Bollywood movies and cultural identity construction among second generation Indian Americans



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Indian cinema has been one of the most dominant and distinguishing features of the subcontinent’s culture for the past sixty years. And, as Indians continue to seek out jobs and educational opportunities worldwide, they are bringing these cultural artifacts with them. Previous research suggests that Indian Diaspora may use these types of media products as a form of cultural maintenance. This thesis explores the role of Bollywood movies in constructing and maintaining the cultural identity among second-generation Indian Americans. In particular, this study seeks to demonstrate how Bollywood film

viewing practices of the second-generation Indian Americans intersect to create a notion of “Indianness.†Discussions generated across in-depth interviews (N = 8) and focus

groups (N = 8) about the process of participants cultural identity construction and maintenance showed that the cultural identity of second-generation Indian Americans depended on various interpersonal and mediated communication activities. Interestingly, the study found that though social factors such as family and peer groups have played a dominant role in constructing the Indian identity, Bollywood movies appeared to have a significant influence on second-generation Indian Americans in maintaining those identities. Bollywood movies not only act as a bridge between home and diaspora, but they help transmit the culture and traditions that play a crucial role in maintaining the “Indianness,†among second-generation Indian Americans.