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Masculinity in film and popular media© Goethe-Institut

Masculinity in film and popular media

Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai aims to engage with the topic of masculinity, through its depiction in films and popular media. Using different engaging formats, the three projects planned in collaboration with Harkat Studios, aim to deconstruct the cinematic language used to portray and ascertain skewed ideas of masculinity in mainstream cinema, and provoke conversations to reexamine these popular constructs.​

Akkad Bakkad - the M3 edition

A day long live stream of ‘VJ’ sets will use the public internet archive and help unpack representation of men, male, masculine through audio visual juxtapositions. The streams use a multi-channel screen of videos, text, images, memes and more to provoke discourse and explore possibly newer fragments of thought to help unpack ‘Männerbilder’.

The sets will be hosted on the Harkat Interactive Virtual Stage by artists and curators, who will bring their own unique perspective to each session.


Vijay, Rahul, Anand, Sher Khan  - Unpacking the Bollywood man

Popular cinema has long been dominated by heroes who have diversified through decades just as our society and its macro politics has. The range is large - whether it be a farmer fighting the Zamindari, the angry young man, the brooding lover, the ‘mother-son’ relationship, the privileged modern free-wheeling male or the more conscious empathetic man.

Through a series of conversations and observations, we unpack together the representation of the Bollywood man - its real and reel juxtaposition, its micro-politics, cinematic devices and their codified ways of establishing modes of seeing, impact on mass psychology and the historical zeitgeist’s connection to these screen characters.

The idea is perhaps to understand the creation of masculinity through some of these film devices, to play around with what we have seen and possibly shape the narrative of what is yet to be written.

There will be three sessions. Each session will have a recommended viewing with a scheduled discussion.

Ek Mardaana Khat

‘Ek Mardaana Khat’ is a series of performances where men will read crowd sourced letters written by other men. These could be archived letters, new ones created or written new through this provocation. The intent is to explore themes of masculinity, tenderness, patriarchy, guilt, nuance, self-expression and more, through a curatorial which centers itself on shared empathy. The letters will be live streamed with readers reading from the Harkat stage and then subsequently archived as letter recordings made as part of the performance.