Romeo and Juliet, Polyglossia, and the Romantic Politics of Deepa Mehta’s Water
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This chapter explains how the director links Shakespeare’s famous tragedy with India’s political liberation. She re-voices Shakespeare’s love story to set out consequential politics concerning both nation and gender via a polyglot chronotope centred on a widows’ ashram in 1938. Unexpectedly in the light of post-colonial theory, Shakespeare as much as Gandhi acts as a catalyst for desired political transformation in this fraught historical time-space. Along with insights into eros provided by Anne Carson, three related Bakhtinian concepts—polyglossia, hybridization, and inter-illumination—situate Mehta’s past-tense chronotopic re-utterance of Shakespeare’s tragedy as a present-day ethical protest.