The model minority: problematizing the representation of Kodavas in Kannada cinema
Sowmya DECHAMMA C. C.
ABSTRACT This paper is an attempt to understand the representation of the minority community of Kodavas in cinema which is largely produced, controlled, and consumed by people belonging to majoritarian languages/communities, specifically in Kannada cinema. I argue that the of politics of representation, misrepresentation, and non-representation of the minority both conform to and extend the existing relations of power between the Brahmin mind and the Shudra body, the ever changing minority and ever concretizing majority. My attempt is to show how the categories of nation and minorities ‘have been put to use through a complex process of the politics of nationalism’. Representations of the Kodava as the exotic servile, as the model minority worker, have only served to construct a homogenous Hindu majority that has defined the Indian nation thus far. I argue the above by looking at the representation of the Kodava male body in Kannada Cinema where the body gets counted and valorized only to be discounted, to be non-existent.
Keywords: Kodava, cinema, minority, representation, Kannada
Sowmya Dechamma teaches at the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad. Her teaching and research interests include Indian Literatures, Minority Discourse, Gender and Caste Studies, and Kodava Language and Culture.