LESSON IN PATRIOTISM BY ASHUTOSH GOWARIKER — THE ROLE OF INDIAN CINEMA IN CONSTRUCTING NATIONAL IDENTITY
The paper is devoted to the nationalistic character of Indian film narratives given by Ashutosh Gowariker in his three movies: Lagaan, Swades and Jodhaa Akbar. Taking the cultural understanding of nationalism derived from the theories of Benedict Anderson, Eric Hobsbawn and Anthony Smith as a starting point, the author attempts to show how the director tries to build his narrations about India as an ‘imagined community.’ Since both cinema and the idea of ‘nation’ appeared in the subcontinent at approximately the same time, it is exceedingly essential to recognize the vital implications of their coexistence. Ashutosh Gowariker’s movies are one of the most interesting samples of Indian cinema’s endeavour to promote the idea of united India where people with different religious, ethnic and social backgrounds can live in peace and harmony. The nationalistic rhetoric manifests itself in the portrayal of the community’s solidarity against colonial exploitation, in the representation of both ideal Indian women and emigrant patriot, and finally in apotheosis of the great Muslim ruler whose tolerance serves as a role model for contemporary India and its struggle in facing the growth of religious fundamentalism.