'A new iconography of the Indian woman seems to be emerging which challenges the traditional "images" and roles of women. Dramatic changes in projecting the woman reflect changes in societal norms and taboos — in a country which has both defiled the woman and idolised her. These roles for the modern woman are subversive, mapping out bold new frontiers for her to explore. The effects are persuasive in being projected through the media, the fourth estate in society, and through the popular genre of Hindi cinema.

Set against the feminist discourse, these images raise different questions about "seeing" the Indian woman. Traced over the century, they suggest an extraordinary transformation in imaging the Indian woman, as manifested in painting, photography, popular posters and classical cinema and as examined here in works by both men and women.

In five seminal essays, this book examines central issues regarding the woman: whether she is regarded as a woman or a goddess; whether her body is treated as an object or subject of pleasure; if she has the freedom to move from home to the world outside; if she is expected to play multiple roles or is perceived in her integral self; and if she has learnt now to re-assert her own power.' - from the front flap

Includes bibliographical references and glossary of terms.

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Chapter headings

Feminine Fables: Introduction

Chapter I: Bharat Mata: Woman or Goddess?

Chapter II: Woman Resting on a Charpoy: The Semiotics of Desire

Chapter III: The Home and the World: Inner and Outer Spaces

Chapter IV: The Ceremony of Unmasking: The Ambivalence of Roles

Chapter V: Hatyogini Shakti: The Goddess Within

Feminine Fables: Imaging the Indian Woman in Painting, Photography and Cinema
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Feminine Fables: Imaging the Indian Woman in Painting, Photography and Cinema