ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Regional Cinema and Marginality

Fandry and Sairat

Sairat (The Wild, 2016), and Fandry (Pig, 2014), by Nagraj Manjule have been widely celebrated for portraying narratives of caste marginalisation in rural Maharashtra. This paper argues that marginal narratives and subjectivities in Fandry and Sairat posit moments of resistance, that bring into question mainstream cinema, its tropes of romance, and the region in transition. Apart from presenting a reading of the subjective experience of being socially marginal, the paper deliberates on how the films emblematise a certain social entanglement, and are instrumental in affirming their own objectified versions.

The box office success of Sairat (The Wild, Nagraj Manjule, 2016) has opened up debates surrounding regional cinemas, especially the new waves being witnessed across the country.1 Fandry (Pig, 2014), by the same director, and Sairat situate narratives of caste conflict through an entanglement of pubescent and young romances.2 The films have been commended for presenting the prevalent, but often overlooked conflicts of caste hierarchies in rural Maharashtra. Aside from depicting marginal narratives, however, the films illustrate that marginal subjectivities can be mobilised as objects of the mainstream cinema. In the context of a neo-liberal multiplex culture, such an inscription of newer subjectivities affirms a critique of the Marathi social realm. In Fandry, Manjule effectuated an intense, critically poised realism, that brought forth the poignancy of disquietude, disappointments, and humiliations of lower caste life. Its non-actors, their distinct rustic register, and realistic expressions lent credence to the spaces depicted in the film; which brought it in sharp relief from the representation of the middle class that prevails in most Marathi films.3 Sairat remapped the dominant motif of romance in mainstream cinema onto the terrains of rural Maharashtra, to bring alive the destructive agency of feudal familial power.

The experiences of belonging to a marginal caste get amplified in Sairat, as it fuels the backlash against the young lovers, Aarchi and Parshya. The film captures the anxieties of youthful love when it is confronted by the realities of existing outside the structures governed by social hierarchies in the villages of Maharashtra. In the end, the narrative of Sairat hits at the unavoidable truth that this feudal power can translate into an honour killing, that silences the hopes and desires of love, and therefore posits an interrogation of romance as depicted in mainstream cinema.

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Updated On : 18th Nov, 2018
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