Hutchins Professor Ajay Gehlawat spent his time as a doctoral student at the City University of New York Graduate Center studying film and theatre. Beyond simply watching movies, Gehlawat became fascinated by representations of race, class, gender and sexuality in cinema. During this time one subject in particular stood out to him: Bollywood.
His body of research encompasses representations of Bollywood in cinema. Continuing with this theme, Gehlawat has recently published The "Slumdog" Phenomenon, a critical anthology responding to the 2008 feature film, Slumdog Millionaire.
Winner of numerous awards and the epicenter of multiple controversies, Danny Boyle's film Slumdog Millionaire has fueled a series of debates regarding depictions of India and the slum, its references to Bollywood, its global circulation and success, and its reception by critics and audiences.
The anthology brings together a collection of critical essays exploring the multiple controversies surrounding the film from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Edited by Gehlawat, each of the book's four sections considers a particular aspect of the film- such as its relation to the nation, to the slum and to Bollywood- along with its reception and theorization.
The book seeks to address these controversial topics and, in the process, provide new and innovative ways of looking at the film.
Gehlawat's first book, Reframing Bollywood: Theories of Popular Hindi Cinema (Sage, 2010), combines multiple theoretical approaches to provide a fresh perspective on Bollywood and challenges the homogenizing tendencies in much of the ongoing scholarship in the field.
His research has been predominantly concerned with the construction of femininity in 1970s Bollywood, the viewing of Hindi cinema by subaltern audiences in India, and the use of media in the classroom.
He has also written essays exploring the racial dynamics of The Princess and the Frog, the erotic Orientalism of James Bond, and the cultural identities of Harold and Kumar.
Along with Bollywood and Indian cinema, Gehlawat is concerned, more broadly, with contemporary trends in film studies, postcolonial theory and popular culture.
For additional details about the book, visit www.anthempress.com/the-slumdog-phenomenon