Constructing the Theatre Actress*

Nandi Bhatia

in Performing Women/Performing Womanhood

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780198066934
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080076 | DOI:
Constructing the Theatre Actress*

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This chapter explores the links between the construction of the theatre actress in socio-political discourse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and her representation in literature and cinema. The first part analyses Premchand's short story ‘The Actress’ to show how this ‘progressive’ writer formulated and imagined the story of the theatre actress, whose real life story involved complicated transactions with prevailing social ideologies and expectations. The second part returns to the ‘actress question’ by means of her representation in Hindi cinema in the post-Independence era. It looks at two films that deal with the nautanki dancer-actress: Basu Bhattacharya's Teesri Kasam (The Third Vow, 1966) and Chandan Arora's Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (I Want to Become Madhuri Dixit, 2003).

Keywords: theatre actress; imagined communities; Premchand; Hindi cinema; nautanki dancer-actress; Basu Bhattacharya; Teesri Kasam; Chandan Arora; Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon

Chapter.  14602 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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