Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Mahuya Pal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rachel Dubrofsky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Aisha Durham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darcie Fontaine, Ph.D.


emasculation, Hindu Modernity, hypersexualization, Indian Christianity, secularism


This dissertation uses discursive formation as the methodological approach to examine representations of Indian Christians in eleven Bollywood movies released during the 2004-2014 decade. The decade witnessed the exit and eventual re-entry of the Hindu Right, and the citizenry during that period experienced centrist, liberal, and secular governance. Since the present of Indian Christianity is inextricable from a colonial past, and Bollywood emerges in response to colonialism, a postcolonial intervention in methodology and theory is undertaken. A postcolonial perspective illuminates the discourses that enable the formation of the postcolonial nation, i.e., the ways a nation imagines its culture, people, traditions, boundaries, and Others. There is a suggested relationship between the representations of Indian Christians in Bollywood movies and the decade of secular governance because the analysis is approached from the position that culture and media produce and re-produce each other. The representations of Christians in Bollywood movies are a product of contemporary and historical cultural, legal, political, and social discourses. This dissertation demonstrates that representations of Christians as hypersexual women and emasculated men within an emergent Hindu modernity discursively constructs India as a Hindu nation, and Christians as the westernized Other. The theoretical contributions pertain to belonging in the nation through homonationalism and hypersexualization; the relationship between democratic representations and media; the postcolonial ambivalent identity of the Bollywood industry because of way it represents Indian Christians in response to colonialism; and the Indian Christian community’s postcolonial identity as a way to make sense of their contemporary and historical identity.