College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Winter 3-19-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media and Cinema Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Luisela Alvaray

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael DeAngelis


Few studies have examined how the changing landscape of cultural production in India shapes the negotiation of religious and national identities onscreen in an increasingly integrated media environment. This dissertation explores the representation and reception of three crossover stars in India: Ali Zafar, Fawad Khan, and Mahira Khan. These stars embody a new global imaginary for Pakistan that contradicts the ghettoized depictions of Pakistan as a terrorist state that continue to be perpetuated in both India and the West. What does it mean to be a Pakistani star in India, and which ‘identity’ takes precedence in popular discourse – national or religious, if any such distinction can be made? Pakistani crossover stars blur audiovisual boundaries between India, Pakistan and the West that problematize these questions of identity on multiple levels, a process mediated by globalization. At the same time, they expose conflicts over identity and belonging in an age when political nationalisms and global capitalism are colliding at an unprecedented rate.

Included in

Communication Commons