Rituparno Ghosh’s Legacy, Media Censorship, Queer Indian Cinema and More With Dr. Shohini Ghosh

Dec 5, 2022


In this episode, essayist and documentary filmmaker Dr. Shohini Ghosh discusses the changing notions of media censorship, Indian movie stars embracing queerness, and how Rituparno Ghosh shaped queer cinema in India.

A link to Shohini’s documentary film — Tales of the Night Fairies

‘In Perspective’ is The Swaddle’s podcast series where academics reveal little-known facts about Indian history, society and culture. 


00:01:13:06- Media censorship is often informed by this notion that the media that people consume has a direct and harmful impact on their behaviour. Where does this notion come from? And what are the problems with conceiving media impact and harm in this way?

00:05:36:09- What impact has Bollywood had on sexual harassment, stalking and people’s behaviours in romantic relationships? How do we look at this vis-a-vis the argument that media impact on human behavior is exaggerated? 

00:10:12:03- What public debates around censoring songs and advertisements do we see  in the late 20th century in India?

00:13:48:08- Have social media and OTT platforms changed state conceptions of obscenity or have they pushed boundaries in any way?

00:21:27:02- What does the 2009 ban on the Savita Bhabhi website and the debate between the detractors and the supporters tell us about our attitude towards pornography and sex and sexuality in India?

00:26:16:23- Why did the movie ‘Fire’ lead to so much controversy and moral panic in the late 1990s? How did it change the public discourse around women loving women in India? 

00:34:44:14- In what ways do we see the emergence of a new queer cinema in 20th century India? How does it displace conventional cinematic codes of masculinity and femininity?

00:43:14:04- How did Rituparno Ghosh’s films and star persona make queer issues central to public debates in Bengal?


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