Performing the Urban

By: Deepthi Krishna Thota  

This paper explores the performance of urbanity by the Flaneur called ‘Potta’ in Deccani Movies where the city of Hyderabad (India) is the foreground. Hyderabad is the fourth populous city and sixth most populous urban agglomeration in India. Hyderabad has been a city marked with diversity in religion, language, and ethnicity. Hyderabad developed its unique culture through a curious mix of North Indian and South Indian linguistic and cultural traditions, which is termed as Deccani Tehzeeb and formed its unique Hyderabadi dialect. The protagonists of the movies playing the roles of ‘Pottey’ (plural of Potta), belong to the poor Muslim community and located in old city of Hyderabad. Old city is where the marginalised communities, poor and Muslim are located. This part of city was a thriving centre for economy and arts under the Muslim rule. Now, the city is associated with backwardness both economic and cultural. The production of local deccani movies is recent a phenomenon, started in 2005 with the movie The Angrez which went on to become a box office hit. The assertion of the unique Deccani (Hyderabadi) identity and their right to the city through language and performance in the movies is unpacked. To study this performance, the case study is the Potta – who goes beyond the Flaneur - represented in these movies which are produced and shot locally. The performance involves gestures and distinct street language. It is through this performance that the Potta traverses the city, subverting the order and authority of the city.

Urban Studies. Films studies, Urban Performance, Cinematic studies, Global south
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Deepthi Krishna Thota

-, -, University of Hyderabad, India
-, India

I am a PhD Research Scholar at Centre for Regional Studies at University of Hyderabad. I am currently working udner supervision of Prof. Sheela Prasad on Representing Urban Exclusions: A Critcial Reading of Films on Hyderabad. I published an article titled Uncanny and Dysptopian City: An Anlysis of Siva in Urbanities journal for the May 2017 issue. I also acted and co-wrote a play ANTIBODIES. My research interests are Film Studies, Media and Popular Culture Studies, and Urban Studies