Jigna Desai Exposing many discrepancies, Deepa Mehtaâs ï¬lm Fire provoked conï¬ict in India in 1998 as Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena members not only attacked and closed theaters but also repeatedly condemned and attempted to communalize the ï¬lm for its âdeviancy.â These events surrounding the ï¬lm are part of the postcolonial nation-stateâs complex histories and power relations. I suggest that Fire illuminates how contemporary postcolonial and transnational cultural discourses articulate racialized, classed, sexualized, religious, and gendered forms of social regulation and normalization. This essay interrogates the various transnational, diasporic, and national discourses surrounding Deepa Mehtaâs Fire, with speciï¬c attention to how normativities and identities are mobilized with the circulation of the ï¬lm. I begin with its Western reception and trace through the Shiv Sena attacks, Deepa Mehtaâs defenses, and ï¬nally, lesbian and diasporic responses. The conclusion locates Fire within diasporic ï¬lm production and also addresses how these responses and the distribution of the ï¬lm raise questions regarding the context and the reception of such âdiasporicâ ï¬lms within globalization. Overall, I argue that the resultant discourses of normativity, like the ï¬lm itself, expose negotiations not only between the subject and the nation-state but also between the politics and economics of
Social Text – Duke University Press
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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