A Bombay Room with a View

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A Bombay Room With A View A Look at Gender in Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham

It opens with a dialogue from Amitabh and Jeya Bachchan – “Why is it that a father is never able to tell his son how much he loves him? / But the mother? She keeps repeating it, whether her son listens to it or not.”

This is the first words we hear from the movie Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham (KKKG), a Bollywood blockbuster marketed to the masses as “all about the family”. Released in 2001, following the path of director Karan Johar’s first movie, KKKG tells a multi-faceted story that is depicted over a long time period. The film centers around a family-driven drama where we track the storyline across 3 different generations. Amitabh Bachchan plays a wealthy businessman and the patriarch of the Raichand family with 2 sons – the elder Rahul, who is revealed early on to be adopted, and the younger Rohan. The crux of the film’s drama is drawn from the eldest son’s marriage to a woman from a lower socio-economic background, against the wishes of his father. Following the marriage, the father disowns Rahul and he leaves with his bride to London. The latter half of the movie is centered on Rohan’s storyline with his love interest, Pooja, and his attempts to bring Rahul and his family back into the family home in India.

On the surface it seems we have entered yet another Bollywood film on family drama but KKKG goes beyond that. From the first few lines we can already witness the beginnings of a gender discourse – why is one gender like this and the other so different? In this review, I will elaborate on how the film establishes itself away from its predecessors and peers by creating diversified gendered identities for its female characters – specifically on the issue of gender roles in families and gender roles in the Diaspora.
Gender Roles in Families
The construction of female characters…...

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