chapter  7
24 Pages

Baccha log, taali bajao*

Orphans in cinematic imagination 1
WithNidhi Gulati

This chapter profiles the depiction of the orphan child in cinematic imagination. Opening up this understanding brings to the fore ways in which children are seen, represented and constructed in popular culture. In examining this imagery, underlying beliefs and assumptions about children, their development, their socialisation and investment in their development are laid bare. Going beyond the explicit portrayal of the images, the chapter draws out the implicit assumptions that need to be interrogated. In films, we see the rescue (of the orphan child) as a technology which is couched in mechanisms of social control and containment of those who are considered wayward. Between goals and roles that institutions claim and perform, lie zones of unstated assumptions and uncomfortable narratives. Engagement with this political consciousness entails bringing these meanings and metaphors to the fore. The essay calls for an uneasy examination of what alignments appear as threatening to established social order.