Needham, Anuradha Dingwaney. “‘Performing Wom[e]n’ and the Gendered National Imagination: An Exploration of Shyam Benegal’s Sardari Begum.” South Asian Review, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2013.

Focusing on the eponymous Shyam Benegal film, Sardari Begum (1996), with intermittent reference as well to his Bhumika (The Role; 1976) and Mandi (Marketplace; 1983), this essay explores the relationship of performing women to the gendered, modernizing agendas of the Indian nation-state. Reprising the career of women who represented professions, identities, and cultural repertoires that flourished under, and were indelibly associated with a feudal order, these films show women inhabiting subject positions that were delegitimized, marginalized, even excised from the constitutive narratives of the new Indian nation on its way to modernity.

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