The digital portfolio, Bollywood Satirized, is a critical commentary on the societal expectations that I experienced as a woman growing up in India. To create this work, I start with Indian movie posters, a reflection of the popular culture and the melodrama of Indian life. The visual and aural presence of cinema in India is the result of the largest commercial film industry in the world that produces over eight hundred movies a year and reaches approximately 3.5 billion people. Most of the 2 billion dollar industry is concentrated in Bombay, (now called Mumbai) which is also called “Bollywood”.
Using digital technology to alter the Indian movie posters, I re-interpret the images to make blatantly satirical commentary and humorously challenge traditional gender roles and behavior in Indian society based on my experiences. The final images include myself, other imagery and text from other sources. As Helen Harrison of the New York Times wrote “Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s manipulations of Indian movie posters change commercial stereotypes into indictments of oppression and violence against women.” Also, Christiane Paul, curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art wrote “Annu Palakunnathu Matthew’s work focuses on the politics of gender and race. The posters use the traditional visual language of the movie industry’s ‘dream factory’. Inscribed with text that draws attention to gender and cultural stereotypes as well as nuclear politics, Matthew’s posters deconstruct the creation of message and context through visual images.”