Kesavan, Mukul. “Urdu, Awadh, and the Tawaif: the Islamicate roots of Hindi Cinema.” Forging Identities: Gender, Communities and the State in India. Edited by Zoya Hasan, Westview, 1994, pp. 244-257.

Kesavan’s essay explores the relationship between Hindi cinema and what Kesavan calls “Islamicate” culture, referring “not directly to the religion, Islam, itself but to the social and cultural complex historically associated with Islam and Muslims.” Kesavan notes three key links between Islamicate culture and cinema, notably Urdu, Awadh (the setting of, among many texts, Umrao Jaan) and the cinematic figure of the tawaif.

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