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Contesting the mainstream transwoman figurations: The question of caste and precarity in Udalaazham

Publication Type : Journal Article

Publisher : Routledge (Taylor & Francis)

Source : South Asian Popular Culture

Url :

Campus : Coimbatore

School : School of Arts Humanities and Commerce, Department of English and Languages

Year : 2023

Abstract : Udalaazham (Body Deep), the 2018 Malayalam film directed by Unnikrishnan Avala, intrigues into the precarious dimensions of gender liminality in unprecedented ways by being the first film to discuss the life of a gender-liminal belonging to a tribal (Paniya) community in Kerala. The paper engages in a close reading and analysis of the film-text Udalaazham by placing it in juxtaposition to figurations of transgender subjectivities in contemporary Malayalam films, with an aim to contest the acclaimed progressive disposition of these mainstream representations. It employs the framework of intersectionality to focus on the protagonist Gulikan’s lived experiences enmeshed within the structures of tribal caste, ethnicity and gender characterized by multiple interlocking dimensions of precarity. His body, identity and desires are open to threat, violence, mutilations and perpetual questioning due to lack of socio-cultural capital and support network. The relevance of this film is in opening up the discussions on caste and liminal gender identity and thereby urging the dire need to re-write the formula of identity politics in the region and its popular culture. Reading Udalaazham in this context provides a more liberating yet disturbing space to discuss the regressive operations of identity categories and their limitations in conceptualizing regional queer identities in India.

Cite this Research Publication : Ms. Sruthi B, Guptha & Dr. Sandhya V "Contesting the Mainstream Transwoman Figurations: The Question of Caste and Precarity in Udalaazham", South Asian Popular Culture (Q1 Scopus Indexed journal), vol.21, issue 2, Routledge (Taylor & Francis)

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