Bollywood Horrors

Religion, Violence and Cinematic Fears in India

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Ellen Goldberg, Aditi Sen, Brian Collins
  • London: 
    Bloomsbury Academic
    , November
     272 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Bollywood Horrors is a wide-ranging collection that examines the religious aspects of horror imagery, representations of real-life horror in the movies, and the ways in which Hindi films have projected cinematic fears onto the screen.

Part one, “Material Cultures and Prehistories of Horror in South Asia” looks at horror movie posters and song booklets and the surprising role of religion in the importation of Gothic tropes into Indian films, told through the little-known story of Sir Devendra Prasad Varma. Part two, “Cinematic Horror, Iconography and Aesthetics” examines the stereotype of the tantric magician found in Indian literature beginning in the medieval period, cinematic representations of the myth of the fearsome goddess Durga's slaying of the Buffalo Demon, and the influence of epic mythology and Hollywood thrillers on the 2002 film Raaz. The final part, “Cultural Horror,” analyzes elements of horror in Indian cinema's depiction of human trafficking, shifting gender roles, the rape-revenge cycle, and communal violence.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ellen Goldberg is Associate Professor of South Asian Studies in the School of Religion at Queen's University, Canada.

Aditi Sen is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the School of Religion, Queen's University, Canada.

Brian Collins is the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy and Associate Professor of World Religions at Ohio University, USA.


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