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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In analysing an important Hindi film’s precise yet radical reconception of Othello’s famously overdetermined handkerchief in the form of a jewelled chain or ‘kamarband’, this essay focuses on media representation and gender across time and space. It demonstrates how material objects factor into the perception and definition of gendered bodies in Shakespeare’s playtexts and modern performance, using ‘comparative close analysis’ to understanding the symbolic, narrative, and political consequentiality of metamorphic things. In Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2006 Omkara’s, chains of corrupted authority, both political and domestic, have superseded the superstitious magic in the web of Othello; following the kamarband’s journey reveals complexities in each artwork’s conception of femaleness, a sustained opposition between the sexes’ moral culpability, and an alternative form of female community. Omkara reframes difference and foregrounds gendered embodiment in a culturally specific, insightful way that prompts reflection upon our critical methods and futures in cross-cultural media and gender studies.

Keywords: Othello, Omkara, media, gender, cross-cultural close analysis, materiality

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