Jab We Met: An Analysis by Karuna D’Souza

29 08 2008

(This was an assignment for the subject Cultural Studies for which I had to analyse a film in the context of the way it naturalises and hegemonises certain ideas and concepts)

When Rolland Barthes in his essay “Rhetoric of the Image” dissects the image of the black Algerian soldier saluting the French flag, he speaks of how the hegemony operates in depicting a coloured man, the colonized subject, as willing and loyal subjects to the colonizer France. Images have a plurality of meaning, and at the denotative level can be quite innocuous. The connotative level is what we need to be aware of, for it projects ideas that we inherit without questioning and naturalises the depiction.

Jab We Met came to be quite popular when it released. And it is not hard to see why. This is a very simple, entertaining film which on the most visible manner is innocuous. Gramsci’s theory which relates that hegemony is not a fixed set of ideas. Instead, it is a ‘shifting set of ideas by means of which dominant groups strive to secure the consent of subordinate groups to their leadership, rather than as a consistent and functional ideology working in the interests of a ruling class by indoctrinating subordinate groups.’ I intend to look at how these shifting ideas are being depicted in the film by the dominant groups.

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Untitled photo essay by Shephalika Mishra

22 08 2008