Date of Award

Spring 5-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Nam Lee

Second Advisor

Leah Aldridge

Third Advisor

Jan Osborn


This thesis critically explores the third gender space that Rituparno Ghosh created in his later films, where he either featured and/or directed the films. The Bengali filmmaker, Rituparno Ghosh was one of the very few filmmakers in India who consciously and vocally spoke for the sexual minorities and represented them in his films. Focusing on the films, Arekti Premer Golpo, Memories in March and Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish, the thesis looks at the films that negotiated through the in-betweenness of gender identity, not solely lying within the binary of gender. Through this representation of the third gender space, the thesis also looks at how Ghosh used gender identity in association with the cultural and historical presence that the third gender has had in India. Focusing on how Ghosh created a public space for third gender narratives, third gender gained a space to be discussed, which later also became an autobiographical exploration of Ghosh’s own association of third gender representation. It illuminates how his work represented the transgender identity and community that were previously erased from Indian history and helped to create a politically safe space for the transgender community to express themselves. His films revived and recontextualized the portrayal of the “third gender” in Indian cinema, juxtaposing the traditional cultural depictions with contemporary struggles of the transgender community. His films also served as a catalyst for social and legal advancements towards the recognition and acceptance of transgender identities in India.

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Creative Commons License
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