Bhais behaving badly: Vernacular masculinities in Hindi detective novels

Laura Brueck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article considers some of the novels of towering modern Hindi language detective novelists Ved Prakash Sharma and Surender Mohan Pathak. The articulation of masculinity that each novelist proffers through their plots and characters is considered within a nuanced context of popular detective novel traditions in other languages in India as well as the various paratexts of the novels themselves (covers, authors' notes etc.) This article ultimately argues that both Sharma and Pathak reveal nuanced iterations of vernacular masculinity. Sharma plays with stereotypical notions of male heroism and villainy within a localized context of nationalist discourse, while Pathak features antihero protagonists in the roles of modern Indian ‘everymen.’ The idea of a vernacular gendered aesthetic here thus refers to a pointedly localized–as opposed to global–approach to language, theme, literary style, circulation, and audience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
JournalSouth Asian Popular Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020


  • Hindi
  • Surender Mohan Pathak
  • Ved Prakash Sharma
  • crime
  • detective
  • jasoosi
  • masculinity
  • vernacular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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