Between Two Worlds: Anglo-Indian Stereotypes And Malayalam Cinema


  • Rajesh James and Priya Alphonsa Mathew


The Anglo-Indians of India are the racial hybrids of European and Indian stock who came into being through four centuries of European colonial contact with India. Malayalam cinema produced in the state of Kerala, albeit being the fourth largest film industry in India, by and large has always been ridden by dominant-caste favouritisms. Regrettably there is minimal representation of the Anglo-Indian community in Malayalam films and if they occupy the screen-space at all, misrepresentation, typecasting and a dogged discourse of estrangement characterises their portrayal. These films ideologically affirm all the denigrating Anglo-Indian stereotypes, slyly 'othering' this ‘hybrid’ community, ostracizing them as the ‘romantic outsiders’ of Kerala and typified as ‘non-realistic’ in their approach to life. Historicising the production and reception of Anglo-Indian delineations in Malayalam cinema from 1970s to 2018, this paper examines such films both as processes and products of the complex historical, cultural and nationalist policies of majoritarian isolationist politics. The paper explicates not just the politics of signification, but the politics of (mis)representation, which is how the Anglo-Indian community gets pigeonholed in the filmic narratives produced in Kerala. It foregrounds the need to destabilize and subvert the conservative and belittling attitude towards the Anglo-Indian community in Malayalam films. The paper thereby argues the need for a fair and inclusive perspective of the Anglo-Indians in the mainstream Malayalam cinemascape.