Another Look At Orientalism: (An)Othering in Slumdog Millionaire

Anjana Mudambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article uses Lauren Berlant's conception of the intimate public, as constructed through commodification and fantasy, to argue that Edward Said's (1979) well-known notion of Orientalism has undergone a transformation in contemporary global representations. This version of Orientalism effectively erases the historical and economic factors of colonialism that created the "other" in favor of a construction of "(an)other," a global sentimental community of sameness and difference. It explores this move through the analysis of the popular and critically acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire, which paradoxically presents the desolation and reality of the Mumbai slums in India within stories of romance and triumph. Outlining the various intimate publics created through the film, this article contends that this process of "(an)othering" ultimately makes the experience of watching the "other" more comfortable by commodifying the Oriental subject, reconciling the temporary experience of the film's foreignness with audience expectations and perceptive frameworks, and maintaining the Oriental subject as intelligible to Western subjectivity. By absolving the audience from any responsibility for the colonial legacies that created the contemporary realities, colonial legacies are elided by a more universal fantasy of achieving wealth and romance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-292
Number of pages18
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bollywood
  • intimate public
  • Orientalism
  • othering
  • Slumdog Millionaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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