Transculturated Shakespeare: Malayalam cinema and new adaptive modes | Intellect Skip to content
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Indian Othellos: Shakespeare Adaptations in India
  • ISSN: 2059-0660
  • E-ISSN: 2059-0679

Abstract

Malayalam cinema offers a unique body of work for scholars seeking to understand the heterogenous traditions of Indian engagement with Shakespeare. In this article, after a brief overview of the history of Malayalam reception of Shakespeare generally, I focus on the film adaptations of director Jayaraj ( / [1997]; [2002]; and / [2017]). Of particular relevance is Jayaraj’s interest in Shakespeare’s female characters, whom he reshapes by immersing his adaptation in the local practices and idioms of Kerala culture, thus transforming the Shakespearean play-text thoroughly. The article examines the influence especially of upon Jayaraj to understand what aspects of Shakespeare endure in Jayaraj’s films and what are transformed. By approaching the question of adaptation from the perspective of the emic and the etic, an apparatus made influential by linguist-anthropologist Kenneth Pike in his analysis of a cultural text, I examine why, in Malayalam, cinematic Shakespeares have seen greater commercial and critical success than Shakespeare in translation or literary adaptation. The article seeks to understand this disparity by closely reading some of the recurrent patterns that emerge in Shakespeare transculturated in the two domains of Malayalam literature (including translation) and film.

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2021-08-01
2024-04-21
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): adaptation; cinema; Malayalam; Shakespeare; transculturation; women
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