The Global as Local/Othello as Omkara

  • Brinda Charry
  • Gitanjali Shahani
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare: New Studies in Adaptation and Appropriation book series (RESH)


Although the 1965 Merchant Ivory production, Shakespeare Wallah, sets up Hindi cinema as a cultural form that is radically different from and in competition with Shakespearean theater, the genre does have a long history of engagement with the works of William Shakespeare. 1 The history of Shakespeare in India is itself a fairly long one. Performed first in Calcutta and Bombay in the 1770s as entertainment to the early traders, eventually made a staple of an educational system dictated by colonial policy, and soon after translated into Indian languages and played on stage in Calcutta, Bombay, and other urban centers, early Hindi film remakes of Shakespeare were adaptations of the well-known Parsi theater productions. The 1927 silent film Dil Farosh, for instance, was a cinematic version of an early twentieth-century stage version of The Merchant of Venice and the 1932 film Hathili Dulhan was a remake of the popular Parsi theater version of The Taming of the Shrew.2 Adaptation has long been considered acceptable in Indian artistic traditions, and is perceived neither as indicative of an embarrassing lack of “originality,” nor as transgressive or revisionary. Discussing the history of Shakespearean performance in India, Poonam Trivedi points out that in the Indian tradition the practice of adaptation is seen as permitting “rewritings to exist without challenging the status of the ‘original’ urtext. And what is more, in the multilingual context of the subcontinent, it functions as localizing, indigenizing, and ultimately democratizing factor: just as the Sanskrit epics had been reworked in the regional languages, so was Shakespeare adapted into local cultures.” 3


Indian Cinema Love Story Fashionable Brand Multilingual Context Sanskrit Epic 
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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brinda Charry
  • Gitanjali Shahani

There are no affiliations available

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