India Uncovered - Representations in Film and Fiction (EAS3177)

StaffDr Florian Stadtler - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will introduce you to representations of India in fiction and film through diverse themes, from images of British colonialism, to narratives of Partition and the newly independent India, portraits of cityscapes of Bombay/Mumbai and Calcutta/Kolkata, to imaginings of India’s diasporic communities. Through seminar discussions, presentations and workshops you will engage critically and creatively with Indian popular culture, film and literature and how these productions explore questions of class, diasporic, gender, national, racial, religious and sexual identities. You will explore these themes through a variety of genres, including novels, short stories, Indian art house, popular, diasporic cinemas and Bollywood. You will read these texts using a wide range of analytical tools and theoretical lenses, such as colonial and postcolonial discourse analysis, film theory, and transcultural theory. Teaching is by two-hour weekly seminar, which will focus on an in-depth discussion of the literary and filmic texts, and one-hour workshops, which will offer you the opportunity to explore the wider critical, historical and theoretical contexts of the primary texts. There will also be a weekly film screening.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate an informed appreciation of specific films and literary texts of the Indian subcontinent of the 20th and 21st centuries;
  • 2. demonstrate an ability to relate Indian film and fiction to different textual forms and media and to the socio-political context out of which they arose;
  • 3. articulate and evaluate the significance of fictional and filmic texts through different theoretical perspectives (Postcolonialism, Transnationalism, Modernism, Postmodernism);
  • 4. identify how filmmakers and writers respond to as well as question India’s modernity and its historical and literary legacy in the context of post-independence ideologies;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate an advanced ability to analyse literature and film and to relate their concerns and modes of representation to different social, political, economic and historical contexts;
  • 6. demonstrate advanced skills in the close formal, thematic, generic, comparative and authorial analysis of different kinds of film and fiction;
  • 7. demonstrate advanced skills in the research and evaluation of relevant critical, historical and theoretical materials for the study of film and literature;
  • 8. demonstrate an advanced ability to interrelate texts and discourses in relation to familiar and new conceptual frameworks, and an ability to link and synthesise different modes of analyses of relevant theoretical ideas;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. through seminar work and presentations, demonstrate advanced oral communication skills, and an ability to work both individually and as a team;
  • 10. through essay-writing, demonstrate appropriate research and bibliographical skills, a capacity to construct a coherent, substantial argument, a capacity to write clear and correct prose and develop planning, organisational and problem solving skills;
  • 11. through research for seminars, presentations and essays, demonstrate advanced proficiency in identifying appropriate primary and secondary materials, information analysis and work on your own initiative.

Syllabus plan

The syllabus covers the following themes:


Images of the Raj


Partition and its legacies


Mythic Nations, National Myths


Cultures of ‘New India’

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities22seminars
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities11workshops
Scheduled Learning & Teaching Activities33film screenings
Guided Independent Study103Seminar preparation (individual)
Guided Independent Study131Reading, research and essay preparation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Sequence analysis/close reading analysis3020001-8, 10-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Individual Orla Presentation2010-15 minutes1-9, 11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up
Essay5030001-8, 10-11Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutorial follow-up

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Sequence analysis/close reading analysisSequence analysis/close reading analysis1-8, 10-11Referral/deferral period
Individual Oral Presentation1000 word write-up equivalent to Individual Oral Presentation1-9, 11Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-8, 10-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative Core Reading


Anand, Mulk Raj, Untouchable (London: Penguin Classics, 2014)

Desai, Anita, In Custody (London: Vintage, 2001)

Forster, E.M., A Passage to India (London: Penguin Classics, 2005)

Lahiri, Jhumpa, The Interpreter of Maladies (London: Flamingo, 2000)

Rushdie, Salman, Midnight’s Children (London: Vintage, 2006)

Sidhwa, Bapsi, Ice-Candy Man (London: Daunt Books, 2016)


Indicative Core Viewing


1947 – Earth (Deepa Mehta, dir. 1998)

Bhaji on the Beach (Gurinder Chadha, dir. 1993)

English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, dir. 2012)

I for India (Sandhya Suri, dir. 2007)

Lagaan (Ashutosh Gowariker, dir. 2001)

Swades (Ashutosh Gowariker, dir. 2004)

Mahanagar (Satyajit Ray, dir. 1963)

Pakeezah (Kamal Amrohi, dir. 1971)

Shree 420 (Raj Kapoor)


(N.B.: All non-English language films will be screened with subtitles)


Further Secondary Reading


Chakravarty, Sumita S., National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema, 1947-1987 (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1993)

Desai, Jigna, Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film (New York: Routledge, 2004)

Gopal, Priyamvada, The Indian English Novel: Nation, History, and Narration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

Khilnani, Sunil, The Idea of India (London: Penguin, 2012)

Mishra, Vijay, Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire (New York, Routledge, 2002)

Nasta, Susheila, Home Truths: Fictions of the South Asian Diaspora (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001)

Rushdie, Salman, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991 2nd ed. (London: Vintage, 2010)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE site will include seminar and workshop schedules, week-by-week supplementary reading in PDF format, recommended further reading, and internet resources. Additional slides and handouts will be uploaded weekly.

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Reading for week 1: E.M. Forster, A Passage to India (London: Penguin Classics, 2005)

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Film, Literature, India, Bollywood, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Novel, Imperialism, Diaspora