Main Article Content


Representation of Adivasis(aboriginals) has always been a problematic subject in the Malayalam film industry. Though left progressive filmmakers of the 70s have attempted to address the marginalization of minorities, it ended up stereotyping the ethnic minorities as voiceless, oppressed, ugly and untouchable and in need of a left-liberal revolutionary savior who in most cases will be an upper-caste man. This paper is an attempt to critically examine the representation of Adivasis in Malayalam cinema and how the film Unda makes a difference in the scenario.  Malayalam popular cinema has always explicitly stereotyped aboriginals by portraying them as fools, thieves, exotic and ugly. On the other hand, art cinema/ parallel cinema created by the left-leaning intellectuals have attempted to address the oppression of Adivasis by the state and the society. But they most often take the form of an academic narrative and fails miserably in preserving the cinematical quality of the film. Another focal point of the study is to analyze how Unda has attempted to create minor ruptures in the grand narrative without losing its cinematic essence. The movie critically reflects on how a state apparatus like the police force systematically oppress minorities even inside the force.  The film Unda deconstructs the popular notion of Malayalis that caste is of a foregone era and that Kerala is a castles society. Unlike the popular cinematic portrayal of minorities, the Adivasi character in the movie has a voice of his own. He speaks for himself. He resists casteist abuses. Unda also problematizes the state violence towards Adivasis and how the state abuses them by claiming they are Maoists. This paper tries to evaluate how Unda challenges the popular visual culture and the idea of stardom even when it is a box office hit.

Article Details