P. Muhammed Afzal BITS Pilani, Rajasthan
In this paper I explore the role that early Malayalam cinema played in the consolidation of a nascent Malayali linguistic identity. The paper examines the nationalist address that Malayalam cinema adopted as part of its industrial and aesthetic realignments in the context of mobilizations around the Malayali identity. The paper also offers a brief discussion of how the Left-affiliated artists in the Malayalam film industry offered a cultural vision for modern Kerala in mid-twentieth century. Through a discussion of the Left intervention in the field of popular cinema, the relationship among language politics, Left politics and popular cinema in the region is examined.
Keywords: Malayalam cinema, Kerala, Left, language politics
Ann Mary George JAIN, Kochi
Madhava Prasad in “Fan Bhakti and Subaltern Sovereignty” describes a fan as a “who identifies with a screen persona beyond the requirements of narrative intelligibility”. The perceptions around fans as a category have undergone a change in the public discourses. Rather than study fans of Malayalam cinema I turn my focus to the fans imagined within the diegetic spaces of Malayalam movies. I am looking at the relation between the star and the fan through the eyes of Malayalam cinema. In my paper I will be looking at how fans are represented and perceived by the Malayalam film industry. I will be looking at a few Malayalam movies to chart the trajectory of the star-fan relation within the diegetic spaces of Malayalam Cinema and in the process map the transformation of the informal fan into a member of an organized fan association.
Keywords: Fan Studies, fandom, Malayalam cinema, Star Studies
Arunlal K & Sunitha Srinivas C Govt. College, Mokeri
Ugly is a category that constitutes whatever is ‘other’ed in a culture. It occupies the ‘unlivable’ and ‘uninhabitable’ zones that circumscribe the domain of the veritable subject. The ‘disidentification’ from the Ugly is a necessary prerequisite of beautiful subjects. Though an abstract category in itself, the Ugly is understood as apparent and real because one’s aesthetics of everyday experience develops from a ‘notion’ regarding actual physical realities, including human bodies, that are to be catalogued as ugly. From the bodies that are regarded as ‘ugly,’ specific ugly social categories, with regard to gender, race, caste and class take shape. These ‘unaesthetic’ wholes are reinforced as they are performed in representational arts such as cinema and television. The present paper tries to reflect on a few dimensions in which representation of ugliness happens in contemporary Malayalam cinema. Apart from being an aesthetic project, representing the ugly has certain deeper social functions beginning from galvanizing the racial and gender ‘commonsense.’ The paper uses the concepts of ‘assemblage’ and ‘social imaginary’ to address the subtler levels of ugliness in films.
Keywords: Ugly, aesthetics, popular cinema, social imaginary, assemblage
Vipin K, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
The paper, in a cursory manner, explores the linkages between sexuality, law and class in the popular Malayalam cinema of the 1980s. It argues for the need to investigate plot elements of the films of this period such as rape as pointing to an unresolved tension that the middle-class had with the wider society stemming from its own colonially instituted ‘distinction’.
Keywords: Sexuality, middle-class, law, popular cinema
Namitha K. S University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
The concept of masculinity and the representation of male remains a contested terrain in the recent Malayalam cinematic realm. It’s a known fact that cinema has a persuasive impact on the public’s view on women empowerment and gender equality. There have been attempts by Malayalam cinema to challenge the traditional gender roles and cultural practices within the society. The films such as The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) and Aarkaryam (2021) approach the notion of masculinity from different perspectives. The Great Indian Kitchen gives a glimpse of the hard-hitting reality of the society and how patriarchy is deeply entrenched in our minds. On the other hand, Aarkaryam normalises the domestic space for men rather than glorifying or romanticizing men for sharing equal space in the kitchen. This research article tries to delineate the portrayal of male figures in these films from a feminist gaze. The paper also attempts to analyse and compare the portrayal of masculinity in both films in terms of their ideologies and cultural norms.
