BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Date of Submission



Rahma Muhammad Mian, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Due to the influence Bollywood holds over people, it functions as an ideological force reinforcing societal conventions, that affect the way we think and act. One of the many ways Bollywood reinforces societal conventions is by portraying women within the constraints of certain gender stereotypes and norms.

This study, using social constructivism and empowerment discourse as analytical frameworks, examines whether the stereotypical representation of women in Bollywood’s family drama genre saw any changes from 1990 to 2020. One film was chosen from each decade to evaluate the changes in the portrayal of women over the course of three decades. These included Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum (2001), and Dil Dhadakne Do (2015). The portrayal of gender in the chosen films was analyzed using the historical context of Bollywood, the narrative of the films, the types of dialogues assigned to the actors, and the visual appearance of the characters.

Based on the analysis, it can be argued that stereotypical representation of women in Bollywood’s family drama genre saw no positive changes from 1990 to 2010. This is because both Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), representative of the 1990s decade, and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum (2001), representative of the 2000s decade, were male-centric and portrayed women as submissive. However, post-2010, with more women entering the field of film production, things began to change for the better. For instance, Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), the film representative of this era, did not reflect stereotypical gender norms but challenged them.



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