chapter  7
13 Pages

Rushdie’s Hero as Audience: Interpreting India through Indian Popular Cinema: Florian Stadtler


In his essay ‘In Good Faith’ in defence of The Satanic Verses (1988) Rushdie states: “the liveliness of literature lies in its exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to our delight and great surprise, we may fi nd our own image refl ected. A book is a version of the world” (Rushdie 1992, 412). Ever since Rushdie had his literary breakthrough with the Booker Prize-winning Midnight’s Children (1981) and after the controversies around the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988-89, his position on the international literary scene, the global reception of his books and that idiosyncratic vision and version of the world have been the cause for debate. This chapter concentrates on how concerns with reception and audience are articulated within his fi ction. It will highlight how the consumption of popular culture infl uences Rushdie’s narratives by focusing in particular on the narrator-protagonists’ viewing practice of Indian popular cinema. I argue that their viewership of these popular cultural productions plays an important role in allowing the narrators to sustain an ironic commentary on the politics of post-independence India and a fast integrating world.