When was Malayalam Cinema? Caste, Public Sphere and Modern Identity

This paper explores the nuances of the debates around the “first” Malayalam cinema Vigathakumaran. Considering the movie Celluloid, which cinematically recreated the making of Vigathakumaran, as an important text, the paper sets the ground for the discussion. It tries to unravel the peculiar situation that the first ever production attempt of a Malayalam cinema witnessed. Looking at the history of cinema in the South Indian context, the paper tries to argue that the social aggression of various kind that the first cinematic endeavor of the region faced was predominantly of casteist in nature. This is largely because of the innate potential of the modern institution of cinema which brings otherwise divided social groups under one roof, thus unsettling existing social orders.

Download Pdf