Exploring Caste, Catastrophe and Civilization in Mallabarman’s Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (A River Called Titash) and its Film Adaptation
Keywords:Caste, Catastrophe, Civilization, Ghatak, Malo, Mallabarman, Culture, Fisherfolk, Casteism, Media Studies, Film Adaptation, Melodrama, Derivative, Healthcare
In the criticism of the novel Titas Ekti Nadir Naam (1956), Mallabarman’s widely read Bengali novel, the life-narratives of the Malos, a Bengali low-caste fisherfolk community, their unique culture, their indomitable fight to survive economically, their fight to save the Malo culture in the face of all kinds of adversary forces have been discussed to a considerable extent. In the criticism of the Ritwik Ghatak’s eponymous 1973 film adaptation of the novel, the major importance has been given to Ghatak’s treatment of the struggling life of the Malo community in a rural set up and Ghatak’s mastery as a director. Less attention has been given to the caste question which determines the social position of the Malos in various ways. In examining both novel and the film text, this paper shows that whereas how caste operates in the Malo life-world and how the system of caste determines the low-caste Malos’ social position vis-à-vis the Brahmins and the Kayasthas, their high-caste counterparts are substantively dealt with in Mallabarman’s novel, Ghatak puts more focus on the human catastrophe faced by the Malos both as individual and as a community in his film, and has attempted to document the Malo life-world, as the acclaimed filmmaker Mani Kaul argues, as a civilization. This paper is concerned with this factor of caste, the catastrophe of the Malo community, and the Malo life-world as a civilization.
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