Keywords: Masculinity, representation, popular cinema, patriarchy
CS Venkiteswaran Film Critic, Director, Curator and Translator
The terms ‘art’, ‘parallel’ or new wave were employed extensively by the Malayalam film critics in the 1970s to talk about the avant garde cinema of the time. The critics of the earlier generation never employed such a term to describe or categorize critically acclaimed or award-winning films of their times. It would be interesting to probe the emergence of such a generic or aesthetic category to talk about films at a particular point in time, which has to be seen not only in terms of form, themes, content and style of the ‘new wave’ films, but also related to the radical shifts in aesthetic sensibilities and discourses of that period. The delineation and promotion of such a category had significant impact on several fronts: on the one, it spurred a new understanding about art cinema among the youth. It also triggered discourses about cinema and thus nurturing a niche audience and eventually creating a slot for such films in the mainstream exhibition system. The article also probes the predicaments of such a category in the present times, which is marked by an erasure of such distinctions and categories, the retreat of state from sponsorship of art cinema, and the globalization of visual consumerism and tastes.
Keywords: Art cinema, parallel cinema, avant garde
Aparna Nandakumar Providence Womens College, Calicut
This paper aims to demonstrate the complex interrelations between the concepts of androgyny, neoliberalism, modernity, and idealism in relation to how youth is imagined in non-metropolitan regions of the world – regions where neoliberal economic processes need to negotiate with existing feudal power structures. For this purpose, I intend to focus on a particular form of androgyny which I shall designate by the term “cuteness”, as deployed in certain youth films in Malayalam cinema, with special emphasis on the youth film Niram (dir. Kamal, 1999). I argue that the androgynous style designated as “cute” is derived precisely by feminising certain sartorial styles and terms of address otherwise coded as masculine, even culminating in feminising the male protagonist. Through the analysis of this film, I shall delineate how the modern, neoliberal aesthetic of “cuteness” and androgyny serves to re-legitimise the conservative social structure of the family and to give it a renewed social purpose.
Keywords : Youth, neoliberalism, cuteness, androgyny, family, Malayalam cinema
Mohamed Shafeeq Karinkurayil Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Karnataka
Sreenivasan is often understood to be a representative of the subaltern energies in the field of Malayalam cinema. At the same time, Sreenivasan has had a successful career in each of his roles as a scriptwriter, actor, and director. The label of being a subaltern therefore calls for a closer examination. Briefly touching upon the thematic elements in some of Sreenivasan’s most memorable roles from the comic film genre of the late 1980s and early 1990s, this paper argues that Sreenivasan provided Malayalam cinema the energies of a fast transforming world. Mobilising the Derridean concept of supplement, this paper reads Sreenivasan’s figuration in Malayalam cinema as a negotiation of a time in which the traditional feudal hero caused a structural blockage in exploring the new worlds that were opening up to the Malayali public sphere.
Keywords: Malayalam cinema, migration, supplement, comic film
Priya Chandran & Sreebitha P V, Kannur University
This paper analyses the Malayalam film Nayattu by examining the representation and creation of fear in the film from multiple perspectives. The article looks at two kinds of fears — the fear of losing dominance and the fear of losing dignity — as linked to the story of Nayattu. It argues that the film reflects the savarna fear of Dalit assertions.
Keywords: Caste, fear, Dalit, representation, dignity, dominance
Shalini M Central University of Kerala
This paper attempts a reading of one of the most popular Malayalam films “Manichithrathazhu” (The Ornate Lock) in the context of women and madness. The film is analysed in the context of cures and treatment recommended by the medical sciences as well as rituals. In the film, the cure for madness or possession is sought by a comfortable combination of modern medical sciences and the traditional ritual. Although the film beguiles the spectators with an antinomian conflict between the modern medicine and the ritualistic traditional cure, the means and modalities and ends of these two streams are not different. This becomes increasingly clearer when these two streams conjoin and reproduces the language and reason of the phallogocentric world. The paper draws insight from the critical perspectives of Phyllis Chesler, Shoshana Felman, Luce Irigary and Michel Foucault.
Keywords: Women and madness, phallogocentrism, women and mental health, representations of madness