‘Nandana – Review of “Naalukettu”

Raj, Rizio Yohannan. “Review.” Indian Literature 52.1 (2008): 190-96. Jstor. Web. 1 July 2016.

In a thorough academic review of the translated work of MT Vasudevan Nair’s much-acclaimed novel Naalukettu, Rizio Yohannan Raj comments upon the metaphors used in the novel, historic context and importance, protagonist Appunni and his quest, and the fall of Nair society in Kerala.

He provides a short and intense summary of the novel in the initial pages and gives an informed review about the book. He looks at metaphors of pagida, sarpam thullal and the naalukettu itself around which the story revolves. He studies the character of Appunni and his quest and calls him as the “prototypical quest figure in MT’s fictional world.”(194) He says,

Appunni’s journey to the world outside is more a symbol of a whole generation’s                     longing for freedom rather than his own quest. He finds his resolution in the same                 naalukettu which had once discriminated against him. His laughter that closes the                 novel is an ambivalent moment wherein opposites meet to co-habit. (194)

He delves into the history of Nair society in Kerala and its downfall because of various reasons, and links it to the novel. At the same time, he adds that “the anachronistic text of Naalukettu in fact redeems it from the traps of history” (195).

The review of the novel becomes significant for the researcher as it provides a short insight into the historical context of the novel and deals with the main preoccupations of the text. The limitation, if it has to be pointed out is that Raj could not delve deep into any of the aspects and had to bring out a more general understanding of the novel.



Nandana – Malayalam Scene: Waiting for Masterpieces?

Panikkar, G.N. “Malayalam Scene: Waiting for Masterpieces?” Indian Literature 32.6 (1989): 106-12. Jstor. Web. 23 June 2016.

In this particular article, G.N. Panikkar looks at the contemporary Malayalam literary and literary criticism scene with a sense of dismay and nostalgia. He presents the argument that Malayalam literary critics are pondering and discussing older works of literature than studying contemporary Malayalam fiction. He states that it might be because of two reasons: one, that the critics do not approve of the current practice of “mutual back-scratching ” that criticism has been reduced to; or two, that they are unhappy with the modern-day literature which does not account for much scope in serious criticism.

The author then lists out many critical works and literary texts in Malayalam literary scene and scrutinises it for instance works of MT Vasudevan Nair, M.M. Basheer’s Kumaranashante Rachanasilpam and other works. He laments the fact that Malayalam diction has been taken over by popular fiction and novels in weeklies and literary works are being sidetracked. Panikkar concludes that critics are perhaps “waiting” for a masterpiece from the writers in Malayalam. The limitation with this article is that is does not look at many other writers who are contributing much to the area. The article helps me gain perspective on contemporary Malayalam literature and will help me locate my topic within the broader framework.

Nandana Menon- Modern Indian Literature in English

Mukherjee, Sujit. “Modern Indian Literature in English Transaltion.” Indian Literature 15.3 (1972): 45-51. Jstor. Web. 16 June 2016.

In this article, the author points out the limitations of English translations of Indian texts. he says that there is a clear void in the area where not enough translations are being made. He looks at the sad state where enough translations are available for non-Indian texts but not our own texts. While he says that certain translations are being published most of them are not of “literary standard” and “cannot be used in serious critical discussions”.

His main argument in this essay is the need for a “master-plan of translation”. He says that this plan should involve every form literature in all the Indian languages. Pointing at the limitations of Indian translations according to Mukherjee are by fiat to appeal to regional aspirations, to inducement for financial reasons and self-aggrandisement. The need for the day is to look out for translators are intentions are ideally to contribute to the literary sphere.

He backs his argument by saying that Sahitya Academi had an active role to play in this “master-plan”by co-ordinating with the state academies and concentrating on areas that are not being covered by the state academies. They must also make sure that translations that are good in quality must be printed, as no translator would want to put in so much of effort if his/her work is not being printed. The educational market should open up towards Indian translation instead of teaching only texts like The Guide, Shakunthalam, Kanthapura etc. Learning process of Indian texts must be diversified and new texts and authors must be promoted, says Mukherjee.

The limitation of the article would be that it has not done a thorough job at studying the available translations of Indian texts. But it is step in the right direction for Indian texts which is struggling to be recognised at a mainstream level.

Nandana Menon-Theory in Feminist Film Studies

Smelik, Anneke. “Lara Croft, Kill Bill, and the Battle for Theory in Feminist Film Studies.” Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture. Ed. Rosemarie Buikema and Iris Van Dertuin. Oxon: Routledge, 2009. 178-92. Print.


This article concerns itself with the study of feminist film theory in movies like Lara Croft and Kill Bill where there are powerful female protagonists. Annette Smelik traces the development of feminist film theory and its growth in the consequent years. She looks at the close association feminist film theory shares with psychoanalysis; the concept of voyueurism and male gaze. Smelik examines the way women’s bodies are portrayed in such films and how also looks at how popular body images have changed over the years.

Smelik observes that portrayal of the female body has become increasingly “naked and erotic” and quotes Levy while calling it “pornofication” in today’s visual culture. She also studies these films using theories of Lacan, Freud to study narcissism and Oedipal complex. She says it helps to study and gain perspective about the “complexity and paradoxes for contemporary visual culture”.