1. Classic detective tradition is also labelled as “analytic detective fiction, the ‘whodunit’, the mystery story, the clue-puzzle story, all refer in one way or another to the basic structure of the sub-genre––to its characteristic pattern of death–detection–explanation. […] Sherlock Holmes is, of course, the tradition’s best-known father figure, and he has a vast number of descendants, each giving his or her name to a different series of stories––the Father Brown stories, the Hercule Poirot or Lord Peter Wimsey novels” (Horsley, 2005, p.12). [return to page 1]

2. “The hard-boiled private eye’s self-conscious toughness and his aggressive involvement in his city’s criminal milieu gave him a very direct investment in the world he investigates” (Horsley, 2005, p. 67). Horsley’s study shows the writers of this subgenre offer a stiff response to the soft-boiled ‘feminized’ mysteries of the classic British tradition in terms of setting, language and gesture, plot structure, attitudes towards violence, the methods and motives of the murderer, the relationship between fiction and contemporary reality. “His [hardboiled detective] objective is to delineate a distinct form of detective fiction that he thinks is capable of capturing American experience in the early part of the twentieth century” (p. 79).

3. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency’s pilot (144minutes) was written and directed by Anthony Minghella who directed the much acclaimed The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and The English Patient (1996). It was broadcasted posthumously on BBC One (23 March 2008). The remaining episodes were written and directed by other directors.

4. In the film, Bilkis’ family is waiting for her to get married so that her younger sister can also get married.

5. Alexander McCall Smith is celebrating 16 years of writing the book series, The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The series has been translated into most of the major languages. 

6. “The inter-war period (1920s) sees the flourishing of golden age, British crime fiction, epitomized by writers as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and others. The mystery was set in the archetypal country house or London, crime within the restricted milieu of fashionable society. In either case, it took place in an exclusive setting. The enclosed community itself was the source of tensions, deceptions, betrayals, and death— this being the period during which murder came to be an essential part of the detective story. Numerous male writers contributed to the golden age (Anthony Berkeley [A. B. Cox], for example, together with U.S. imitators like John Dickson Carr, S. S. Van Dine, and Ellery Queen), and the detective figures themselves remain predominantly male. A period of highly stylized crime writing, it has also been labelled ‘cozy’, reflecting the preference for plots in which a comfortably recognizable pattern is acted out […]” (Horsley, 2005, pp. 37 &51).

7. “At the time, women were debarred from most law enforcement positions and were unlikely to be found working as private detectives; they thus are also debarred from the world of the fictional private eye” (Reddy, 2003, p. 193).

8. This stereotype began to change forever with Amanda Cross’s first Kate Fansler book, In the Last Analysis (1964). This series’ debut coincided with the beginning of the second wave of the feminist movement, marked in the United States by the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. (Reddy, 2003, p.195).

9. Ms. Jane Marple was “an elderly woman of independent means in the tiny village of St Mary Mead. She seldom got credit for the mysteries she solved by the police”. Unlike Precious and Bobby, she was a lifelong spinster and her “lifetime of nosiness—which might also be called close observation—constitutes her special power as a detective” (Reddy, 2003, p.193).

10. The narrative of Bobby Jasoos plays with the idea of misleading the viewer in keeping with “the nature of a genre in which it is particularly true that the art of narrative is the art of misleading. One of the main means of achieving retardation of the plot is, of course, the inclusion of various possible culprits […] as is the suspicious behavior of other characters” (Horsley, 2005, p. 26). In Bobby Jasoos, it’s the misplaced suspicion about the behavior of the chief-patron and client. Instead of finding Ali, in an unconventional manner, Bilkis gets suspicious of Khan’s motives and investigates her own client’s background to ensure that she’s not involved in anything unethical. Eventually, she finds Ali and also figures out Khan’s good intentions and clean background.

11. Bilkis, is a lower middle class woman and cannot drive. Her educated middle class counterparts will be more likely to have the opportunity to join the white collar workforce outside home and her upper middle class contemporaries will learn driving for other reasons. Bilkis represents the section of Indian society who do not have easy access to opportunities of a self-owned vehicle and a skill to use it. [return to page 2]

12. Doyle created Sherlock Holmes and McCall Smith created Precious Ramotswe. Both writers are Scottish and trained in natural sciences. They both became important writers of popular detective fiction, though in different ways—one as a symbol of classic detective male genre and the other as a symbol of retaining some elements but refreshing it with gender and cultural nuances of post-globalized times.

13. “Even the woman Holmes most admires, Irene Adler, his equal in disguise and in logical thought, is not allowed to put her obvious gifts in the service of detection” (Reddy, 2003, p. 192).

14. “Independent, isolated male protagonists, whether of the Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade variety, may, of course, also have been orphaned at a tender age, but we do not really know—and this is the point [of difference]” (Horsley, 2005, p. 255).

15. She feels fortunate to have had a very supporting father who raised her well in absence of her mother and left his substantial wealth for her so she could live her life on her own terms. She was able to start her own detective agency in the city and buy a posh house from her inheritance.

16. With the exception of her breakthrough role as the eponymous Parineeta, Vidya Balan has been less compelling when portraying conventional romantic protagonists (Bose, 2014, p.398).

17. In the TV series, Precious declines JLB Matekoni’s marriage proposal a few times before agreeing to it. She gently refuses the first time. Next time, they are interrupted by a client and the third time Precious is actively involved in both pronouncing and accepting JLB’s proposal. In the novel, Precious declines once and then accepts the second time. While she wonders when a day for the wedding will be named, but she never puts pressure on her fiancé. These are creative differences between the written text and adaptation for audio-visual media. The important aspect is that the essence of the narrative is respected in the TV series.

