Of Desire and Defiance: Abhishek Shah’s Hellaro as an Ode to the Gendered Subaltern

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Meera John, Mrs. Geetha R. Pai


India is always plagued by its caste system and discriminations based on social and economic castes and classes. This is part of the social dynamic of India, and it has terribly affected the identity of the individuals.Subalternity acts as an invisible agent delimiting the agency especially that of the women counterparts in the country. Here, the women are placed in a subaltern position, and their status is questioned and often manipulated and demeaned by social expectations and gender roles. Thus, the ties of gender traverse across the class boundary to a wider realm of gendered subalternity. Abhishek Shah, an Indian filmmaker through his debut film Hellaro clearly portrays the subaltern position of Gujarati women and their homosocial inclinations in the rural landscape of Rann of Kutch, India. This cinematic text evidently marks the different social factors that construct the subaltern women of Kutch. Along with restricted subjectivity and enforced gender roles, violent treatments and constant suppression becomes the true story of the community. Though these women belong to the upper caste, they are removed to the fringes because of their gender. But the women break free from their patriarchal confinements through their homosocial attitude which is exhibited through their ethnic dance Garba. Through my paper, I intend to propound how Hellaro promotes the idea of freedom through dance and how the women characters move away from their subaltern position through their homosocial disposition and the beats of the dhol.

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Meera John, Mrs. Geetha R. Pai. (2021). Of Desire and Defiance: Abhishek Shah’s Hellaro as an Ode to the Gendered Subaltern. Annals of the Romanian Society for Cell Biology, 25(6), 9016–9021. Retrieved from https://www.annalsofrscb.ro/index.php/journal/article/view/7145