Parsi Shakespeare: The Precursor to “Bollywood Shakespeare”

  • Vikram Singh Thakur
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare: New Studies in Adaptation and Appropriation book series (RESH)


Shakespeare shares a long history of engagement with India, probably the longest outside his own country. Although his plays have been performed on the Indian stage for two hundred years or so and on the Indian screen for a century, it is a fairly recent phenomenon to include Shakespeare reception and production in India in the domain of Shakespeare studies. With the advent of postcolonial theory, which has made significant contributions and even changed the critical paradigms in understanding Shakespeare’s text, it has become possible for the erstwhile colonies to bring forth various responses evoked by the native productions of Shakespeare. Another important reason for this newfound interest in “Indian Shakespeare” is twofold: recognizing Shakespeare’s influence on Bollywood, and the acceptance of Bollywood as a global phenomenon. Although Shakespeare has always “inspired” Bollywood films, unconsciously in many cases, it is because of the post–Vishal Bhardwaj phenomenon that “Bollywood Shakespeare” is now considered an important and serious area of study. “Bollywood Shakespeare,” as defined by Paromita Chakravorty in her essay “Interrogating ‘Bollywood Shakespeare’: Reading Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear,” “refers to and reflects the growing interest in Shakespearean themes within the mainstream Bombay (now Mumbai) based film industry of India which typically makes popular Hindi movies with melodramatic plots, non-naturalistic narration, stock characters, music and dancing.”


Indian Language Indian Cinema Theatrical Company Postcolonial Theory Indian Theatre 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Craig Dionne and Parmita Kapadia 2014

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  • Vikram Singh Thakur

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