This article, organized around three films—Stop Violence (dir. A. K. Sajan, 2002), Big B (dir. Amal Neerad, 2007), and Annayum Rassolum (dir. Rajeev Ravi, 2013)—attempts to account for a moment in the history of Malayalam cinema when an attempt to spatially imagine, through iterative images, the city as a visible space that was distinct, and situated within the state of Kerala, was undertaken. The “city” in Malayalam cinema is at once mediated by a history of its engagement with aesthetics and economics, as well as the modes with which precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial histories are spatially and temporally arranged. The article attempts to think of the city in Malayalam cinema as a moment of refiguration of its history and practices. The city as location in Malayalam cinema emerges as a negotiation with a specific form of realism anchored in rural anthropology put together in what has been termed the “middlebrow cinema” of the 1980s.

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