Not So Sanskari Naris, Video Essay, 2021
'Not so sanskari naris' is a video essay that attempts to revisit problematic gender binaries from post-independence Hindi popular cinema that have been embraced by diaspora, while also looking to answer questions with regard to how these frameworks emerged on film. Through this initial exploration of idealized Indian womanhood onscreen, this work attempts to re-trace and share lost histories of pre-independence Hindi stars from the 1920s and 30s - Modern Girls and Sitaras, whose images, performances and identities existed in sharp contrast with the sanskari nari ideal.
Saira Chhibber is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies interdisciplinary graduate program at Queen’s University. Her research interests are based in film, television and new media representations of women and specifically how these images might relate to nationalism and the social construction of gender in South Asia. She has taught courses in popular culture, film and television studies in the Department of Film & Media at Queen's University. Saira has been published in and has work forthcoming in diverse publications from Maximumrocknroll to the Journal of Religion and Film. She has been a directer on the Boards of the South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) and the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) and she continues to pursue her interests in media and activism through her academic research and volunteer work.