“Bhagat Singh Topless, Waving In Jeans”: Melancholia Through Mimesis In Rang De Basanti

Kshama Kumar


How is history mapped on the topography of twenty first century India? It seems apt to study the idea through modern India’s largest popular culture industry: Bollywood. This paper will examine the interaction between history and modern India in Rang de Basanti/Paint it Yellow (2006). The film employs history to understand the present. This paper, therefore, seeks to understand the different processes by which the film accomplishes this goal.It will involve a detailed study of the melancholia within the film which allows history and the present to co-exist. Temporal and spatial fluidity is afforded in the film through the mimetic process of the meta-drama, which will also then be studied to better understand the melancholic condition. The melancholic and the mimetic in the film, allow for an examination of the socio-political condition that the film seeks to represent. The film, this paper will argue also employs a critique of modern day governance. The paper will thus come full circle and examine modern day politics as a system of political history in action: pre colonial politics in a postcolonial world.


rang de basanti, necropolitcs, mimesis, melancholia

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