Modern South Asian Studies Seminar: MT19: Week 7: Gandhi's Spell on the Bollywood Hero

Conveners: Imre Bangha, Nayanika Mathur, Matthew McCartney, Polly O’Hanlon, Kate Sullivan de Estrada, and David Washbrook

Speaker: Sanjay Suri (Europe correspondent for the CNN News18 media group)

Gandhi cast an inescapable spell on the story path of the Bollywood hero from the days of Indian independence through to the seventies. Heroism is shown to lie in rejection of wealth and sexual desire in scripted choices synonymous with popular perceptions of Gandhian morality. But in these love stories the Gandhian hero must also desire; so the cinema gets him to sacrifice in story and desire in song. The double about-turn in story away from wealth and sex on screen ends finally with the economic reforms associated with Manmohan Singh. The hero can now get rich without guilt. With wealth, sex too becomes acceptable.


Sanjay Suri is Europe correspondent for CNN News18 Television. He has earlier been chief reporter of the Indian Express reporter in New Delhi, and chief editor of the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency. He has an M.A in English literature from the University of Delhi and an M.Sc in social and organisational psychology from the London School of Economics. He is author of Brideless in Wembley, 1984: The Anti-Sikh Violence and After, and A Gandhian Affair.

all logos

All are welcome.

For further information please contact: or 01865-274559