ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Urbanism, Consumerism, and Culture

Representation of Haryana in Two Bollywood Films

Haryanvi sensibilities have been conspicuous by their absence on the silver screen. For the first time, a credible space is accorded to them in Bollywood cinema through two films—Gurgaon (2015) and NH10 (2015). These two films massively score in their portrayal of the locale, inhabitants, and culture of Haryana. This paper analyses both these films in the context of present-day Haryana to show how they succeed in highlighting the transitional phase and travails of this state.


The author wishes to thank Uma Chakravarty for her insightful comments on an earlier draft of this paper. He also wishes to acknowledge the valuable suggestions of the anonymous referee.The author is solely responsible for any errors and opinions expressed.

Recently, there has been a flux of films with either Haryana as its theme or location in Bollywood unlike the usual favourites of film-makers—Gurgaon made in 2015 (released in 2017) and NH10 (2015). They were closely followed by sports-themed films like Dangal (2016), Sultan (2016), and Chhalaang (2020), which were huge box-office hits. In all these films, perhaps for the first time, Haryana finds a credible place in Bollywood cinema. Bollywood has created stereotypes of various regions in its films. For example, a ­Madrasi collapses the entire southern region into a stereo­typical depiction. A Bengali, Parsi, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian all occupy a subordinate place in this universe. Haryana has been a subject of much hilarity in Bollywood. The stereotype of a Haryanvi is that of a crude bungling fellow, rustic and lacking completely in sophistication. An introduction to Haryana’s culture has been through folk dances on public platforms or tastelessly, showy, and badly produced music ­albums with poor choreo­graphy and over-the-top music (Sha­rma, Aakanksha 2011). As a result, Haryanvi music and Haryana’s cultural expression on screen have begun to be looked down upon by people from other states. Haryanvi sensibilities have been conspicuous by their absence on the silver screen. After this long neglect, the first two films—Gurgaon and NH10— score massively in their attempt to portray contemporary Haryana, from its ­locale, both rural and urban, to its inhabitants and culture. They successfully portray Haryana’s story of growth and rise of many problems—all of which find a reflection in these two films.

I shall first give briefly the storyline of the two films and then go on to analyse them in the context of present-day Haryana and how both these films succeed in highlighting the transitional phase and travails of this state. Both films, which claim that they are inspired by true events, are located in Gurgaon (now renamed as Gurugram). They are essentially violent and portray several facets of the city and this region. Highlighting the process of transformation, both stand witness to the clash of tradition and modernity taking place here.

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Updated On : 17th Jan, 2022
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