18. Precious liberally indulges in homemade cakes, African bush tea, doughnuts and spending time with traditionally built ladies and thinks very little of those women who are desperate to become size zero. Precious has dieted once in the entire book series, only to give up for a fruit cake and bush tea. [return to page 3]

19. Acting with her eyes is unlike her contemporaries, but very similar to her predecessors of parallel cinema and black and white cinema of the 1950s such as actress Waheeda Rehman in director Guru Dutt’s films.

20. Balan is not the only star who has to handle her physical appearance carefully amidst lot of criticism, rising male star Nawazuddin Siddiqui has revealed the prejudices he faced due to physical appearance which denied him opportunities to showcase his acting talent.

21. Vidya Balan (aged 37 years) of Tamilian descent, was raised in the metropolis of Mumbai. Prior to her generation, some of the most successful actresses of the 70s-90s were also Tamilian but they migrated from Southern India. Balan shares her body type with these actresses such as Rekha, Sridevi, Hema Malini and Jayaprada and others. In those days, their voluptuous bodies coincided with the idea of ideal femininity. In Balan’s film Dirty Picture, she plays a sexy South Indian actress of yesteryears.

22. In films such as Kismet Konnection, Balan was awkward, self-conscious and clad in western wear, which according to fashion experts did not suit her body type” (Bose, 2014, p. 398).

23. She also symbolizes the small but growing band of outsiders (traditionally men) who are making it big in the industry which is controlled by certain families—for example Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Irfan, Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Randeep Hooda. They represent the possibilities that the corporatization of Bombay cinema offers.

24. In an interview about the film Byomkesh Bakshi, the director Dibakar Banerjee said that the character is an Indian answer to Sherlock Holmes. It would be another research project to compare this film with Bobby Jasoos and The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

25. Though, after her international presence, Priyanka led the film Jai Gangaa Jal as a female cop with no frills and glamour element. But Balan has not taken the same path when she was a newcomer nor as a veteran.

26. But Bilkis’ eyes are unlike the “poignant eyes of the traditional courtesan, transparent and loving eyes of the wife [and] desperate and manipulative eyes of the vamp” (Nijhawan, 2009, p. 107).

27. According to Anujan, D., Schaefer, D. J., & Karan, K. (2012, pp. 113-115) four roles have evolved in the cinematic representation of Indian woman: the traditional Hindu/Goddess Sita of 1950s, exemplified the ideal woman and wife; the marginalized Indian woman role, a relatively independent female character of 1960s who had violated the dominant patriarchal structure and, thus, suffered social stigma and personal anguish for transgressions; the Anglo-Indian role of the 1990s was a non-resident Indian, chaste, upper class liberated, hybridized female protagonist; and Westernized Indian role, after the turn of the millennium, as an educated, modern, socially adept, and sexy lady playing a central rather than secondary role. She is a role model for celebrating global mass culture and consumerism.

28. The government of Botswana sealed the deal to make “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” on location and not in a Johannesburg, contributing $5 million to finance it. In return, Botswana received not only the economic benefits of housing and servicing a major film but also hands-on training in moviemaking that officials hoped will sow the seeds of a film industry. Botswana is also counting on a tourism benefit from the film: The Kgale Hill set that includes Mma Ramotswe’s office is being preserved and will become part of a “The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” tour for those drawn to Botswana by Mr. Smith’s stories” (Michael Wines). They have also renamed the National Park in Gaborone after the author Alexander McCall Smith as it draws international tourists to the country.

29. “A lesser known fact is that the film also had an almost all-Hyderabadi cast. Sutradhar, a city theatre group, was approached for the casting of the film and had about 17 actors who got to act in a Bollywood venture, sharing screen space with Vidya Balan” (Sanchita Dash).

30. Muslim socials according to Chadha and Kavoori (2008, pp. 136-138) have certain features: the narrative is centered on the Muslim socials and issues related to it, limited terrain of lives of former aristocratic elites of Northern State of Awadh (Lucknow being the capital), subject matter was romantic relationships and family melodrama, Shairi (Urdu poetry), Qawwali (form of singing) and the Tawaif (courtesan), Tehzeeb (high culture), Adaab (formal manners), men in Sherwanis and women in Ghararas as ‘Muslim’ attire were the leitmotifs. Islamic architecture represented by domes, minarets and scalloped arches interspersed with glimpse of crescent moon acted as signifiers of the Islamic culture of South Asian subcontinent.

31. Director M.S. Sathyu who made Garam Hava (1973), called it [Muslim social] a skewed way to look at cinema. When there is no Hindu social or Christian social, how can there be a Muslim social" (Kumar, 2014).


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....... (2003). Tears of the Giraffe. London: Abacus.
....... (2003). Morality for Beautiful Girls. London: Abacus.
....... (2004). The Kalahari Typing School for Men. London: Abacus.
....... (2004). The Full Cupboard of Life. London: Abacus.
....... (2005). In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. London: Abacus.
....... (2007). Blue Shoes and Happiness. London: Abacus.
....... (2008).The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. London: Abacus.
....... (2009). The Miracle at Speedy Motors. London: Abacus.
....... (2010) Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. London: Abacus.
....... (2011) The Double Comfort Safari Club. London: Abacus.
....... (2012) The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. London: Abacus.
....... (2013) The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. London: Abacus.
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