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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 1 - Fall 2009

Moral Dilemmas of an Immoral Nation: Gender, Sexuality, and Journalism in Page 3

Radhika Parameswaran

Abstract


Venturing into the uncharted territory of journalism’s representations in India, this paper examines portrayals of the soft news beat’s woman reporter in Madhur Bhandarkar’s award-winning 2005 film Page 3: The Inside Story. The paper begins by situating the film within the economic contexts of Indian journalism’s aggressive embrace of market models of news readership and the rise of the multiplex genre in the Indian film industry. Taking a deconstructive approach that draws from postcolonial and feminist studies, as well as research on journalism’s images in popular culture in the United States, the paper then analyzes the symbolic meanings of gender, nation, journalism, and sexuality that arise in relation to reporter Madhavi Sharma’s personal and professional identities. Although Page 3 offers a compelling critique of both upwardly mobile readers’ shallow consumerism and the Indian newspaper industry’s misguided market priorities, its patriarchal subtext of middle class morality, female sexuality, and male superiority undermines its progressive potential.

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