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Anti-caste Aesthetics and Dalit Interventions in Indian Cinema

The cinematic interventions of contemporary Dalit film-makers in India, Nagraj Manjule and Pa Ranjith, among others, represent modes of resistant historiography, employed by Dalits, against the aesthetic regime of stereotypical representation, through innovative techniques in visuals, sound, music, and cinematography. The paper attempts to evaluate and argue for an enabling anti-caste aesthetics articulated through an embodied sensibility in films. The paper argues that these film-makers not only disturb “the unconscious of caste” through an explicit anti-caste aesthetics but also produce affective, expressive archives. In other words, they bring into presence what was previously impossible through the processes of denunciation (of casteist images) and innovation (of anti-caste aesthetics).
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