Journal article / Dress and Gulf Imagery in Two Malayalam Films

Mubashir, Musthafa, M. Haneef, and M. Shuaib Mohamed. ‘Dress and Gulf Imagery in Two Malayalam Films: Pathemari and Marubhoomiyile Aana’. Film, Fashion & Consumption 9, no. 2 (October 2020): 177–92.

Abstract: Malayalam films since the 1970s have captured the history of Gulf migration from Kerala, which occurs primarily due to the desperate need of its people for jobs and for money.

Predominantly, the discourses of migrants in the films are embedded in various things, including dress from the Gulf, the insignia of opulence that depicts the status of the migrants in the public sphere.

Using thematic analysis of two Malayalam films, Pathemari and Marubhoomiyile Aana, this study argues that the motif of the Gulf is associated with power and control in the cultural discourse of Kerala.

Drawing on the semiotic analysis of Barthes, we contend that the replacement of mundu, a traditional attire of Kerala men, by trousers, is one among several mythical markers of modernity, including perfumes and watches brought from the Gulf.

The performativity and materiality of dress in these two films produce imageries of the Gulf by which the wearers, mostly male, accumulate social and symbolic capital and assert dominance in the film’s narration.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup


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