Publication in: Fall 2023 Issue

Homosocial Bonding and Queer Theory in Bollywood Shakespeare Adaptations
Drew Scott
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Faculty Mentor(s):
Renuka Gusain
Abstract / Summary:
Shakespeare's plays and their adaptations are imbued with homoerotic themes and subtext, for those who care to look deeper into them. Othello is rich in discussions of homosocial bonds, and places higher importance on male-male relationships than male-female relationships. A Bollywood adaptation of the play, Omkara (2006), continues to press the importance of male-male bonds, though physical affection between men is played up and verbal affection is almost entirely excluded. Romeo and Juliet, too, has a heightened ideal of homosocial relationships, wherein Romeo is even seen as weak or feminine for idealizing Juliet. In the Bollywood adaptation Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), many of the homoerotic elements are removed in favor of portraying the Romeo-analogue, Ram, as the ultimate ideal of cool, heterosexual masculinity. Through comparative analysis of these themes across cultures, new dimensions of Shakespeare's original work are explored and elucidated.
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