Australia, Bollywood and Cosmopolitanism: Showcasing Australia Internationally

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Over the past ten years, Australia has been used increasingly as a background location in Indian feature films, music videos and television advertisements, and Bollywood film-makers are offered government incentives to film in Australia in order to showcase Australia in India. The progressive liberalisation of the Indian economy since the early 1990s has led to competition between capitalist economies to do business with India, and Bollywood is regarded internationally by government trade and tourism commissions as a means of destination marketing. This paper considers the branding of the Australian city as both cosmopolitan and multicultural, and analyses the tensions between different definitions of cosmopolitanism implicit in government advertising. It then assesses representations of Australia in such movies as Dil Chahta Hai (2002), Salaam Namaste (2005) and Heyy Babyy (2007) both in relation to Australian brand messages and in relation to images of other cities, such as London, New York and Singapore, which also appear in Bollywood. Finally, this paper considers how a Bollywood Australia is regarded among South Asian communities in Australia, and how Bollywood’s own representation of a diasporic or transnational Indian identity relates to an Australian South Asian sense of belonging.


Keywords: Australia, Bollywood, Cosmopolitanism, Multiculturalism, Transnationalism, Indian Diaspora, South Asian Diaspora, Destination Marketing
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Australia, Bollywood and Cosmopolitanism


Dr. Andrew Hassam

Honorary Research Associate, School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, Monash University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Andrew Hassam is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies at Monash University. His books include Sailing to Australia: Shipboard Diaries of Nineteenth-Century British Emigrants (Melbourne UP 1994) and Through Australian Eyes: Colonial Perceptions of Imperial Britain (Melbourne UP 2000). Current research projects include linka and parallels between Melbourne and Calcutta as post-imperial cities, and the production of Bollywood movies in Australia. He also has research interests in Australian Studies teaching internationally, on which he has recently published in the Australian Journal of Education. He is Vice-President of the International Australian Studies Association.

Ref: D08P0024