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Filmi fictions : cinematic strategies in Salman Rushdie's novels

Christoph Johannes Stadtler, Florian (2007) Filmi fictions : cinematic strategies in Salman Rushdie's novels. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94672) (KAR id:94672)


This thesis examines Rushdie’s use of visual storytelling that is derived from Hindi cinema to elaborate his aesthetic, political and philosophical arguments in his fiction.

Chapter 1 considers Rushdie’s engagement with urban spaces, in particular his affiliation with Bombay, the postcolonial aesthetic of Rushdie’s novels, and the aesthetic and philosophical relationship between Rushdie’s fiction and Hindi cinema. These theoretical delineations are then further investigated in subsequent chapters in a detailed analysis of Rushdie’s major novels to reveal the intricate link between Rushdie’s deployment of Hindi cinema in his highly visual narratives, which make recourse to a film vocabulary that is borrowed from the cinematic conventions of Bollywood. Rushdie uses Hindi cinema intertextually and this is analysed in relation to Shree 420 (1955) and The Satanic Verses, Mother India (1957) and The Moor’s Last Sigh, and Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Shalimar the Clown. Furthermore, this thesis considers Rushdie’s engagement with the postcolonial nation state, the former centre of Empire and a globalising world and argues that Rushdie’s theory of cultural hybridity, which is reflected in his own fusion of cinematic visual storytelling and novelistic conventions, is directly connected to his deployment of the conventions of Hindi cinema. This thesis considers Rushdie’s method of writing with its emphasis on the epic, the mythic, the tragic and the comic, brought together in a storyline narrated in cinematic parameters and delineates the narrative arc from Midnight’s Children to Shalimar the Clown, which is read as a progressive engagement with and argument about the role, place and space of the individual in relation to a fast-changing social, economic and political space.

This thesis thus argues that Hindi cinema’s syncretism becomes an aesthetic marker in Rushdie’s fiction that allows for the elaboration of an argument about the multiplicity of Indian identity both on the subcontinent and abroad, and details how Rushdie instrumentalises Bollywood in his narratives to express an aesthetics of hybridity and a particular conceptualisation of culture with which ‘India’ has become identified in a global context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94672
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 09:20 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2023 15:36 UTC
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