Reviewing the film’s mediascapes as an index of India’s middle-class subjectivity through the prism of neoliberal consumer culture, this paper illustrates how it merchandized desire as a global utility.
Arup K. Chatterjee, Professor of English, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Twenty-six years ago, Aditya Chopra’s film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) biblicized the neoliberal romantic fantasies of India and the global Indian diaspora with an adventurous romantic plot, against the backdrop of diasporic and ethnic settings, global brand placements and émigré Indians embodying traditional values. Reviewing the film’s mediascapes as an index of India’s middle-class subjectivity through the prism of neoliberal consumer culture, this paper illustrates how it merchandized desire as a global utility.
It anchored a consumerist patriarchy as a motif of gender empowerment and the patriarchal and corporate logic of representing individual liberty. My assessment correlates to the history of India’s economic liberalization, suggesting that the film’s material unconscious allegorizes the deficit between approved and realized indexes of capital inflows by the end of the ‘90s.
While DDLJ promulgated the promise of a virtual repatriation of expatriate Indians, its promise of gender equality and modern citizenship dwelled in collaboration with dominant social structures and consumerist ideologies that would, ultimately, personify emancipation as consuming subjects of global capital.
Published in: History of Retailing and Consumption
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