Publication Type : Journal Article
Publisher : Sameeksha Trust
Url : https://www.epw.in/journal/2022/26-27/postscript/jallikattu.html
Center : AmritaCREATE
Year : 2022
Abstract : The film Jallikattu (2019), directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, is set in a picturesque, nondescript forest village in Kerala. It tells the story of Kalan Varkey and his desire for social mobility that motivates his family to migrate from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu. Varkey is treated as an outsider in a close-knit community. When his family first arrived at the village, years earlier, his father took up the only available job of a butcher—a job that is not openly denounced by anyone but generally looked down upon. The film explores the power relations within the community, specifically how Varkey is perceived and treated by other community members. Varkey takes over the family business after his father’s demise, making it his source of livelihood. Since food preferences are closely tied to one’s culture and religion, one would assume that as the sole butcher and meat supplier, he enjoyed a favourable social standing in a predominantly Christian community where beef is staple. On the surface, it seems that the villagers are content with his service. However, there is an undercurrent of distrust and dislike, albeit restricted to hushed tones and gossip. The setting and culture of the community are seemingly constructed as homogeneous, but a hierarchy based on class—wealth, status, and profession—is evident.
Cite this Research Publication : Rajlakshmi Kanjilal, "Jallikattu: Violence and Vigilantism." Economic and Political Weekly (2022): 57(26-27), 89-90, Sameeksha Trust