Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Subaltern Corpses: Gender and Death in Bollywood studies the representations of dead girls/women through selected Hindi crime films. The project examines femicide across class, caste, religious, and ethnic lines through a postcolonial framework to show that gendered death reveals two things. Firstly, the films show the displacement of the dead girl/woman by the burgeoning, and often conflicting narratives by extra-judicial apparatuses such as media and public gossip, which instead of focusing on the dead girl/woman, twice marginalizes the dead subject. Secondly, a necromale emerges out of these visual texts. He is a murderous-suicidal male criminal rising from his marginalized position towards illusionary sovereignty by imitating the necropolitical ideology. This necromale, like the dead girls/woman, is killable by legitimate state actors. However, he signals a terrifying coalition of a necro state and necro male instincts in postcolonial India. The dissertation concludes by analyzing the aestheticization of dead female bodies in Hindi films and the ideological foundations of Bollywood that define popular Indian crime fiction today. The films under analysis include crime thrillers No One Killed Jessica (2011) and Talvar (2015), Article 15 (2019), Murder 2 (2011), Ek Villain (2014), and Raman Raghav 2.0 (2015). The major scholarships that support this dissertation include Ather Zia's "Killable Kashmiri Body," Achille Mbembe's "Necropolitics," and Madhava Prasad's Ideology of the Hindi Film: A Historical Construction.



Committee Chair

Rastogi, Pallavi



Available for download on Friday, May 03, 2030