Subverting Our Epics: Mani Ratnam’s Retelling of the Ramayana

A review I wrote of the recent film Raavan came out in the Economic and Political Weekly last week. It can be found here:

Mani Ratnam’s film Raavan depicts the contradiction between the adivasis and the State through the framework of the Ramayana. The film, however, deviates from the message of the Ramayana, and raises the disturbing possibility that our myths of morality and bravery are someone else’s stories of rape and conquest. The recasting of Raavan as the wronged subaltern and Ram as the scheming agent of imperialism brings to mind similar reinterpretations of other Hindu legends by Phule, which completely subvert the orthodox interpretation. In the context of the ongoing struggle between the tribals and the State, one hopes that the movie Raavan might stir this debate up once again. View Full Article

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