Fabric-Rendered Identity: A Study of Dalit Representation in Pa. Ranjith’s Attakathi, Madras and Kabali


  • Benson Rajan Christ University
  • Shreya Venkatraman Christ University




Cinema has played a role in caste politics in India. Its role ranges from special arrangement to consume the film to working in films based on caste based demarcated jobs. Films have always been in a constant struggle to eradicate eas well as to maintain the boundaries between the dominant and the dominated. Clothing is one such element which acts to represent the formation of a community’s image in people’s minds. The representation politics with the fabric worn in films becomes the clash between dress codes. These are symbolic conflicts played on the screen between social and cultural norms that possess the potential to alter identity and its structures of reality. This paper will be dealing with the analysis of three films by Pa. Ranjith: Attakathi (Cardboard Knife)(2012), Madras(2014) and Kabali(2016); to understand the representational politics involving the Dalit community with the help of costumes that the characters adorn in the films. Semiotics as an approach has been applied to understand the representation of Dalit identity reflected through clothing practices.

Author Biographies

Benson Rajan, Christ University

School of Business Studies and Social Sciences, Christ University Bengaluru, India

Shreya Venkatraman, Christ University

Christ University Bengaluru, India