Negotiating identity in the era of globalisation
: Bollywood’s contribution to young Indian female diasporic identities in London

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research explores how Bollywood film plays a role in how women negotiate their diasporic identities in London. Interaction processes are examined whereby diasporic individuals assert, modify, challenge, or support societal and cultural values/attitudes using Bollywood movies released between 2000-2019. To do this, a critical analysis is first undertaken of representations of women and ‘liberal’ values in film, along with an exploration into how these have developed over time by completing a comparative textual analysis of six contemporary films in-depth. Following this, an investigation into how young Indian diasporic Punjabi and Gujarati women aged 18-30 and living in London manage and negotiate their identities is undertaken, producing new knowledge about these women regarding values, behaviour, and real-life experiences in a globalising world. In doing so, the work offers an in-depth understanding of the relationship between Bollywood texts and audiences whilst considering the multi-layered cultural experiences obtained directly from audiences, therefore extending the interpretations of mediated values and ideologies beyond an analysis of film. Overall, this thesis illustrates the enduringly central role played by Bollywood cinema within the diaspora, demonstrating that some audiences relate to and appreciate its more contemporary representations of women. However, others do not and seek more responsibility from on-screen from film makers in portrayals of women and patriarchy as well as the ways in which stars portray themselves in the media, especially social media. This indicates that identity negotiation in relation to Bollywood is limited not just to film itself, but also incorporates star persona, background, and personal activities.
Date of Award2 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorDeborah Jermyn (Director of Studies) & William Brown (Co-Supervisor)


  • Bollywood
  • liberal values
  • diaspora
  • audiences
  • India
  • representations of women
  • globalisation
  • stardom

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