schizophrenic neoliberal identity that is the concern of this book, however, belies this narrative and lays bare the sense of precarity and inherent inequality that neoliberal regimes confer upon their subjects.

The analysis is explicitly political and draws upon theories of feminist media studies, popular culture analyses, and film studies to critique mainstream Hindi cinema texts produced in the last two decades. Rele Sathe also examine a variety of other peripheral ‘texts’ in her analysis such as the film star, the urban space, web series, YouTube videos, and social media content.

Namrata Rele Sathe has a PhD in Media Studies and currently teaches courses in English Literature and Cultural Studies at Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, Pune and Savitribai Phule Pune University, India. She is the Assistant Editor of Studies in South Asian Film and Media. Her research interests include feminist media studies, literary studies, gender and sexuality studies, and popular culture.

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