CULTURAL MINORITIES AND THE PANOPTIC GAZE: A STUDY OF THE (MIS)REPRESENTATION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES IN MALAYALAM FILMS
AbstractThis paper explores the patterns of the representation of Adivasis or aboriginals – known as ‘tribals’ in common parlance – in Malayalam language films. Film as a medium of representation is continuously engaged in constructing images and thus the process becomes an ideological enterprise contributing to the relentless practice of defining and redefining the society and its various components in terms of several binaries. The film industry of Kerala, a southern state of India, is affluent and more influential than other art forms and production. Though the tribal population of Kerala is around 400 thousand and they belong to as many as 43 subgroups, they are underrepresented in films and that too is in a stereotypical manner. These groups are considered to be largely distinct with each tribal group identifying themselves with their own mythologies, tales of origin, and distinctive religious and ritualistic practices. This paper critically analyses the politics of representation using the example of tribals in Malayalam films as it has evolved over the past decades and attempts to trace a whole gamut of aesthetic and ethical issues at stake.
2. Davis, G. V., Devy, G. N., Chakravarty, K. K. (2014). Performing Identities: Celebrating Indigeneity in the Arts. New Delhi: Routledge India.
3. Fernandes, W. (1991). Power and Powerlessness:Development Projects and Development of the Tribals. Social Action, 41(3). 243-270.
4. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage.
5. Government of India. (2002). Tenth Five Year Plan 2002-2007. New Delhi: Planning Commission of India.
6. Guzy, C., Guzy, M. Guzy, L. (eds.). (2014). Voices from the Periphery: Subalternity and Empowerment in India. New Delhi: Routledge India.
7. Hasnain, N. (2002). Tribal India. New Delhi: Palaka Prakashan.
8. Leerssen, J. (2016). Imagology: On using ethnicity to make sense of the world. Retrieved from: http://iberical.paris-sorbonne.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Pages-from-Iberic@l-no10-automne-2016-Final-2.pdf.
9. Majumdar, D. N. (1961). Races and Cultures of India. Bombay: Asia Publishing House.
10. Mathur, H. M. (1995). The Resettlement of People Displaced by Development Projects Issues and Approaches. In: H. M. Mathur (Ed.). Development, Displacement and Resettlement: Focus on Asian Experiences (pp. 15-38). Delhi: Vikash Publishing House.
11. Mishra, S. K. (2002). Development, Displacement and Rehabilitation of Tribal People: A Case Study of Orissa. Journal of Social Science, 6(3). 197-208.
12. Mulvey, L.(1993). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. In: B. Nichols (Ed.) Movies and Methods Vol 2 (pp. 305-315). Calcutta: Seagull Books.
13. Pillai, G. N. M. (1970). Malayala Cinema Directory. Kottayam: Commercial Arts Centre
14. Thukral, E.G. (Ed.) (1992). Big Dams Displaced People. New Delhi: Sage Publication.
15. Urry, J. (2005). The Tourist Gaze. London: Sage Publications
16. Vidyarthi, L. P., Rai, B. K. (1985). Tribal Cultures of India. New Delhi: Concept Publishing House.
17. Vijayakumar, B. (2014). Nellu: 1974. Retrieved from: http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/nellu-1974/article6180555.ece.
18. Von Furer-Haimendorf, Ch. (1982). Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.