Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base: Tejal Shah

Chingari Chumma/Stinging Kiss

Tejal Shah. Chingari Chumma/Stinging Kiss, 2000.

"Chingari Chumma" is a 'fairytale' phantasy which dives head first into the spaces of desire that remain unaddressed in the popular culture that Bollywood constructs. Here is a typical Hindi film climax: the heroine has been abducted by the bandit and is taken to his den where he inevitably ties her up, or makes her dance; the hero comes just in time to save his beloved, before the villain can commit the ultimate atrocity. We engage the language of these films in order to complicate the formulaic narrative and destabilize the archetypal relationships that are played out within them. What is set up is a consensual fantasy where gender and sexual expectations are not in congruence, thus displacing the subject position of the viewer. This brings us into a queerly phantastical world where nothing is fixed any longer. The pendulum of the narrative swings between a traditional male rape fantasy and an unveiling of the repressed sexual desire of the heroine. We serve this up to you, hot and piping, with heavily aestheticized music and high camp.


Bollywood, performance, queer, prison, torture, Hindi, camp

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"What are You?"I LOVE MY INDIAChingari Chumma/Stinging Kiss

Bombay, Maharashtra


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