Researching Themes on Assimilation and Return through Portrayal of Indian Diaspora in Indian Cinema

Researching Themes on Assimilation and Return through Portrayal of Indian Diaspora in Indian Cinema

Dr. Anjali Sahay, Associate Professor, Department of Political, Legal, and International Studies, Program Director International Studies, Director Model UN, Gannon University, Erie, PA

26 December 2014, CSSS II, JNU, New Delhi



Two phases are considered most important in a migrant’s life: a movement to a new country and a return back to their home country if they choose to do so.  Both movements beset with choices and adjustments.  While both are choices related to mostly economic and political reasons, adjustments usually related to social and economic ones.  Return; Assimilation; and Re-Assimilation are themes that are very important themes in the study of migration and diaspora.  Within this context this paper is an attempt to tie in these themes as portrayed in mainstream Indian cinema to realities associated with this in a migrant’s life.  The medium of cinema is an important one as no other country in the world churns out as many celluloid productions as the combined movie industries in India.  Popularly dubbed as Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, and other Hollywood inspired named it is fairly intriguing to explore its portrayal of its diaspora on the big screen. 

This paper will explore various themes related to Indian Diaspora in the social, economic, and political spheres.  Socially, the themes that have been played out are related to 2nd and 3rd generation assimilation problems and cultural adaptation of two cultures and the ensuing confusions.  Economically, some of the themes that have been touched upon are return migration and re-assimilation into home country and society.  Within the Return context, sub-themes such as reasons for return; development of the home country; and job opportunities are discussed within the economic realm.  Politically, there is a serious paucity of research within cinema in bringing out political debates on immigration or difficulties in the visa process. 

Time and Place:

Date:   Friday, Dec 26, 2014
Venue:   JNU, New Delhi
Address:   JNU, New Delhi
City/Twon:   New Delhi
© 2012-20 GRFDT, All Rights Reserved.Maintained by GRFDT.Designed by Abhinav Jain