Call for papers ReFocus: The Films of P Padmarajan

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Biju Itukkapparakkal

Call for papers

 ReFocus: The Films of P Padmarajan

Contact Email:  and


Deadline for abstracts:

31 May 2021


 P Padmarajan, the Malayalam filmmaker from Kerala, India straddles the much-contested space between commercial and art cinema through his use of language and its visuality, employed as the defining hallmark of his screenplays and films. With an impressive number of works to his name in a short span of time - 36 screenplays and 18 films - he firmly positioned Middle cinema on the horizon of Malayalam cinema. Middle cinema conjoins art and entertainment to evolve a new aesthetics. 

An author turned screenplay writer and filmmaker, during the 1980s, Padmarajan’s absorbing storytelling avoids any contrivance. The contemporary surge of interest in his works makes it the right time to probe into the cinematic universe he unfurled. Simple and relatable stories, marked conspicuously by an intriguing boldness of themes and characters all rendered through a gripping visual language, mark his oeuvre of work. The corpus of his output reveals more layers than what might be expected at first sight. From Peruvazhiyambalam (1979) to Njan Gandharvan (1991), the spectator is taken on a momentous journey through a diverse range of narratives and prototypes, involving such topics as: 


-           Padmarajan and Middle Cinema

-           Visual language in Padmarajan’s films

-           Padmarajan’s films - single focus on a select film

-           Padmarajan’s screenplays – single focus on a select screenplay

-           Death in Padmarajan films

-           Human relationships in Padmarajan films

-           Gender politics in Padmarajan films

-           Re-visioning womanhood in Padmarajan films

-           Love and sexuality in Padmarajan films

-           Violence in Padmarajan films

-           Dynamics of Duality in Padmarajan films

-           Evocative Symbolism in Padmarajan films

-           1980s Kerala and Padmarajan films

-           Existential crisis in Padmarajan films

-           Modernism and Padmarajan films

-           Nature in Padmarajan films

-           Quarrelling self in Padmarajan films

-           Portrayal of Sensuality in Padmarajan films

-           Comparative reading of the films of KG George, Bharathan and Padmarajan

-           Padmarajan in an International/National cinematic context

-           Topic of your choice


We are open to essays that focus on his individual films or on themes and topics connected to his oeuvre. The edited collection will comprise of chapters of approximately 6,000 to 8,000 words, referenced in Chicago style.  


We solicit abstracts of maximum 250 words for academic essays to be compiled into an edited collection on P Padmarajan. As a comprehensive study of Padmarajan’s films, the anthology is an attempt to widen our understanding of the filmmaker, analyze his scripts and films in-depth and problematize existing notions of him as a compelling storyteller who travelled ahead of his times. 


The Films of P Padmarajan will be one among the series of scholarly editions for the Edinburgh University Press series of ReFocus volumes dedicated to international directors. The ReFocus series is edited by Robert Singer, Gary D. Rhodes, and Stefanie Van de Peer. Along with the abstract, please attach a short biographical statement of 100 words, and mail them by 31 May 2021 to the anthology editors  and

For any queries and clarifications please reach out to:


Arya Aiyappan & Biju I P

Department of English and Cultural Studies

CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Bangalore, India.