Rewriting King Lear in a Diasporic Context, Rewriting the Nation: Second Generation and Life Goes on

Rosa Maria Garcia Periago

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This article explores two film adaptations of King Lear located in London in a diasporic community: Second Generation (Jon Sen 2003) and Life Goes On (Sangeeta Datta 2009). This paper examines the ways in which King Lear has to be modified to suit Non–Resident Indians. Following a diasporic framework, this article sheds light on the striking parallelisms and connections between both movies via the presence of a mother figure, two nostalgic Lears, the appearance of Muslim characters and the transformation of an extremely tragic dénouement by a happy ending. The role of the mother is especially significant since it hints at the Indian nation and the long–held association between the mother figure and India in mainstream Hindi cinema. The main hypothesis of this paper is that Second Generation and Life Goes On use Shakespeare's King Lear, which deals with the division of the kingdom, as a prism through which to approach partition. Both films relocate the action to the UK, more specifically London, since it has one of the largest Indian diasporic communities. Alluding to the colonial legacy of partition and Shakespeare and being made by diasporic filmmakers, they become postcolonial – or rather transnational works. Curiously enough, not only is King Lear rewritten and rein-vented, but also Shakespeare, partition, and, ultimately, the nation, although the films offer different – and contradictory – perspectives and alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2016


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